Birla Cellulose is deriving viscose, modal, and lyocell fibers from wood sourced from sustainably managed forests and produced by closed loop processes. In doing so, we achieve six key impacts:
Through this comprehensive strategy, Birla Cellulose was ranked number one in Canopy’s Hot Button Report 2019 and 2020, that ranks viscose producers based on sustainable wood sourcing and forestry practices. This give a strong competitive advantage when satisfying the growing market for sustainability-aware fashion.
Birla Cellulose, part of the USD 48.3 billion Aditya Birla Group, is a leading sustainability focused Man-Made Cellulosic Fibers (MMCF) producer and operates 12 sites that apply environmentally efficient closed loop technologies to recycle raw materials and conserve natural resources. Its five global advanced research centers are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and pilot plants. Its innovative products like Livaeco™, Liva Reviva, Excel lyocell, Liva Antibac and Birla spun shades are designed with superior sustainable credentials. 100% of the wood used in Birla Cellulose process comes from controlled wood sources.
The fashion industry is largely based on a linear business model, dominated by fossil fuel-based materials. The MMCF’s industry most material sustainability issues are sustainable forestry and the use of responsible production guidelines such as Canopy standards for sustainable forestry.
Birla Cellulose vision is to be the global leader of sustainable business practices in the industry. It has committed a capital of $170 million in 2018, to apply the best available technologies at all its MMCF and meet the most stringent European norms. We are leading efforts across the industry to establish nature based circular business model.
Birla Cellulose has set very aggressive and ambitious targets such as cutting its sulfur emissions by 70% or reducing its water consumption by 50%. It also aims to scale circular products, empower 45,000 women and reduce GHG emissions.
To achieve these targets, sustainability initiatives need to be deployed at the global scale across all geographies. This require the full determination of our employees, as well as partnerships across the value chain and with external organizations. Our Nagda site would be first in the world to achieve Zero Liquid Discharge.
Sustainability progress is measured from a baseline performance set in 2015. Since then we have achieved for example 100% of our wood from controlled sources, 35% reduction in water intensity per ton of fiber produced, 10% improvement in energy efficiency. At the product level, our innovative Liva Reviva, made of 20% recycled cotton waste is entering the market, while Birla spunshades, a pre dyed fiber, completely eliminates the use of hazardous chemicals and water in the dyeing process. A T shirt made with innovative product Livaeco saves more than 900 liters water, enough for one day need of drinking water for 250 people, compared to a cotton T shirt. Our Nagda site generates a surplus of water that supplies 50 villages nearby. Finally our blockchain based transparency and tracking tool, gives the complete transparency of the value chain to the consumer by scan of the QR code.
The returns from the investment in sustainability can be measured in multiple ways. First, the market growth for sustainable products has been stronger than for other products, showing that sustainability conscious consumers are ready to pay a premium for more sustainable products. Also, we benefit from improved resilience with closed loop technologies allowing to recover and reuse resources such as chemicals, water and energy. Through sustainable forest management practices, we increase the carbon stored in our forests. Finally, we upcycle our waste into usable products.
Overall all this builds a more resilient and profitable business that can weather the challenges of climate change, stricter regulation and changing consumer behavior.
Birla Cellulose has set ambitious goals to achieve in next 2 to 8 years. After achieving carbon neutrality in scope 1 and scope 2 emissions in 2019, our most ambitious goals are:
Birla Cellulose Sustainability Report -2019: https://www.birlacellulose.com/reports-policies.php
Mr. Mukul Agrawal, Head Sustainability & Strategic Projects (Pulp & Fibre Business)
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