Making Fashion Sustainable!
"Sustainability is mere mindfulness. It is the only way to preserve our legacy and future proof our generations."
Asif Malik (CEO, US Apparel & Textiles)
Heart - Centered Sustainability Vision
We envision the future bright and shining for our jeans. A green future, where we wisely choose to protect our natural resources and future proof our generations from adversity. The US Group is a known name Internationally and a key player in the textile industry landscape for the past many decades. Our heart-centered business acumen has always led us to do more for the world. We have been providing livelihood to a large number of families, contributing towards boosting the economy, and enhancing the positive image of Pakistan in the global marketplace through our innovative and premium quality products.
We are aware of the impact of our business operations on the environment and we constantly strive to monitor our carbon footprint and adopt necessary measures to curb the damage adding towards the global climate change. According to the Global Climate Risk Index 2020, Pakistan is ranked fifth in the list of countries most vulnerable to climate change. While the government leads and regulates the environmental sustainability agenda of the country, the responsibility for the conservation of the environment and its resources rests with all stakeholders, including the public and private sector, as well as individuals.
Deep Sustainability - Our Ambition
We are committed to being a responsible business entity and embedding Sustainability into our business strategies and practices. It is not just a ‘feel good’ term for us, but we are focused on more responsible business conduct. For us, Sustainability is Change Work; and change relies on collaboration and urgency as a prompt. We have done our groundwork, a thorough need assessment to identify the required changes and enablers to facilitate that change, ultimately meeting our goals set against specific targets.
We believe in continuous learning, knowledge sharing, and improving our processes as sustainability is not a one-time goal, it is a lifetime goal. We are committed to actively engage with our stakeholders and continue strengthening our sustainability agenda in the future while staying true to our commitments by carefully planning, curating, implementing, and monitoring Sustainability across the US Group.
The US Group aspires for global sustainability leadership in all the sectors in which it operates. Being Sustainable for us implies that our actions are in balance with the environment that we live in. We make conscious efforts to ensure that we are meeting the needs of today without compromising the future. At US Group, we firmly believe that sustainability comprises not only the environment but also embraces social and economic factors. It is not a choice but an obligation, and we are in constant pursuit to better our sustainability practices and improve our circularity so that our business activities create a net positive impact on the planet, society, and future generations.
In January 2019, we launched our Sustainability Challenge 2022, to reduce the negative impact of denim and jeans manufacturing on the planet, ensure health, safety & well-being of our employees, provide an enabling environment that supports Gender Diversity at all levels of the organization, and development of employees to ensure capability and capacity enhancement. The Sustainability Challenge 2022 comprises nine target areas which were curated after a comprehensive need-based analysis of our key problem areas and in consideration of the aspirations of our global denim partners aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and other international organizations.
Each target area of the Sustainability Challenge 2022 has (one or more) Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for which targets have been set to align our sustainability initiatives with UN SDGs and to conform with International Standards. We are increasing efforts to procure sustainable as well as recycled materials for our denim and jeans manufacturing, which includes Organic cotton, BCI cotton, Recycled Polyester, Post-Consumer Waste, and Post-Industrial Waste. One of the most ambitious targets for us is the reduction of GHG emissions that result from burning fossil fuels to generate electricity, steam, and compressed air. This is being carried out by following the guidelines of global standards to better manage our energy, and by improving the fuel mix that would result in a smaller carbon footprint. We have recently installed a 4 MW Solar Power Project at our facilities that exhibits our dedication towards shifting to Renewable Energy. Our response to water scarcity is reflected by our recent membership with Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) and we target to replace the need for freshwater by reusing and recycling water at our facilities. Our goal to increase the number of sustainable machines will help us in using energy, water, and other resources more effectively. We are also working towards ensuring the use of chemicals that are 100% compliant with DHC's Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL).
We understand that sustainability cannot be achieved in true spirit without ensuring circularity in product development endeavors.
Asif Malik (CEO, US Apparel & Textiles)
Nature is here to stay till the end of the world, us humans are worldly. As responsible inhabitants of this beautiful world, we should do everything in our power to protect our delicate ecosystems.
Sustainability is no longer a priority but has become essential in today’s times. When we hear the word “sustainability” we tend to think of renewable fuel sources, reducing carbon emissions, protecting environments, and a way of keeping the ecosystems of our planet in balance. I believe, it is now time to start acting along with talking about it. One of the reasons, sustainability is so close to my heart is that I have been in the system for so many years that I have witnessed the enormous benefits of mindful sustainability and learned from the best practices around the world where companies have adopted sustainable processes and added great value not only to their own businesses but the world at large.
“It is interesting that before joining the textile industry, I used to think that the Chemical industry would be the major contributor in playing havoc with our natural resources, but I was surprised to find out that the Fashion industry is not lagging behind in polluting the world. “
Most of the products in fashion are not bio degradable and are going to the landfill. In today's race of fast fashion, we are mercilessly consuming the world’s precious and now scarce resources without being mindful. There is a lot that we can do to make this industry a minimum to zero contributor in environmental degradation.
So how do we do it tout de suit? The best way to do it is by setting precedence and taking measurable actions for future growth. Let me take you down the memory lane, when I joined the US Group in 2017, sustainability was still a work in progress. Realizing the grave need of bringing the efforts to speed, we constituted a smaller team of mind liked experts and worked extensively in identifying the problem areas. One of the main challenges for us was to come up with a solution on how to measure our efforts and obtain accurate quantifiable data. We spent a reasonable amount of time on setting our baseline data and defining trackable objectives, we started collaborating with field experts and consultants to help us set some really aggressive top-down targets. As Henry Ford says and I quote; “If you think you can do a thing, or you think you can't do a thing, you’re right.” Rightly so, it is all about perspective and the will to do something.
Fast forward to 2019, we announced our Sustainability Challenge 2022. It is a need-based curated program focusing on 9 target areas that needs the most attention according to our vigorous research and analysis data. We have set some very aggressive targets and I am aware of the fact that we might not be able to achieve 100% success, but I can assure you that in some areas we will be exceeding the expectations.
“Sustainability is a continuous long-term plan. When we will be ending 2022 and rejoicing in our achievements, that will be the time that we will be setting our next target(s) for another 3 years. This time our objectives will be far more knowledgeable, smarter, and committed to the cause. I am already thinking about the Sustainability Challenge 2025.”
Sustainability is a global challenge; our individual and collective efforts together can bring a huge difference to the cause. It is about time that the movers and shakers of the business world realize that it is not just a social responsibility but it should be an investment approach that considers environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors, alongside financial ones, in the pursuit of competitive returns and positive impact for people and planet. It involves a 360-degree mindset change to evolve and adopt sustainability.
“When our businesses are not disposable, how can we treat nature the same way?”
Nature is the only way to keep us going, if we don’t invest in a sustainable future today, our next generations will never forgive us. When we started working on the renewable energy project, we were told many times that it is not a commercially viable project or is not lucrative enough. We took up this challenge of changing the minds and winning the hearts of all key stakeholders, from employees and customers to business partners - for a more holistic impact.
Today I take immense pride in sharing with you all that majority of our roofs are being utilized to generate reusable energy, covered with 9,096 solar panels and are expected to produce 6,223 MWh of electricity per annum substituting 9% of electricity generated from conventional fuels with renewable, in addition to reducing our carbon footprint. We are making remarkable progress on our targets. It is not my success alone, I’m thankful to my ‘Projects and Sustainability Team’ along with the entire US Group for their dedication to convert this dream into reality.
Awareness is primary for any change big or small. Having said that, awareness alone is not enough to bring and maintain the change. Responsibility and Accountability are crucial for any change to be implemented and stays productive for a long time. This is what we are practicing across US Group. Sustainability is now at the heart of our business and daily life. One of the major KPO’s we have set for our people, is their contribution efforts towards sustainability, we have ensured that it becomes a part of our performance and eventually our second nature.
Sustainability Challenge 2022
US Apparel and Textiles (sBU USA & US Denim Mills) has achieved AWS -Alliance for Water Stewardship certification in March 2020. AWS 2nd surveillance audit will be conducted on 14th and 15th March 2022 by TUV Rheinland Arabia LLC (Pakistan Branch)