From sustainable forestry to carbon sequestration to conservation of land and water, Birla Cellulose is ensuring that VSF provides the ultimate environment-friendly fashion choice.
Cellulose, the biodegradable and most abundant organic polymer on Earth, lends itself naturally to sustainability. The Aditya Birla Group offers an entire range of cellulosic fibres derived from natural and sustainable sources, under the Birla Cellulose brand.
Recognising the inherent properties and applications of cellulose, Birla Cellulose has been sourcing this renewable organic raw material from 100 percent natural wood pulp, in turn creating the highly versatile viscose staple fibre (VSF) that goes into making garments that are distinguished by their outstanding comfort and styleability.
Today, Birla Cellulose is a world leader in VSF and a trusted raw material partner for the global textile and non-woven segment. Birla Cellulose, through its regenerated cellulosic fibres, has left an indelible mark in the world of textiles and a promise of a sustainable future for communities.
Setting industry benchmarks
A member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Birla Cellulose is the first viscose producer across the world to achieve carbon neutrality, while being ranked No. 1 globally in sustainable forestry practices in the Canopy Hot Button Report-2019. It is also the first viscose producer to do a comprehensive evaluation of its indirect emissions. Moreover, its investments in technology and renewables have helped increase the efficiency of its energy usage.
In 2019, more than 3.4 million tonnes of carbon were sequestered in the forests directly managed by Birla Cellulose. Innovations, combined with best practices, have resulted in the company successfully reducing the water intensity by 30 percent from the baseline of 2015, in turn creating new benchmarks for the industry. By applying new technologies based on the principles of 3R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), the company has targeted to reduce its water intensity by 50 percent by 2025 from the baseline year 2015. Sustainability lies at the heart of all Birla Cellulose initiatives and is deeply ingrained in the five-pillar approach it follows.
Although cellulosic fibres are renewable, through responsible sourcing, Birla Cellulose ensures they remain that way for future generations. They engage in actively conserving endangered forests, High Conservation Value (HCV) forests and the biodiversity that lies therein – all under their best-in-class forestry management system. Their wood sourcing policies meet stringent global standards, and are certified by Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).
Through backward integration, Birla Cellulose engages in pulp and fibre manufacture, and prides itself in consuming lower energy and oil. Its water consumption is amongst the lowest in the world and all its manufacturing units conform to ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 standards. Birla Cellulose is amongst the first fibre brands to adopt Higg FEM 3.0. (The Higg Index is a set of tools developed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition to accurately measure and transparently report on sustainability performance. The Higg FEM is the Facility Environment Module.)
Sustainable products and circular economy
One of Birla Cellulose’s brands is LIVA — a soft, fluid fabric made from natural cellulosic fibres originating from wood pulp. Under its sourcing policy, the company ensures that there are more trees planted than cut, and the green cover so maintained, saves six to seven times more land in comparison to cotton, besides saving three to four times more water than usual.
Livaeco, the eco-enhanced version of LIVA, comprises a range of garments that are produced with sustainability at the core — saving water, reducing harmful emissions, and reducing impact on the planet along the way. Livaeco uses the lowest water in the viscose industry – as per the Higg Index. The raw material is sourced from 100 percent FSC-certified sustainable forests and allows full blockchain traceability.
The fibres are completely biodegradable, and after the garment reaches the end of its life, it decomposes within just eight weeks (as against other fibres which take around 450 years) avoiding the load on landfills. Each garment reduces 300g of CO2 – equal to planting two trees.
Other Birla Cellulose brands — LIVA REVIVA, Birla Viscose and Modal – all offer biodegradable garments sourced from 100 percent sustainable forests.
Collaborations and partnerships go a long way in contributing to sustainability. Keeping improvement in product quality, service orientation, innovation and improved environment footprint in mind, Birla Cellulose has formed a Value Chain integration and engagement platform, called LIVA Accredited Partner Forum (LAPF) – the first of its kind.
In alignment with the Aditya Birla Group’s CSR vision, Birla Cellulose works with communities in villages around the vicinity of its production facilities, improving their lives through various initiatives. These include health care, women empowerment, education, infrastructure development and clean water and sanitation. The Group’s programmes touch the lives of 7.5 million annually across 5,000 villages.
Through best practices, new initiatives, partnerships, responsible sourcing and manufacturing, Birla Cellulose continues to strengthen its commitment to eco fashion as well as communities at large for a strong sustainable future.