TVC gets in conversation with Mr. Anjani Prasad, MD, Archroma India, Nepal & Sri Lanka; a company which is taking extraordinary steps and walking the walk of sustainability in its true meaning. Even though it’s a long way to go, small steps and initiatives such as taken by Archroma could help the industry push the sustainability goals.
- Tell us something about Archroma’s dedication and commitment to sustainability.
Our purpose at Archroma is to help make the industry more sustainable. Therefore, whilst clearly the regulations are challenging on the short term for the industry, we also believe that there is no other way, moving forward. That is why we introduced a whole new way to look at colors and performance for textiles, with an approach based on solution systems. We work with our customers looking at the whole production process, and including their needs, challenges and market goals, which allows us to come up with holistic, optimized and competitive solutions.
Our objective is clearly to push the sustainability agenda even further. We joined the ZDHC Foundation as a contributor to help drive industry-wide change in responsible chemical management, and we have uploaded more than 1020 products on the online Chemical Module of the ZDHC Gateway. Archroma is also one of the seven chemical leaders who recently founded the SCTI (Sustainable Chemistry for the Textile Industry), aiming to drive collaboration, innovation and transformational change in textiles and leather, towards a more sustainable industry. Such initiatives, associated with our commitment to develop innovations and systems aimed to help textile manufacturers with optimized productivity and/or value creation in their markets, help make the textile industry more sustainable and protect our planet for the generations to come.
- What is ‘The Archroma way to a sustainable world’ and what are the solutions offered?
We touch and color people’s lives every day, everywhere. That is why, at Archroma, we continuously challenge the status quo in the deep belief that we can make our industry sustainable. We call it “The Archroma way to a Sustainable World: Safe, efficient, enhanced. It’s our nature”. We look at how we can operate in a holistic way, in order to protect the health and safety of our people, our communities, our customers, the consumers, as well as the environment in order to preserve our Earth for us all and future generations.
- What is SCTI (Sustainable Chemistry for the Textile Industry)?
SCTI is a new initiative launched by seven of the world’s leading textile chemical companies, including Archroma, to advance sustainable chemistry. All of the founding members of SCTI have made substantial investments in sustainable solutions in recent years. We are now committing to investing and working together to further advance chemistry knowledge and its safe and sustainable application in the textile and leather industries. SCTI will support brands, retailers and manufacturers of all sizes at every stage in their sustainability journey to achieve the highest levels of sustainability, by sharing members’ knowledge of chemistry and its application, and by providing training and tools to ensure stakeholders can adopt technologies and optimize processes.
Specifically, SCTI is developing a global harmonized sustainability standard for chemical products used in the industry, along with a supporting assessment tool that covers all aspects of the products, from hazards through to environmental, ecological and social impacts.
The ultimate aim for SCTI is to help the industry produce more sustainable textile and leather end products for consumers through cleaner and more transparent supply chains that use less water and energy and produce less emissions and pollution.
- Archroma is one of the signatories of WWF global coalition call for sustainability to be central to post-Covid recovery in fashion, apparel and textile sector. What will be the steps & actions undertaken for the same?
We are still right in the eye of the COVID storm and our immediate focus in the past year has been to support our customers in going through the crisis. Archroma has actively supported manufacturers of face masks and medical protective equipment. Our barrier and antimicrobial products in particular continue to be in high demand, and we have been assisting our customers in this sector by providing technical know-how and support. We have also been supporting packaging & paper producers who were facing a steep increase in demand for food packaging as many restaurants switched to delivery or take-away, as well as for parcels and boxes supporting online shopping.
Of course, as the global economy is showing the first signs of recovery, we are intensifying our efforts in promoting those Archroma systems that best support the advance of sustainable textiles and fashion, including via savings allowed in the production thanks to reductions in resource consumption and gains in productivity. For instance, we are about to launch a program of free online live events that will allow brands, retailers and manufacturers to explore innovations and systems in their specific applications. The program will include three series: Home textiles, Fashion, and technical textiles, with several webinars each. The first series, Home textiles kicks off on the 27th of January 2021 at 2:30pm CET and will focus on solutions for bed linen and bedroom articles.
This is how we contribute to creating both ecological sustainability for people and the planet, and economical sustainability for our customers to develop sustainable collections despite the current challenges.
- What are the categories of products Archroma has available?
Archroma has innovations and solutions systems for creating colors and effects on denim, casual wear, fashion & formal wear, sportswear, outdoor & active wear, lingerie, workwear & uniforms, home textiles, automotive & transportation textiles, and exterior textiles.
- Tell us about the Indigo colours by Archroma.
Archroma is following a clear agenda: Convert denim dyers to using liquid pre-reduced indigo instead of powder indigo in the dyeing process, which would lead to massive reductions in the use of indigo dyestuff itself, as well as in sodium hydrosulfite and caustic soda. Archroma estimates that 65% the denim industry is still using powder indigo, and our denim experts are focusing on converting them to using liquid pre-reduced indigo, because that’s where the biggest impact on the environment can be obtained.
Taking the sustainability agenda one step further, Archroma also developed and launched, 2 years ago, Denisol® Pure Indigo 30 liq, a new liquid pre-reduced indigo dye that is free of indigo, to reduce risk when producing the traditional iconic indigo blue that consumers associate with denim and jeans. During production, some of the aniline stays locked into the indigo pigment and is difficult to wash off the fabric. The remainder of the aniline impurity, approximately 300 metric tons, is discharged during dyeing. This can be an issue as aniline is toxic to aquatic life. In addition, exposure levels to factory workers can be high. The toxic chemical is therefore starting to feature on the restricted substance lists (RSL) of some major clothing brands and retailers.
In 2019, we also introduced Diresul® Smartdenim Blue, a liquid sulfur blue dye designed to mimic indigo in elegant neutral-green blue tone and in the most common wash-down processes. The innovation is used in INDIGO REFLECTION, a coloration system that behaves like indigo but with a more sustainable and efficient process.
- What is Smartrepel Hydro by archroma?
Smartrepel® Hydro is Archroma’s nature-friendlier protection that keeps cotton, polyester and polyamide textiles dry. The unique technology offers exceptional, durable water repellency and it is not based on fluorine. Smartrepel® Hydro produces a soft hand feel and outstanding breathability – the perfect long-lasting high-performance finish for any weatherproof garment.
- What are the changes you are expecting in the market demand for Archroma products post COVID?
Besides the obvious needs for barrier and antimicrobial solutions in the area of hygiene and protection, since the outbreak of the pandemic has forced large parts of the population to stay at home – or at least work from home and drastically reduce their social life and interactions, we see a number of projects in the area of home textiles, casual wear and athleisure wear. In terms of coloration, our experts in color management have seen a high demand for earth and warm tones in the recent months.
We also see a growing interest for our nature-based dyes with a number of projects with brands and retailers based on our EarthColors®, a range of high-performance dyes that are synthesized from non-edible agricultural or herbal industries waste such as leaves or nutshells.