M&S underwear manufacturer claims to have first carbon-neutral clothes factory

Posted on 30 May 2008 by The Manufacturer

A company in Sri Lanka who manufacture underwear for Marks & Spencer (M&S) claim to have the first carbon-neutral clothes factory in the world.

MAS Holdings, who also produce lacy lingerie for the likes of Victoria’s Secret in the US, have an “eco-factory” which is 90% powered by hydro-power and 10% by solar panels. The site uses 40% less energy than a similar sized factory using regular power sources. Windows are designed to allow staff to work by natural light while “eco-bricks”, designed to keep the building cool, cuts the need to power air-conditioning units in the humid climes of the South Asian nation.

In addition, sweat-shop conditions or child labour, thought synonymous with some larger manufacturers, won’t be witnessed here. The company brands itself by its ethical ambitions. It says: “MAS was doing the right thing before CSR became a corporate buzzword”. Their “green pants” will hit M&S stores in June.

Sir Stuart Rose, Chief Executive of M&S, said: “The MAS factory is a truly exciting development in clothing production. It really has been a partnership of two like-minded companies, M&S and MAS, and will trial a completely new approach to manufacturing and set standards for others to follow. Not only has it been designed to be carbon neutral, use less electricity and less water than a similar scale clothing factory, it will also produce great quality lingerie products – what our customers would expect from M&S – whilst ensuring its workers are treated well through its leading standards in employee welfare.”

Mark’s and Spencer provided £200,000 towards the £3.5 million cost of the “iconic” factory in a “cost-neutral” venture – it says savings it makes through the scheme covers the investment it required. M&S is also boasting a nine per cent reduction in its CO2 emissions through British operations.