Celebrating the progress achieved over the past year since launching its South Asia Innovation Programme, Fashion for Good has announced Birla Cellulose – part of Aditya Birla Group, as its newest regional partner. The Netherlands-based innovation platform has also announced graduation of 9 first-batch startups, many of whom have engaged with manufacturers.
“With more than 100 deal flows and 83 per cent engagement in pilot projects, it’s encouraging to see the pace and momentum of transformation in the region, driven by the Fashion for Good South Asia Innovation Programme. We’re extremely proud to have brought together our partners, manufacturers, Arvind Limited, the Welspun Group and Birla Cellulose, and innovators to achieve so much, in such a short period, and under such adverse circumstances; we’re excited to be leading the change,” said Katrin Ley, managing director, Fashion for Good.
Throughout the year, Fashion for Good, working closely with key supply chain players, has identified the critical challenges posed to the circular transformation in the region; the lack of knowledge around circular solutions, the lack of capacity to work with innovations, the lack of funds to invest in new technologies, and lastly, the limited engagement from major fashion brands.
Scouting over 300 innovators from the region, the programme launched early this year with its first selection of nine innovators, who have now graduated, and is welcoming an additional 9 into its second batch in July. Aiming to scale these technologies through initiating opportunities with industry players, the programme orchestrated over 16 pilots and tests over the past 12 months.
Projects of note include: a collaboration between plastic recycling innovator Lucro and Welspun Limited to close the loop on its packaging waste stream; KB cols, a technology that extracts natural colours from waste that can be applied to textiles, is testing their solution with three partners; Descatuk and Birla Cellulose co-developed eco yarns that incorporate Descatuk’s unique New Natural Fibres (NNF); and most recently, TextileGenesis, a traceability platform using blockchain, together with leading brands BestSeller and Kering, join a Fashion for Good led consortium project, the Viscose Traceability Project, to trace the viscose fibres used in 8 garment styles across their supply chains.
Earlier this year, Birla Cellulose joined Fashion for Good’s consortium project, Full Circle Textiles Project, as a regional innovation partner alongside launch partners Welspun and Arvind Limited. Birla Cellulose is a global leader in the man-made cellulosic fibre industry, pioneering sustainable practices such as sustainable forestry, climate change initiatives, water conservation, innovations in alternative raw materials, Higg FEM, traceability and several other areas. The addition of Birla Cellulose to Fashion for Good’s existing network of global brands and manufacturers further engages pivotal supply chain actors to accelerate industry transformation.
In addition, Fashion for Good is engaged with a number of small scale, regional manufacturers in order to test and implement innovations, and is working closely with investor and expert communities, as well as universities to generate deeper impact within the regional fashion and textile industry.
“Our partnership with Fashion for Good is aligned to our strategy of partnering for creating bigger and broader positive sustainability impacts. We believe that the transformational changes cannot be achieved without ground breaking innovations. The future belongs to companies which can learn to collaborate and drive innovation for the benefit of people, planet and profit,” said Dilip Gaur, business director, Birla Cellulose, Aditya Birla Group; and managing director, Grasim Industries Limited.
Maintaining its momentum, Fashion for Good continues to expand their presence across South Asia, Sri-lanka and Bangladesh while also looking farther eastward into other south east Asian markets, inviting industry players, innovators and ecosystem actors to collaborate. In the coming year, Fashion for Good will continue to focus on scaling promising new technologies in key areas to address critical challenges in the region, while driving adoption through pilot projects and mobilising funding through a robust investor network.