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NEW DELHI : Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Limited (ABFRL) on Wednesday said it has collaborated with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH to bolster sustainable practices in the apparel and textile industry.

The collaboration is being implemented by ABFRL and GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

“The joint project is designed to introduce material innovation, reduce inputs of harmful substances, increase textile-to-textile recycling, develop alternatives to plastic packaging, and foster traceability. The program will complement existing business practices such as downcycling, recycling, reusing and introducing new sustainable production processes. With the support of GIZ, ABFRL along with the Indian industry players will be able to leverage circular business practices and adopt complex processes that are technically superior and consumer-friendly," ABFRL said in an announcement.

The move comes as retailers are thinking about sustainable fashion practices. This is especially true as easily available and cheaper fast-fashion alternatives lead to a significant amount of waste.

A large part of the textile waste generated is sent to the landfill and incinerated instead of being recycled or reprocessed, the company said. India’s textile and apparel industry is the 6th largest in the world; it is the second-largest employment generator in the country.

“There is a need to ‘self-disrupt’ existing practices and transition to a more circular approach. Promoting a common understanding is therefore crucial from a sustainable development perspective for the entire textile sector in India. Along with GIZ, we aim to create awareness among key stakeholders to drive circular approaches, reduce waste, and create closed-loop systems," said Ashish Dikshit, managing director, ABFRL.

Based on common interests, ABFRL and GIZ have developed a concept and are going to pool their capacities for three years under this funding programme to find and implement circular business approaches to strengthen a sustainable Indian textile and apparel industry together with other partners in the sector, said Dieter Frick, Project Manager, GIZ Germany.

ABFRL operates the Louis Philippe, Van Heusen, Allen Solly and Peter England brands in India. It has a network of 3,212 stores across approximately 31,000 multi-brand outlets with over 6,800 points of sales in department stores across India. It also operates the Pantaloons retail chain. The company holds exclusive online and offline rights to the India network of fast fashion brand Forever 21; apart from several such associations with international brands.

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