How Green Governance can Increase Export Numbers

By N. Chandran, Chairman, Eastman Exports

Readymade Cotton Garment Store

We are living in the day and age, where all our ideas and efforts are focused on green – green initiatives, green energy, green growth and green future. And understandably so, because we will need to go green to ensure we have a planet that can support human life, with clean, breathable air, cultivable lands and portable water.

In this context, good green governance assumes high significance as it helps promote businesses while ensuring minimal harm to the planet. This term encompasses eco-friendly production methods, reducing carbon emissions, responsibly sourcing materials, complying with environmental regulations and promoting transparency and accountability in environmental reporting. All in all, this entails abiding by the United Nations’ 2030 agenda for sustainability development. 

N Chandran, Chairman, Eastman Exports

How does good green governance work?

The clamour to transition to green economies is increasing as concerns for environmental protection and sustainable development intensifies. Recent research discussing this trend has used the term ‘green governance’ and introduced sustainability and environmental protection concepts as critical elements for economic development.

Green governance emphasises on striking a balance between economic growth and environmental protection. Key elements of good green governance include:

  • Environmental compliance
  • Sustainable supply chain management
  • Reduction in carbon footprint
  • Transparency and traceability reporting
  • Innovation and research
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Waste management and recycling

Green governance and exports

As Western countries are increasingly focusing on sustainability in the products they import, it is important for countries like India to focus on green governance as it is critical to get increased access to international markets, receive competitive advantage and build reputation.

Abiding by good green governance is essentially a two-pronged requirement – by the government and by private players. The government can help achieve sustainable goals in exports by implementing regulations, promoting sustainable material sourcing, ensuring supply chain transparency, fostering collaboration, providing incentives and support and raising consumer awareness. 

At the organisational level, businesses can ensure good practices such as proper treatment of pollutants, replenishing naturally-occurring raw materials such as wood through plantation drives and turning towards non-polluting energies to run factories, among others.

Adopting sustainable management strategies that consider economic, social and environmental factors promote innovation and benefit both organisations and the society will greatly enhance export performance in manufacturing companies. These strategies provide valuable guidance to the organisation and its stakeholders.

Green governance in textile sector

While green governance has made significant progress in promoting sustainability in the textile sector, there are some core areas where it should play a role with the advent of new technologies. These include:

  • Renewable/eco-friendly raw materials
  • Circular economy
    • Increasing the lifespan of clothing or recycling of existing textiles
    • Proper treatment and disposal of by-products and ancillary wastage (threat from non-biodegradable materials and industrial wastes)
  • Chemical management
  • Consumer awareness and education
  • Collaboration and industry-wide initiation

Long-term profitability in the textile sector depends on the alignment of sustainable practices with consumer demands, regulatory requirements and evolving industry trends. Adopting green technologies and upgrading to automation, innovation and digitalisation in these contexts, combined with guaranteed sales, bring sustainable growth as well as profitability through high return on investment.

Green governance, the way forward

Every business will, sooner rather than later, need to pay attention to sustainability in order to stayrelevant as the pressure to disclose environmental and social practices intensifies. Taking steps to become more sustainable will increase the resilience of the textile industry, have an impact on the long-term profitability of the firm, and increase profits through lower operating expenses.   

Also, as buyer focus and demand for ESG increases, green governance is slated to impact export numbers, but reaching the Indian target of $900 billion exports will depend much on global demand as exports are dependent on expansion of key overseas markets.

Countries are currently facing more and more problems related to climate change, which is forcing governments all around the world to come up with new solutions. In addition to receiving tax breaks, sustainable products support successful trade discussions with other nations. In light of this, encouraging similar environmental objectives and regulatory compliances can further improve international collaboration in trade negotiations.

The benefits of trade agreements accrue to exporters as well as consumers in the form of lower price. Lower tariffs in international market increases competitiveness of domestic goods and pumps exports by providing better market access.

India is in the early stages of a profound transformation, and the new order is gaining speed with time. Environmental governance is basically a dynamic system that adapts to new challenges which change rapidly. It is due to this dynamic nature, mastery over green norms can only be achieved over time.

By boosting technical capabilities in clean technology and circular economy, India can accelerate its transition towards a sustainable and low-carbon future, and foster economic growth at the same time.

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