Aditya Birla Textiles has powered its way to a leadership position in the textile, acrylic fibre and spinning markets by investing in people, processes, technology and sustainability. The journey we have undertaken to achieve this poistion has involved transforming ourselves and our business strategy in many ways. We have transformed from a commodity player to a business that creates unique, sustainable and value-added products. We have transformed our approach to customer centricity from acting on customer feedback to a data-driven, innovation-based approach to customer excellence. We have transformed from a business that focuses on sustainable operations, to one that goes beyond – aiming for sustainable products and sustainable value chains.
At TAF, our acrylic business is flourishing with an expanding VAP portfolio,innovation in resource consumption and an ever-improving customer centric approach. Our fibre is produced using state of the art machinery and we are looking forward to foraying into smart manufacturing.
In this report, the fourth sustainability report of Thai Acrylic Fibre, we highlight some of the transformational initiatives undertaken as well as key highlights of sustainability performance of TAF for the financial years 2017-18 and 2018-19.
As a business, we are guided by the Aditya Birla Group sustainability framework consisting of stakeholder engagement, responsible stewardship and future proofing. You will find in this report an outline of how this framework has been imbibed in the context of TAF. Further, we are embracing global alliances and frameworks to ensure that all our units, wherever they are in the world are aligned with the same ambitions of sustainability excellence. Some of these global frameworks that apply to TAF include SAC Higg Index, OEKO-TEX®, the WASH Pledge, UN SDGs and others.
Beyond certifications and standards, we recognize that specific themes have emerged as key focus areas for achieving sustainability excellence, given the risks and opportunities for the business and the environment we operate in. These include the following:
It is with great pride that we present to you the fourth sustainability report of our acrylic fibre business. Through this report, we address the sustainability developments at TAF unit; their alignment with global sustainability standards and ABG’s Sustainable Business pillars of Responsible Stewardship, Stakeholder Engagement and Future Proofing.
We have focused this report on specific thematic areas including: Responsible Supply Chain, Chemical Management, Circular Economy, Product Innovation & Customer Centricity and Digital Transformation. While we are committed to progress on all these fronts as well as each of our material sustainable issues, I would like to particularly shine the spotlight on the following initiatives at TAF:
Proactive innovation is ingrained in the DNA of Aditya Birla Group. At TAF, we have continuously increased our VAP sales as a percentage of the total sales.
Our ambition to expand our footprint across geographies and markets is inclusive of our sustainability efforts. To achieve the targets, we have set for the expansion of our product portfolio, we have engaged with multiple peers and key industry players. Our Thai Acrylic Fibre Unit is at the forefront of innovation. With fibres like Radianza and Birlacril enjoying a favourable market share, we are motivated to diversify the colour shades in an environment-friendly manner. Our new gel-based technologies and reduced use of chemicals in the operations garnered wide appreciation amongst the industry groups. Many co-creation projects are underway, of which I would particularly like to highlight environment-friendly dye developments, that are set to enhance our business value proposition.
We respect and recognize the invaluable role of our people, whose tireless dedication has resulted in our continuing achievements. We are continuously working on diversity and inclusion of our workforce as well as several initiatives to enhance well-being and happiness of our internal stakeholders. We also conduct periodic trainings and meetings for our employees, workmen and staff and organize sessions with the CEO, Unit Head, and Functional Heads through our communication channels. These initiatives give a platform to all our people to voice their opinions and to integrate their views with the direction of the organization.In this report, you will find snapshots of many other initiatives we have undertaken along with highlights of our sustainability performance over the reporting years of FY18 and FY19. In addition, we have also encapsulated our approach to future-proofing our business and engaging with our stakeholders. We look forward to your feedback in this regard.
Sustainability, to us at TAF, is the sustenance of natural resources, minimal pollution and optimal resource utilization; a culmination of which is for our future generations to flourish and ensure general welfare of the world population.
We started our sustainability journey five years back and since then, every passing financial year is recording an improvement in the sustainability spheres at TAF. We have prioritized sustainability awareness amongst all our employees following a bottom-up approach. Many small initiatives at our unit show impactful results
We have involved our stakeholders in sustainability initiatives through regular communications, circulation of last sustainability report and making all our policies clearly visible and accessible to all throughout our stakeholders. Training on sustainability was provided on a regular basis to employees and in this year we were able to achieve 100% employee training on sustainability awareness.
Respecting the market demand and to overcome risks, the organisation has strategically shifted the products mix towards more value added products including functional fibres.The market has responded positively to this strategic transformation in our product portfolio.
We are moving ahead satisfactorily in our journey towards excellence in all aspects of sustainability. I am delighted to inform you that our unit sustainability team has progressed well in achieving the roadmap this year. We have improved our performance in all key aspects including water, energy, emissions & discharges, safety, stakeholder engagement, responsible supply chain, and local procurement. This is a testament to the dedication of our people and their relentless focus on sustainability initiatives. Our success has provided us a great foundation and confidence to take up more ambitious projects in years to come.
The textiles business of the Aditya Birla Group has constantly and consistently aimed to deliver the highest quality products. The last couple of years has seen immense progress on the innovation front. We have invested resources into pioneering initiatives that have not been thought of in this market space on a commercial scale. The focus on circularity and R&D applications has led to an increase in operational efficiencies.
We believe that economic performance should go hand in hand with environmental and social performance, and that each complements the other. This strategy has enabled our strategic investments in sustainability initiatives that have led to improved operational efficiencies as well as improved socio-economic development of local communities. As we grow both in terms of revenue and market positioning, our efforts in the space of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) are expanding.At TAF, we embrace change with open arms. We have identified the risks & opportunities in the textile markets and aim to transform these into catalysts for our better performance. We move forward with a clear understanding of the volatile markets, resource constraints, changing demographic space and evolving consumer preferences. Our greatest strength is our ability and willingness to transform ourselves and our products, by adapting to this evolving environment.
Sustainable innovation at TAF is centrally driven as a Group policy and greater emphasis is on the sustainable business model to cope with future challenges. The Value Creation Engine has been set up to drive R&D and Innovation throughout the Units. It is to complement the work of the Aditya Birla Science & Technology Company Private Limited, which carries out the core of the research study for all of ABG’s businesses.
Co-creation projects: In the FY 2017-18 and FY 2018- 19, we have carried out some co-creation projects for business with our business value chain partners. These included:
We have made significant strides in our performance and in many cases exceeded our targets for 2018-19. Much of it is made possible by our recent technological modernization, collective efforts (with other ABG companies) in R&D, product development, branding and marketing. This year, we have assessed our product life cycle impacts and made efforts to determine science based GHG emission reduction targets. We have begun using recycled raw materials in some of our products, contributing to circular economy, in a modest way.Our approach to innovation at TAF is structured and categorized. As a responsive mechanism, we have “Reactive Innovation”, wherein the ideation and conceptualization is based on the customer or market feedback received. Similarly, we have “Proactive Innovation”, where we identify the gaps and needs of the market and hence, develop products. Most of our blending techniques are in-house innovations working in the improvement of fibre, yarn, fabric or garments.
Continuing our journey of servicing our customers in the best possible ways in last one year and also in line with group’s customer centricity approach. TAF continue to export 85% of its products to countries in Asia, Africa, Australia and the Middle East. Thai Acrylic Fibre Co. Ltd. produces more than 30 different varieties of acrylic fibre serving both the commodity and specialty high end markets. Our products come under renowned brand name “BirlacrilTM”. The final products made out of BirlacrilTM fibres are marketed by renowned brand names in Europe and America.
Further, we also emphasise on the life-cycle of a product. We have performed life cycle analysis of two of our products to evaluate the environmental impact, so that our customers can make conscious decision.
To enhance awareness about sustainability among our customers, we launched new marketing campaign placing RadianzaTM fibre as an eco-friendly product for textile and apparel industry. The campaign called ‘Nature Thanks Back’ is about how RadianzaTM fibre helps conserving water and energy and reducing the negative impact on the environment by allowing minimum discharge of harmful chemicals.
TAF has strategically steered its product portfolio towards more value addition and our target for Value Added Products is 30% for the year 2018-19 and 100% of our products will be certified under OEKO-TEX® by the same period. We will continue our best efforts to ensure that our products will not have negative externalities during processing, use and disposal.We provide adequate information to our customers regarding our products. We provide necessary information on how to safely handle them. We follow good practices of marketing communications viz., ICC code of conduct and other advertising voluntary or mandatory guidelines issued by local authorities.
TAF’s organizational and market positioning landscape has been shifting towards an innovative and a value creating engine. Exceptional services are being offered to our clients. This is of importance to address here as the shift in business priorities have a direct impact on the people who are a vital part of the system. We are committed to creating a fair, healthy, safe and rewarding work environment that balances work and life.
We provide equal treatment to all workers in employment, training, promotion and remuneration on the basis of their capability to perform the jobs regardless of race, caste, national origin, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, union membership, political affiliations or age.
We make the work place environment conducive for both male and female employees and offer flexibility to return to work and continue working, post parental leave
We create enabling environment for diverse groups. We have made our premises disabled-friendly and have improved that environment during the reporting period.
We have immense pride in sharing with you some of the policy changes we have made in the past year to better serve and upskill our people. We have now created a scope for accommodating people with colour-blindness in our operations. We have prioritized improving gender diversity within the organization and it is also important for us to have a representation of women in the serving board of directors of the company.
We engage with the local community through our Aditya Birla Knowledge Centre (ABKC) - which is a community development project towards self-sufficiency. The objective of such an initiative is to empower the local people & nearby economically weak communities through high quality vocational training, education and capacity building towards economic self-reliance.
The ABG Sustainable Business Framework was developed considering that the environment we operate in poses sustainability challenges that require us to develop smarter and more innovative solutions. All businesses of the Aditya Birla Group, including Textiles, Acrylic Fibre and Overseas Spinning Business (AB Textiles) are guided by this framework comprising of responsible stewardship, stakeholder engagement and future-proofing.
AB Textiles takes great pride in the sustainability culture that has been fostered across all units. Our Acrylic fibre business , TAF has demonstrated this culture through various initiatives as detailed in this report particularly in the key thematic areas we have highlighted: Responsible Supply Chain, Chemical Management, Circular Economy, Product Innovation & Customer Centricity and Digital Transformation.
I would also like to highlight the myriad global standards and frameworks that our units adhere to. These are testament not only to our commitment to the highest standards, but also our culture of collaboration with institutions and associations committed to sustainability of the textile value chain. I am particularly proud of our association with the following:
SAC Higg Index: Developed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, the Higg Index is a set of tools that enables brands, retailers, and facilities to accurately measure and score a company or product’s sustainability performance. We have been applying these tools to score our units for several years.
Chemical Management : The value chains of the fibre business are chemical-intensive. At Aditya Birla Group (ABG), we aim to develop consumer-friendly products with minimal environmental footprint. To achieve this, chemicals management forms an important aspect of product designing, ensuring safe handling and operations and maintaining the quality of effluent discharge from our units. At TAF, we have relaunched the brand image of “RadianzaTM” using the colours Blue and Green to signify synergy with nature - Blue signifying water and green signifying foliage. RadianzaTM is a dyed-fibre which is prepared by gel dyeing technology which requires minimum water and chemicals. We are consciously making efforts to use less chemical in our products and developing technologies which minimize the use of chemicals in the downstream value chain
OEKO-TEX®: OEKO-TEX® consists of 18 independent research and test institutes in Europe and Japan. Our products comply with OEKO-TEX® Standard 100, which certifies that every component of the product has been tested for harmful substances and that the product is harmless in human ecological terms.
WASH Pledge: Water has emerged as a prominent business and public sector issue in recent years, driven by the lack of access to clean water and sanitation in many geographies. The WBCSD Pledge for Access to Safe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) at the Workplace demonstrates best practices with respect to WASH as well as contribution towards SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation). We are proud to be signatories to the WASH Pledge and are fully committed to its guiding principles Beyond certifications and standards, it is the culture of sustainability driven by our people and backed by the overarching ABG Sustainable Business Framework that is truly our greatest achievement. I sincerely thank the talented teams at TAF for living this culture every day. I also thank our stakeholders for all their contributions. I am happy to receive feedback, comments and suggestions on our sustainability report, and can be contacted using the coordinates below.
Jagadish Barik Chief Sustainability Officer firstname.lastname@example.org