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Striking a Good Balance Between ESG, Leadership and Business Performance In the Textile Sector In a connected and fast paced world, being resilient during unprecedented circumstances while staying committed to the principles of innovation and ESG is a hallmark of sustainable businesses

By Dipali Goenka

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Amidst growing dialogue around environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices in business, there is a growing need for companies to be proactive on this front. Moreover, rising awareness among consumers on sustainability and social preferences are influencing their attitudes and purchase decisions heavily, which has a direct impact on revenue. In a connected and fast paced world, being resilient during unprecedented circumstances while staying committed to the principles of innovation and ESG is a hallmark of sustainable businesses. Organisations should formulate a strategy in a way that continues to enhance business drivers, increase standing in the global industry and create value for all of our stakeholders and society at large.

For inclusive growth, businesses should achieve a good balance in ESG, operations and business performance. Following ethical practices and working for the betterment of the environment can also work toward motivating employees. The environment surrounding sustainability is changing at an astounding speed, as seen in the actions of countries and companies towards quickly realising a decarbonised society, as well as the increasing interest in biodiversity, human capital, and human rights. Externally, organisations can gain the loyalty and trust of the consumer, which would help the company as well as the industry to improve overall performance. To sum up, while growth strategy and being resilient is a key, driving business goals underpinned with technology, innovation, collaboration, customer centricity and most important of all – ethical leadership, will help drive a sustainable future for all of us.

ESG is taking a centre stage across all operations in the textile industry

The textile sector has long been acknowledged as a significant polluter, which sparked the urgency to become more sustainable. At a time when the availability of natural resources is becoming scarce, the textile industry in particular needs to be cognitive about the impact of their processes and operations on the environment. Additionally, the textile supply chain which spans across sourcing, manufacturing, and packaging, causes detrimental effects. It is heartening to see that efforts are being taken in the right direction, and organisations have been taking up the responsibility to embed sustainability directly into their business practices and to execute ESG campaigns actively.

The textile industry has paved the way for sustainable practices such as effluent recycling, repurposing and recycling of textile wastes, and providing training to farmers and indigenous workers on sustainable agricultural practices. Factors like ensuring the purchase of environment-friendly supplies, minimising pollution in the production process, and incorporating a structured, sustainable system for waste disposal are also paramount for the protection of the environment.

Digitalisation has also ushered in a new dimension of operations and value creation for a lot of textile businesses. Their belief in creating a culture of experimentation, innovation, and continuous improvement has made them embrace technology to leapfrog into a new future.

Inside out leadership approach

Business leaders are also recognising their responsibility towards various stakeholders and the impact of their choices and processes on everyone. The idea of an organisation working only with the aim of earning profit is steadily becoming outdated, and companies are coming up with new ideas and ways to fulfil their social responsibility.

Brands are putting their employees' needs first by offering a relaxing yet stimulating work environment. With their employees in mind, firms are attempting to incorporate issues like gender diversity, ethical hiring, fair pay, and plenty of opportunities or platforms to voice concerns. At Welspun, we launched the DigiSmart programme to help all our workers. It is an intensive training on data analytics, e-commerce, and Industry 4.0 skills and applications deployed on shop floors are some of the programmes covered.

To enhance social protection for workers in the textile industry, businesses have launched a number of new initiatives in collaboration with employee groups and NGOs. Businesses are increasing their awareness of continuous innovation, delivering quality and consumer satisfaction, sustainable development, and women's empowerment. All of this helps to maintain employee motivation and happiness, which improves organisational performance.

Dipali Goenka

MD and CEO Welspun India

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