Staple Fibre Division of Grasim Industries Ltd

By showing that a market leading manufacturer based in a developing country can significantly reduce its water usage, improve its overall environmental impact and be profitable, the Staple Fibre Division of Grasim Industries Ltd became the recipient of the 2004 Stockholm Industry Water Award.

Since 1980, the Staple Fibre Division of Grasim Industries Ltd, an Indian producer of viscose staple fibre (VSF) used in clothing and textiles around the world, has reduced water consumption by 85%, process steam by 51% and electrical usage by 43%. Further, the company was among the first to replace zinc — a pollutant particularly harmful for marine and aquatic life — with aluminium in its VSF production process.

The Staple Fibre Division’s winning concept builds upon three pillars: reduced water consumption per unit of production year after year through increased equipment efficiency by way of design and technological improvements, adoption of innovative cleaner process technology to eliminate the use of zinc in the production of viscose fibre, and transparency and openness which enables tracing of improvements and engenders a high level of confidence. The Division is a world leader in VSF, with a 24 per cent global market share and exports to more than 50 countries, and meets over 90 per cent of India’s domestic VSF requirements.

The Division’s initiatives include recycling wastewater and reducing the pollutant load in discharged effluent. For example, treated wastewater is used locally for irrigation. Also, the application of aluminium reduces trace metals in the wastewater sludge.

The 2004 Stockholm Industry Water Award recognised that the Staple Fibre Division’s “prime concern has always been to protect, preserve and improve the environment in and around its industrial complexes.” Their vision, mission and strategic leadership is underscored by its holding of a number of internationally recognised environmental certifications, such as ISO 14001.