Case Study

Hirdaramani reduces energy and greenhouse gas emissions in Sri Lanka with Higg Co

Products used

Higg Facility Environmental Module

Problem

Hirdaramani Ltd. had goals for reducing energy use and lowering greenhouse gas emissions. They had a 2012 baseline, and wanted concrete goals to improve on. But with so many areas to consider for impact projects, they needed to know where to look, and where to start. 

Products used

Higg Facility Environmental Module

Solution

Using Higg Co, the Hirdaramani sustainability team identify hotspots in these categories to improve. Higg Co helped them see that a key component to reducing overall energy consumption will be the reduction of purchased electricity, and come up with a plan to reduce electricity over their baseline.

The Story

“Climate change is the most pressing challenge that the industry, country, and the world are facing at the present,” says Demith Gooneratne, Environmental Sustainability Manager at Hirdaramani Exports International Ltd. 

The company, based in Kahathuduwa, Sri Lanka, has 20 apparel manufacturing facilities across the country and is a leader in sustainable manufacturing. In 2018, its Mihila Factory was the first facility in Asia to achieve an impressive Carbon Neutral status. 

Gooneratne and his team are committed to sustainability efforts, and use the Higg Facility Environmental module (Higg FEM) to baseline and continuously measure environmental management across eight key impact areas:

20%

Reduced electricity in kilowatt hours per standard production minute by 2020

  • Environmental management systems
  • Energy use
  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Water use
  • Wastewater
  • Emissions to air
  • Waste management
  • Chemical use and management

By 2020, Hirdaramani Ltd. seeks to reduce energy in megajoules per standard production minute by 20 percent over a 2012 baseline, so it’s been keenly focused on reducing energy use and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

The Higg Index helps the Hirdaramani Ltd. sustainability team identify hotspots to improve in these categories. The next step is identifying a reduction target. In this case, a key component to reducing overall energy consumption will be through reducing purchased electricity. With Higg Co’s help, by 2020, the company will reduce electricity in kilowatt hours per standard production minute by 20 percent over the same baseline.

“Using the Higg Index helped us identify areas that we might normally have overlooked for improvement in energy and other environmental impact areas,” Gooneratne said.

Setting Reduction Targets

Using the Higg Index, Hirdaramani Ltd. calculates a normalized energy reduction target. A normalized target represents a reduction relative to a set production unit, which allows the company to measure real reduction progress, even if production levels fluctuate year to year, affecting total energy consumption.

Higg FEM questions prompt facility teams to determine and explain how they will meet reduction goals. To set its 2020 goals, Hirdaramani Ltd. examined past energy-saving initiatives and extrapolated possible reductions for future initiatives. The company set targets holistically, creating targets for its entire group of Sri Lankan facilities. Each site received a unique target requirement based on its individual potential.

“The Higg Index scores and improvement areas allowed our management to identify facilities that needed more investment or attention,” Gooneratne said. “Using the Higg Index helped us identify energy and environmental impact areas that we might normally have overlooked,” Gooneratne said.

The energy and greenhouse gas emissions section of the Higg FEM assessment initially asks facilities questions about basic management practices: tracking emissions, measuring them, and quantifying energy consumption.

Once facilities have demonstrated that all basic management practices have been partially or fully met, they answer questions about more robust management practices that can lead to bigger reductions in the facility’s greenhouse gas emissions and lower its environmental impact. To improve, facilities must baseline energy consumption, identify hotspots, and set reduction targets.

In addition to the direct reduction benefits from the solar photovoltaic system, Hirdaramani also identified indirect benefits, including a reduction in the amount of cooling facilities needed. During the day, the solar panels shade the roof, cooling the buildings and reducing the need for air conditioning.

While this kind of project can be expensive, Gooneratne points out that projects can range from no or low cost, to medium, high, and long-term cost. “Actions in this area [of energy and greenhouse gas emissions] are the ones that have the highest return on investment,” he says.

Business Value from High Higg Index Scores

Hirdaramani senior leadership were initially inspired to urgently address climate change after reading former U.S. Vice President Al Gore’s 2006 book, An Inconvenient Truth, and their sustainability, maintenance, and engineering teams remain committed to continued sustainability efforts. The teams collaborate with facility managers to implement projects that can meet climate goals while providing business value for the global manufacturer.

The teams see the business value through the return on investment of numerous initiatives, from reduced operational costs to a declined risk associated with fossil fuel dependency. The manufacturer’s relationships with business partners are also stronger following the success of these projects. Gooneratne says that the recognition Hirdaramani Ltd. receives from value chain partners for facilities with high Higg Index performance encourages further project development and investment.

With the new and ongoing projects in place, Hirdaramani Ltd. looks forward to seeing its energy and greenhouse gas emissions continue to decline. The company will become less dependent on fossil fuels and continue to see its Higg Index scores improve.

Advice from Hirdaramani to Higg Co customers hoping to pursue energy and greenhouse gas projects:

  • Think long-term
  • Your finance team is your friend. Always look at impact and cost-benefit analysis before implementing a project. Rather than considering the profitability of each individual project, consider a cluster of projects that will provide an overall positive outcome. While some initiatives add cost, those can be offset by other initiatives that pay back.
  • Keep the momentum going and keep your teams motivated by recognizing their achievements with sustainability-related awards and recognition.
  • Reducing environmental impact requires effort, but the benefit for future generations and the planet is worth it.

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