As a key player in the global economy, the fashion industry must recognize the role it should play in protecting the environment from which its natural resources are derived. Swim Week Colombo, an international design development platform for Swimwear, Resortwear and Activewear, recognizes the need to create an eco-system of environmentally friendly sustainable practices, which start from the front end of the industry which is design development to the end product.
We want to encourage a consciousness which empowers individuals to choose good practices which impacts the environment around, impacts self to act, impacts design to be sensitive to the environment and impacts the greater commitment of the country and the world. Our actions should be based on our intent to do good in fashion and design. To make it clear, there should be a transformation of our heart to be accountable.
To create an end product that does not burden the environment and ecosystem
A fashion and design industry which is conscious of its actions and sensitive in its approach
This should be a ‘New’ normal standard of operating which should come naturally
Our Guiding Pillars of Impact
Impact on Garment
- The source of the material – up cycled, remnant fabric, alternate materials
- The energy used in producing the garment
- The materials of the trims used
- Use of minimal environmentally degrading dyes and chemical or alternate dying mechanisms
- Packaging used – aim towards zero plastic
Impact on Supply Chain
- Locally sourced when possible
- Choosing an ethically conscious supplier
- Fair trade
- Female Empowerment
- Community upliftment
Impact on the Environment
- Responsible disposal of waste
- Disposal of the end product after use
- Recyclability of the end product
- Minimal water usage
- Dyes/ Water treatment
Swim Week Colombo holds an advantageous position in the fashion industry of Sri Lanka by facilitating an ecosystem which links designers to manufacturers, as well as international platforms and media. By showcasing designers who are driven towards creating more environmentally and ethically conscious designs as well as partnering with suppliers and manufacturers who hold the same environmental ethics, Swim Week Colombo intends to foster a completely eco-ethical fashion week in the consecutive years ahead by :
We will be wise stewards of natural resources and minimize our impact on the environment.
We will lead, unite, and enrich local communities in creating and maintaining a sustainable environment and lifestyle in terms of both female empowerment as well as community upliftment.
We will nurture and develop intellectually empowered, responsible, and productive designers capable of addressing local and global climate and environmental issues.
We will communicate the commitment and progress toward sustainability, engage stakeholders, and solicit partners in a collaborative, coordinated and transparent manner
We aim to achieve this pledge in alignment with guiding Pillars of Impact
An envisioning effort by Swim Week Colombo to use technology and intent to create an ecosystem of good and clean practices that are available to any designer or label to use and engage with.
Making of the Perfect Green Bikini is the creation of that ecosystem that annually shifts the yardstick with further advancement of technology to make garments which are more green conscious and earth sensitive.
Every year, the search for increasingly innovative technology and research into alternate resources will continue on to phase 02 and beyond.
We intend to create a 100% Green bikini, one which the technology, know-how, manufacturers and suppliers will be available to any designer or label in order to foster an ecosystem of best practices.
Issues to be addressed
- Exacerbation of already overflowing landfills
- Release of microfibers into the environment which eventually ends up in our oceans
- Unregulated and irresponsible discharge of chemicals, dyes and bleaches into the environment
- Water intensity of fabric producing crops
- Energy intense production facilities which primarily run on fossil fuel energy
- Non-biodegradability of synthetic fabrics
- Non-recyclability of synthetic fabrics
- Non-traceability along the supply chain
- Large Carbon footprint arising across the supply chain
- A completely closed loop supply chain – unburden the cycle
- A 100% recyclable material which does not compromise quality of the garment
- A material that does not release microfibers into the environment during use, washing and disposal
- User-oriented, empathetic design in terms of a completely transparent and traceable supply chain
- A 100% Carbon and Water neutral garment
- Garments packaged and transported for distribution in 100% biodegradable packaging
With the launch of Swim Week Colombo’s Green Conscious, Earth Sensitive Initiative, Phase 01 of the creation of the Perfect Green Bikini was simultaneously initiated. In this phase, the preliminary details of the creation will be identified including potential materials available in the current global market, designers who share the same drive, distributors and suppliers who support our vision as well as the importance of ensuring a Zero Impact product. Phase 01 focuses on designer label – CONSCIENCE, using it as a case study.
By collaborating with CONSCIENCE in Phase 01, Swim Week Colombo will identify the strengths as well as challenges faced by the brand in relation to being an ethically responsible brand. The information gathered in this phase will not only allow for innovative developments in the successive phases but also allow for collaborations with other designers who have begun their journey of eco-ethical swimwear; ultimately contributing to the creation of the Perfect Green Bikini by Swim Week Colombo which conforms to the entirety of the Pillars of Impact.
This is illustrated in an info graphic focusing on the individual aspects of a piece from the CONSCIENCE collection for SW18. Identifying the processes in line with Swim Week Colombo Pillars of Impact – Garment, Supply Chain and the Environment, key strengths and challenges were established to be addressed in the concurrent phases of the Making of the Perfect Green Bikini.
Like any great movement, our designers and partners share our vision as well. As part of the Green Initiative of Swim Week Colombo, we intend to promote our Partners as Ambassadors of the Green Initiative. While some are Industry Leaders in terms of environmental sustainability, others continue to attain the same stature, our Associated Designers and Partners share our same values in terms of being more Green Conscious and Earth Sensitive.
OLU is a natural mineral water originating 4,300 feet above sea level, from the cloud forests of Kotagala in Sri Lanka. It is gently purified and filtered through the minerals of the earth and extracted from below two hundred and fifty feet of bedrock under strictly monitored conditions. Located in a sensitive ecosystem that is the pristine cloud forests of the country, OLU Water realizes the importance of responsible management of these forests in order to ensure continuous replenishment of the water tables from which OLU Natural Mineral Water is derived from. This includes allowing the natural water cycle to progress with minimal anthropogenic interferences. OLU Water does this by only extracting what is needed for immediate bottling and staying well within the government regulations for deep well water extraction.
OLU Natural Mineral Water is exceptional due to the purity of its source. It is the only certified natural mineral water source in Sri Lanka. The cool air in the Cloud Forests of Kotagala naturally condenses and filters its way through layers of natural rock and mineral formations, acting as a purifying filter in the way nature intended it to be. Untouched by man and free from pollution, it accumulates in an aquifer which is more than 250 feet below. Using deep well technology this water is drawn and bottled immediately at source to ensure quality and then distributed island wide to give consumers the privilege of consuming, pure, great tasting natural mineral water.
OLU is a unique brand of natural mineral water that is pure and distinct. Its microbial composition makes it naturally hygienic and fit for consumption which negates the need for any additional purifying agents. Every day, samples are taken at the on-site bottling plant to ensure consistent quality.
OLU supports recycling when it comes to PET packaging. OLU is also championing the use of glass as a packaging material due to its reusable nature and greater sustainability credentials.
Linea Aqua, Hanwella a manufacturing facility of MAS Holdings, is certified as a Biodiversity, Water, Waste & Carbon Conscious facility by the Carbon Consulting Company. Linea Aqua was also certified as a Water Neutral Company in 2016, the first apparel manufacturing facility to achieve this certification. There is a process of achieving water neutral status, and in order to do so, Linea Aqua initiated a number of projects both internally within the company as well as externally for the benefit of local communities island-wide. Today, this drive still continues in terms of innovation in order to further reduce water consumption.
Linea Aqua, being one of the foremost producers of swim and active wear in Sri Lanka, catering to a global market sets its benchmarks on innovating new materials with a significantly less environmental impact. With this vision, Linea Aqua developed EFL® – a fabric which requires 30% less energy than the production of an equivalent amount of Nylon 6, and furthermore, its production process for the same amount results in a 63% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, renewably sourced corn oil based ingredients replace those made with petrochemicals making the EFL® polymer 37% renewably sourced by weight. In its production, Linea Aqua uses Carvico Vita, which is a fabric that has been woven from plastic bottles turning into Nylon yarn, which is project of Econyl®. These innovative materials are made available to designers and labels in Sri Lanka as well as global manufacturers who wish to invest in materials that not only look good, but do good as well.
Hilton Colombo functions as Swim Week Colombo’s gracious hospitality partner. Following a refurbishment in 2016, Hilton Colombo functions in accordance with the sustainability policies of Hilton Worldwide with further movements in this direction throughout the year. Hilton Colombo focuses its sustainability strategy on three key areas which include Energy, Water and Waste Management with a dedicated sustainability committee to drive this effort.
Hilton Colombo, having a capacity of more than 350 rooms, multiple dining areas as well as kitchens and recreational facilities consumes large quantities of energy in daily operations – in order to mitigate this, a number of energy efficient solutions have been implemented throughout the hotel. A few of these include, intelligent air conditioning units, replacement of cooking appliances with the latest, energy-efficient models and open-air restaurant concepts. In an effort to curb excessive water usage, the hotel installed a state-of- the-art biological algal cleaning system which significantly reduces the frequency in which the water needs to be changed as well as enables the treated, discarded water to be used for the upkeep of the vast gardens on hotel grounds. In the recent months, we have witnessed the full ramifications of irresponsible waste management. Hilton Colombo understands the gravity of this issue and so, undertakes promising efforts in waste management. These include solutions to traditional food service in hotels such as gearing towards made-to- order cuisines, reducing unnecessary consumption, recycling waste such as paper, plastic and glass and re-using organic waste as animal feed and for composting purposes. Currently, Hilton Colombo sustainably sources approximately 25% of its seafood as well – in an industry where over-fishing is decimating our oceans, this commitment by the hotel is an encouraging action seen among hotels in the country.
Additionally, this ethos is also expected of Hilton Colombo’s suppliers by ensuring plastic packaging material used by suppliers is reduced by introducing alternates to polythene. Hilton Colombo, in this envisioning effort aims to be a zero-waste hotel in the upcoming future.
American Express, one of the World’s most prestigious credit cards has been solely issued in Sri Lanka by Nations Trust Bank since 2003. Nations Trust Bank has long been one of the country’s premier banking solutions and continues in this capacity to this day. As such, Nations Trust Bank understands the role it plays as an influencer of people and business and therefore invests in mitigating climate change adversities, facilitating education and awareness as well as conserving the island’s rich biodiversity.
Nations Trust Bank continuously looks for ways to reduce their carbon footprint through investments in people, technology and processes, as well as means of further incentivizing sustainable lifestyles and investments through their product portfolio and service solutions available to aid Sri Lanka transition to a greener and a more resilient economy. The current action of the bank has been on two fronts - bearing an inward and outward focus. The internal drive has been focused on reducing the bank’s carbon footprint and its disaster readiness through business continuity planning, whilst the external drive has been on innovating to create products and solutions that help customers cut down on their carbon footprint, and help build resilience in businesses and communities against adverse impacts of climate change. Additionally, while three of its main locations of operations are certified CarbonConscious®, the bank aspires to extend this certification to the entire branch network by 2018.
However, this is not the bank’s only agenda on their sustainability portfolio. The bank also finances a number of initiatives to enhance education capacities in rural communities as well as education and research on biodiversity values in the form of publications and lecture series’ on Sri Lanka’s rich biodiversity in partnership with the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society. In addition to this, the bank also sponsors research conducted by the Wildlife Conservation Society in Galle which focuses on freshwater fish, the Southern Purple-faced leaf monkey, a wet-zone leopard survey as well as an Animal Hospital operating from Hiyare Forest Reserve among other research initiatives. Nations Trust Bank is an embodiment of the philosophy of environmental responsibility being a core belief of any organization.
A journey of 30 years has resulted in MAS becoming the region’s leading manufacturer of intimate apparel, performance wear and swimwear. Headquartered in Sri Lanka, MAS has established world-class apparel facilities in over 15 countries including several key global locations, and provides employment to over 86,000 people.
The commitment to sustainability at MAS is a daily routine and isn’t limited to landmark projects. The group’s strategy sits on two key pillars of Products Made Better that focuses on sustainable manufacturing and Lives Made Better which strives to empower all lives in the group’s sphere of influence. The environmental work includes footprint reduction, climate action as well as ambitious goals to fight habitat and biodiversity loss in Sri Lanka. As part of its goal to be zero toxic MAS became the first Sri Lankan company to become a value chain affiliate of the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) group, as it works to move the industry towards a goal of zero discharge of harmful chemicals to the environment by 2020. Waste is another key focus for MAS which it recognizes as a key industrial and operational challenge. MAS continues to seek solutions for all identified waste types, with the overall goal of repurposing and value enhancing all its waste by 2025.
One of MAS’ most commendable environmental efforts lie in the 1:100 reforestation and habitat restoration goal. The aim is to reforest and repair the damage, as well as put in place effective eco system management practices to ensure long-term conservation of all restored areas. MAS aims to restore habitats at a 1:1 ratio in 2017 alone and scale up to 100 times that space by 2025 with a final planned impact of 25,000 acres.
MAS believes in nurturing and investing in the wellbeing of their people and the communities around them. Reputed for its ethical and sustainable work environment, MAS continues to be at the forefront of social empowerment and environmental responsibility in its capacity as a global manufacturer.
Biodiversity Sri Lanka (BSL) is an entirely private sector owned and driven platform established to promote strong engagement of the corporate sector in Biodiversity and environmental conservation issues in Sri Lanka.
BSL actively promotes strong leadership of the private sector in these areas through active learning, providing technical support, sharing information, knowledge and experience, promoting best practices and dialogue with state and civil society partners. Its overall mandate is to help raise awareness of biodiversity and sustainability issues amongst the Sri Lankan business community. Working to assist companies in understanding and mainstreaming biodiversity, the Platform has the ultimate aim of ensuring that a majority of companies will eventually be on a sustainable ecological footing with a vastly reduced negative impact upon biodiversity. BSL facilitates information flow among companies encouraging them to share best-practices, demonstrating that sustainability and profitability need not be mutually-exclusive. Recognizing that often, companies have trouble navigating through a surfeit of data and not taking advantage of the best tools and other mechanisms available, the Platform endeavors to streamline and simplify this information, providing assistance and support for greater uptake. The Platform being a member of the Global Business and Biodiversity Partnership of the Convention on Biological Diversity Secretariat, lends a cache and legitimacy to these efforts which will be very important for companies working with other stakeholders, particularly governments and civil society.