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Trade Talk | December 2017

Sweden keen on tie-up with Aditya Birla Group on smart textiles

Sven-Erik Bucht Minister for Rural Affairs from the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation Sweden arrived in Mumbai to discuss a joint project on smart textiles involving potentially Aditya Birla Group, Swedish company Domsjö and the two governments as well as the European Union.

The minister visited the Aditya Birla Group Textile Research Application Development Centre at Kharach in Gujarat, which is India’s pioneer in viscose staple fibre (VSF), a man-made, bio-degradable fibre with characteristics akin to cotton. The prime aim of this visit is to boost development on smart textiles from using VSF, cellulosic fibre and pulp as an alternative to cotton and hence the Aditya Birla group is a natural fit with its easily blendable cellulosic fibre.

Bucht also met with Dilip Gaur, Managing Director Grasim; Vinod Tiwari COO, Pulp and Fibre business Grasim (Adity Birla Group) in Mumbai to discuss an innovative project and how to best to keep up with the growing demand for textiles with an alternate sustainable solution to cotton. The minister will also discuss the current efforts to create a circular bio-economy in Sweden and its benefits. Special emphasis will be given on how sustainable production of biomass can increase its use within a number of different sectors of society. The objective is to reduce climate effects and the use of fossil-based raw materials and to launch a discussion on a smart way of living without using up the Earth’s finite resources.

Sweden strongly believes that the textile industry is about to take a giant step from being a supplier of fabrics to becoming a positive force in the development of a responsible society. Sustainable textiles are necessary to improve people’s everyday lives, the health care sector and the environment. It takes an open environment where people from many different backgrounds can meet, get involved and collaborate to find a sought-after solution and this is exactly what we are hoping for from this visit by coming together for the betterment of the society and lessen the environmental impact of the textile industry.

The visit is part of the follow up to the joint statement by Prime Minister Stefan Löfvén and Prime Minister Modi and its implementation in the areas of innovations and research. It is also a follow up to the Make in India event in Stockholm where Gaur were a part of the Indian delegation led by Suresh Prabhu. Minister of Commerce and Industry of India aimed at exploring synergies and avenues of partnership between Indian and Swedish industries.

Speaking about the collaboration between India and Sweden, Consul General for Sweden Ulrika Sundberg said, “It is inspiring to see the broad range of engagement between Sweden and India particularly Maharashtra, stretching from business and infrastructure to environment, health, skills development, culture and in this instance smart textile. Textile and other closely-related industries today have an important challenge when it comes to R&D and production in an environmentally-friendly and socially-responsible way. With a joint project on smart textiles, we will prioritise the environment and work actively to integrate this in all parts of the production line. For us, sustainability, durability, quality and functionality are all important factors for developing a circular bio-economy and I truly hope this visit enhances cooperation in tackling the same for a sustainable and healthy future.”

Speaking about his visit, Bucht said, “We are keen to explore the possibility of a joint project within the area of smart textiles using VSF, cellulosic fibre and pulp as an alternative to cotton. Together, we need a broader approach to address the challenge of climate change and we would like to share our experiences, thoughts and ideas about the practice of a circular bio economy which will help us assume our common responsibility to the environment. My visit to the Aditya Birla group is a part of the bilateral ambition to increase cooperation and trade as well as create synergies and partnerships between the two countries. The Swedish Government is heavily involved in developing textile based on sustainable raw materials and we are very interested in supporting the further development of a globally successful textile industry. This in turn will help create jobs in both countries and will also lead to a sustainable and healthy future.”

Apart from Mumbai and Gujarat Minister Bucht will also visit Pune tomorrow and meet with Swedish companies followed by a round table discussion with i.a. Alfa Laval, DeLaval and Tetra Pak on challenges and opportunities of the food processing and dairy sector as well as its export potential. In the evening, he will attend a networking dinner hosted by the Consulate General in Pune.

Established in September 2012, the jurisdiction of the Swedish Consulate General covers Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa – an area comprising of 173 million people. The Consulates major role in India is to develop bilateral trade relations and also grow finer insights into the Indian system through a gamut of institutions and representatives from varied industries and the regional governments. Its prime aim is to broaden and deepen this coalition with special emphasis on trade and investments. It also focuses on spreading information on Swedish innovations, technologies and services and how they could benefit India. The Consulate works closely with the Embassy of Sweden in Delhi, Business Sweden and the Swedish Chamber of Commerce as Team Sweden to help liaise and increase business contacts between Swedish and Indian companies within certain strategic sectors, such as Energy & Environmental Technology, Health Care & Life Science and ICT.

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