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article imageSri Lanka Lingerie Plant to be Carbon Neutral Pioneer

By Bob Ewing     Aug 10, 2008 in Environment
MAS Holdings is Sri Lanka's largest apparel company and claims to have created the first lingerie manufacturing facility that will reduce carbon emissions and eventually become carbon neutral.
MAS Holdings. Sri Lanka's largest apparel company, makes bras for U.K. retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S). The company claims to have created the first lingerie manufacturing facility that will reduce carbon emissions and eventually become carbon neutral.
Marks & Spencer helped finance the transition.
In 2007, M&S set a company wide co-plan into operation. The plan included a commitment to support the development of green factories with its suppliers.
M&S spent nearly $500,000 on the solar panels and design costs in order to build the MAS Intimates plant,.
The factory features the biggest installation of solar panels to date in Sri Lanka -- a measure that will provide about 10 per cent of the total electricity needed to run the plant.
The facility also includes:
* the use of extensive daylight to help light the premises;
* energy efficient lighting and LED based task lights;
* low energy cooling systems to replace air conditioning;
* cooling measures such as green roofs (roof with vegetation on top), cool roofs (roof with high solar reflectivity), and strategically positioned courtyards with greenbelts to cool the microclimate;
* the use of eco bricks in construction to help maintain a cool interior;
The company will save about 40 per cent on electricity compared to a similar-sized factory.
Water usage will be reduced by about 50 per cent by using rainwater in toilet facilities, waste water management systems and low-flow fixtures.
Dr. Steven B. Young, director of the Centre for Environment and Business at the University of Waterloo thinks the problem with any facility claiming to be carbon neutral is that the definition is flexible.
"The definition of carbon neutral is not widely standardized," said Young. "There are a number of initiatives around the world... to try to define what carbon neutral means and set some rules about what counts and what doesn't count."
Carbon neutral means that net greenhouse gas emissions of a company equal zero.
However, companies can measure their emissions to various degrees. There are three main layers to measuring the greenhouse gas footprint of a company:
* Direct emissions from buildings, equipments, etc.
* Use of electricity generated off-site
* Materials used that are produced by other sources
"This is where you can play with the idea of carbon neutrality... where you can draw those boundaries to be forgiving to your own claim," he said.
"...To make a claim that it's the best, or the greenest, or the greatest is laced with all sorts of questions that are completely arguable."
The trend is a positive one that will grow in popularity as companies become more environmentally conscious.
"It creates a bit of a race and excitement to see who is going to do the next smart thing," he said.
More about Lingerie, Carbon, Sri lanka
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