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Interview of Zaynab Khodabocus, Environmental Manager at Tropic Knits Group in ASOS's supplier newsletter

In: Textile | October 2017

Tropic Knits Group, key supplier for brands in the global market, has initiated in 2015 a 5-year plan regarding Sustainability at work. ASOS interviewed Zaynab Khodabocus, Environmental Manager at Tropic Knits Group, for its supplier newsletter, to gain an insight into their stance on implementing sustainability.

Starting a sustainable strategy

Zaynab Khodabocus : We developed a 5-year plan in 2015 – getting it off the ground required:

  • The commitment and constant input of our topmanagement
  • Setting up a Sustainability Committee with members who play a key role in environmental management
  • Setting Environmental KPIs (energy, water,waste)
  • Reviews on a quarterly basis with top management
  • In 2016, we joined the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, allowing us to do a gap analysis with our internal management system. It gave us clarity on areas needing more focus, like air emissions and wastewater, which we are looking at including in our KPIs.

How it's affected the business so far 

Zaynab Khodabocus : We’ve managed to identify the low-hanging fruit when it comes to energy and water saving e.g.reviewing lighting layout or removing unnecessary lighting. We’ve also improved internal communications on environmental aspects via newsletters, mails, posters and displays.

What is Sustainable Apparel Coalition's (SAC) role in your development ? 

Zaynab Khodabocus : Our sustainability performance is measured using the Environmental Module, which was developed by the SAC and is adapted for the textile industry. The findings are brought up in quarterly meetings and at top management level. The SAC has been crucial, which is why we have become a corporate member. We want to harmonise our sustainability strategy in all of our units across various countries with all our stakeholders, by focusing on critical areas and on community involvement.

The importance of being sustainable in today's competitive global market 

Zaynab Khodabocus : Given the importance of being sustainable in today’s competitive global market, we are consolidating the reporting and tracking of our sustainable performance on a monthly basis. This is so we can position ourselves as a key supplier for brands in the global market.

What can retailers do to make it easier for suppliers and facilities ?  

Zaynab Khodabocus : If retailers develop and design sustainable products whilst marketing these to end-consumers, it will help encourage manufacturers to do the same – traceability is also key. Having workshops or webinars with manufacturers may be useful in aligning us all.

Did you face any barriers ? 

Zaynab Khodabocus : At the beginning of this journey, culture change was our biggest barrier.

What is your proudest achievement working in Sustainability ? 

Zaynab Khodabocus : Seeing our people involved in CSR and Environment day.

What would you like to see in 5 years' time ? 

Zaynab Khodabocus : All our facilities to be on 85% on sustainable performance for the environment module.

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