How the DBL group managed to save 1.3 billion liters of water
Knitting machines in a DBL factory. Courtesy
The programs of international organizations promoting clean production have prompted the Bangladeshi conglomerate to approach manufacturing in a new way
From packaging to pharmaceutical products, the DBL Group has a wide range of businesses. A family business founded in 1991, DBL Group has grown into a diversified conglomerate in Bangladesh since its inception.
Its activities include clothing, textiles, textile printing, washing, clothing accessories, ceramic tiles, dredging, semiconductor design, ICT and telecommunications. With a dedicated workforce of 39,000 employees, the group’s annual turnover for the year 2018-19 was $ 600 million.
The DBL Group’s climate change awareness and initiatives began in 2012, informs Mohammed Zahidullah, the organization’s sustainability manager. “Our journey for the positive climate began in 2012 with cleaner production from the IFC (International Finance Corporation),” Zahidullah said.
The IFC-led Cleaner Textiles Consultative Partnership (PaCT) is a program that supports the entire textile value chain – spinning, weaving, wet processing and garment factories in adopting cleaner production practices. . It engages with brands, technology providers, industry associations, financial institutions, government to bring about systemic and positive environmental changes for Bangladesh’s textile sector and contribute to the long-term competitiveness of the sector and the sustainability of the industry. environmental sustainability.
“We joined this program through H&M, which is one of our main customers and nominated us for the program,” Zahidullah said.
The areas in which the DBL Group has worked in terms of clean production have evolved over the years. The most achievable goals are those that don’t require a lot of investment – the “fruits at hand”. Then there are the “halfway fruits” (which require investment but can be recovered quickly) and high expectation fruits, which would require larger investments and more time to pay off.
“Today, we have invested in rainwater harvesting, which people are very reluctant to do. We are also moving towards recycling and reuse of water “
“The funding that has arrived has only allowed us to get the fruits at hand. The reason is that achieving the highest goals would have forced us to stop production and implement interventions. It was not viable given our scale of production, ”said Zahidullah, referring to the main initiatives taken by his organization.
But the interventions they implemented made them appreciate the benefits, allowing the organization to take actions that it would not have taken before.
“Today, we have invested in rainwater harvesting, which people are very reluctant to do. We are also moving towards recycling and reuse of water. We are moving in that direction. ”
Zahidullah says their participation in this program and other stages has contributed to an attitude change within the industry. Indeed, DBL’s success has even found its way into the pages of the New York Times.
By investing $ 80,000 to modernize equipment such as boilers and dye and rinse machines, as well as implementing simple solutions such as steam line insulation and leak repair, DBL has succeeded to halve its water consumption. Before, DBL used 120 liters of water to produce one kilogram of fabric; now it uses 60 liters.
In contrast, many factories in Bangladesh use up to 170 liters of water to make one kilogram of fabric.
“Between 2012 and 2016, we saved 1.3 billion liters of water every year and were able to reduce 705,975 tonnes of CO2,” said Zahidullah.
DBL also plans to install 10 MW of solar power plants by 2025. “By 2030, we want to reduce GHG emissions by 25% from the current level of 140,882 tonnes to 105,561 tonnes.
Over the years, DBL has participated in a number of other programs such as Partnership for Cleaner Textiles, Sustainable Action and Vision for a Better Environment (SAVE), Carbon Performance Initiative (CPI2), Clean Energy Solutions and Energy Efficiency Engagement ( 3E). “These programs have helped us increase resource efficiency and reduce GHG emissions,” Zahidullah said.
In recognition of the actions taken, DBL received a “C” rating in the recently released report by CDP, an international non-profit organization that helps companies disclose their environmental impact.
“DBL is among the 17% of companies that have achieved brand awareness in the textiles and fabric articles business group. This figure is above both the Asian regional average of D and the textiles and textile products industry average of D, ”Zahidullah said.
Saqib Sarker and Saudia Afrin are journalists at Dhaka Tribune.