Sri Lanka Apparel’s innovative and environmentally sustainable approach to design, production, and delivery has allowed us to create a unique global niche for labor and environment sustainable apparels made in Sri Lanka.
With nearly USD 4.2 billion of export value and a global market share of 1.2% as of the year 2016, Sri Lanka Apparel has been making a headway in branding Sri Lanka as an environmentally sustainable ethical production destination.
Sri Lankan Apparel’s long-term partnership with leading global fashion brands like Victoria’s Secret, Gap, Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren and Marks and Spencer among others have proven the country’s ability to cater to the rising mixture of demands from the global fashion market.
Unlike two decades ago, fashion retailers are compelled to address customer concerns on energy wastage, pollution and high carbon and chemical footprints behind the manufacturing of their favorite jeans or t-shirt, which is a positive factor instrumental to ensuring sustainable production and consumption of apparel in the long run.
In response to this major global concern, The Joint Apparel Association Forum of Sri Lanka (JAAF) launched Sri Lanka Apparel, the self-regulating, local proponent of ethical business and manufacturing practices for the global fashion and apparel industry.
Under the guidance of JAAF, Sri Lanka Apparel had led the global campaign in championing ethical production of apparels under safe working conditions and fair wages. Its member companies and factories are required to provide above industry requirement wages and working conditions including training, safety, medical insurance, paid leave and maternity leave to their workers as per globally accepted working conditions.
A government funded image building campaign launched globally nearly two years back also reaffirmed the position of apparels Made in Sri Lanka as Garments without Guilt, produced under ethical labor and environmental conditions.
As most of the apparel manufacturing facilities in Sri Lanka employs women workers from the lower income spectrum of Sri Lanka, they also generate a ripple effect on elevating the local economy. According to a World Bank Publication ‘Stitches to Riches; Apparel Employment, Trade, and Economic Development in South Asia, the share of the female workforce employed in the apparel sector amounts to 75% in Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan apparel sector’s ability to empower rural women with an income source has also assured that there is enough income within the rural families to spend on the health and education of the children, which, in turn, elevates the living conditions of women and children greatly.
Moreover, the country’s investment friendly yet intensive, labor laws including Independent Labor Tribunal make sure that all government, as well as private sector workers, have a platform for voicing their grievances.
Sri Lanka is also home to the world’s first ever custom built environment-friendly garment manufacturing facility and almost all of Sri Lanka Apparel’s members’ manufacturing facilities are working towards bringing down their carbon footprint to zero by 2020 through efficient steps in energy and water management and strategic waste management.
Home to a number of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) gold and platinum certified manufacturing facilities, Sri Lanka’s leading local apparel manufacturers like MAS and Hidramani Group are also members of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, following a self-imposed assessment through Higg Index, an apparel and footwear industry self-assessment standard for assessing environmental and social sustainability throughout the supply chain.