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Sri Lanka's garment industry is striving to climb the value chain with a focus on sustainability, as the government seeks a green economic renaissance.    © Illustration by Hiroko Aida
Asia Insight

Sri Lanka cultivates sustainable fashion for an economic revival

Government and garment makers aim to catch green wave to boost competitiveness

MARWAAN MACAN-MARKAR, Asia regional correspondent | Sri Lanka

ARAYAMPATHY, Sri Lanka -- The small town of Arayampathy on Sri Lanka's eastern coast was once part of the turf contested by government troops and Tamil separatists in the country's three-decade civil war. Now, years after the guns fell silent, the farming and fishing community is an unlikely contender to shape the future of global fashion.

A sprawling garment factory of Brandix, a leader in the local apparel industry, is nestled among ebony trees and flowering plants on a 4-hectare property. Elephants roam in nearby scrub forests. The facility boasts green credentials to match the setting: Rooftop solar panels keep its machines and air conditioners running, solar tubes light the interior for 1,600 workers per shift, and processing systems treat wastewater. The entrance sports a plaque conferring a platinum rating from the U.S.-based Leadership in Energy and Environment Design program, the highest for any factory in Sri Lanka.

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