12 factories adopt Cleaner Production
New move on rectification of inefficient industries for a competitive tomorrow
Author / Source : Nilufer Zahan- Ara Ferdous
DHAKA, Dec 17: International Finance Corporation(IFC), in partnership with Solidaridad, a Dutch nongovernmental organisation, has launched Cleaner Production (CP) in Bangladesh. They, along with technical partners Adroit Environment Consultants Ltd (AECL) and Reed Consulting (Bangladesh) Ltd and marketing partner Brandzeal Consultancy, have come together offering a comprehensive method to achieve higher levels of resource efficiency.
Cleaner Production is an initiative to help industries identify and rectify inefficiencies so that their operations become more streamlined, more cost-efficient and more environment-friendly in future.
CP is a five-step process, starting with a baseline assessment to identify each individual factory’s cost-cutting opportunities. Then, together with the firm, the necessary steps are implemented. This is followed by formation of user groups – a common platform for CP users to share their challenges and learning — and discuss potential improvements. Finally, an evaluation of the process depicts just how effectively CP has cut costs.
What makes CP a practical solution is its non-disruptive nature. Changes can be brought about with minimal down time for machinery. For instance, installation of an economiser (an equipment for boiler function) can be carried out within three to four days. The average wet processing factory has a total of around twenty off days in a year, so changes such as these can be easily incorporated without incurring additional down time.
Secondly, CP is not a big investment. Once the baseline assessment is done, the factory may choose to adopt Cleaner Production bit by bit, and monitor how cost effective their investments are. A firm may choose to implement all the recommended components over a span of several months or even a few years. However, most components of CP have very short payback periods, and cost savings occur on a continuous basis.
To test its effectiveness, CP’s one-year pilot programme was launched in August 2010 with 12 textiles processing firms. Data from the pilot programme of CP, launched in December 2010 with twelve factories of varying production capacities, showed that it was possible to achieve cost savings of approximately US $800,000 over one year by these twelve firms. Assuming similar distribution of factory and production sizes across the industry, adoption of CP by 50 per cent of the industrial units, which comprises of 1700 firms, can yield cost savings of approximately US $ 680 million. These are results achievable by just the textiles processing sector. While CP is being presently targeted towards only the textile industry, it can be implemented in all manufacturing industries of the country.
Even at individual levels, CP ensures very quick results in terms of resource efficiency. “When we compared 2010 with 2011 data,” says Md. Zahid Ullah, deputy general manager of corporate affairs at DBL Group, “we saw that our gas consumption reduced by around 2per cent, electricity consumption by around 14 per cent and water consumption was down by around 20per cent, in terms of per kg of production. The minimum average benefit here for us per year is US $175,000 – $200,000.”
“At the very beginning our water consumption was 300 litres per kg of fabrics,” says AKM Mohsin Ahmed, general manager Dyeing), Knit Concern Ltd. “After CP, our water consumption has gone down to 100 to 120 litres per kg.”
CP is not a brand new concept any more. China has been practicing Cleaner Production for over a decade, and they are by far the market leader in the apparels sector.
Bangladesh has demonstrated laudable competitiveness to become the world’s second largest knitwear exporter. Yet, China remains at a different league altogether. Compared to China’s $120 billion total textile export in 2009, Bangladesh exported $15.56 billion worth of textiles. Competing with such a global giant requires foresight – to act before it is made compulsory by the regulatory body, and to adopt innovative technologies that turn possible challenges into cost-saving opportunities.
Bangladesh’s companies who have adopted the Cleaner Production concept include Comptex BD Ltd of Robintex Group, Hamza Textiles Ltd of DBL Group, Knit Concern Ltd, Fakir Knitwear Ltd, Apparel Wet Processing Ltd of ABA Group, Interstoff Apparels Ltd, Liberty Knitwear Ltd of Micro Fibre Group Utah Knitting & Dyeing Ltd, SF Washing, Multi-fabs Ltd, Cosmopolitan Industries Ltd and Tarasima Apparels Ltd.