We take a genuine interest in being a socially responsible company that people are proud to work with, clients are proud to partner with and local communities share a symbiotic relationship with. It is no surprise that, as a result, our sustainability approach is fundamental to our company and long-term objectives.
As a sustainable manufacturer, we use the Higg Index to showcase our environmental responsibility. We continue to lower our carbon footprint and environmental impact by minimizing water and energy waste, as well as the emission of hazardous gases. Our waste management KPI is zero landfilling. Water-saving measures have been implemented in our facilities, along with wastewater treatment, and the treated wastewater is used for landscaping.
As a sustainable manufacturer, we have embarked on multiple sustainable approaches to reduce environmental impact. Design Studio has taken the initiative to manufacture apparel from organic and recyclable materials and engaged in sustainable manufacturing with our customers and suppliers.
We are committed to protecting the health, safety & well-being of all our employees & other stakeholders – this is a principle we will never compromise on. We have clearly defined procedures, augmented with regular training, to ensure compliance with local & international laws such as the Factories Ordinance Act which is recognised by the International Labour Organisation (ILO); industry-standard social & ethical guidelines demonstrated by our Sedex, SMETA & SLCP accreditations; our customers’ codes of conduct; as well as our rigorous internal operating principles. After all, we are nothing without our people – it’s just the right thing to do.
The raison d'être for taking investment outside the city is to revive the otherwise stagnant rural communities across the island. Members of our 3200-strong workforce are often the sole breadwinners of their families, starting as unskilled staff who go through a comprehensive 3-month paid training programme regardless of whether or not they remain with the company – going on to become a highly skilled workforce making some of the most complicated apparel orders manufactured in Sri Lanka.
For example, our recent project, Mila Fashion – which is a brand-new purpose-built production plant in Welioya – is located in the Mullaitivu district of the Northern Province. Welioya was referred to as the ‘border village’ during wartime – continually making it one of the hardest hit areas in the country, with the growth, development, education and economic & social prosperity of its people being heavily stunted for over three decades.
This is exactly what Design Studio and its collective of factories want to contribute towards improving, in line with our vision of upskilling rural talent – providing meaningful employment with competitive, sustainable salaries through adequate on- and off-the-job vocational training, a clear career progression pathway and helping communities that were war-torn for decades to finally integrate themselves into modern society.
We are committed to uplifting and supporting the rural communities we operate in – it’s a symbiotic relationship in our eyes. We provide numerous indirect emoluments through schemes such as obtaining the services of home cooks in the village to provide staff meals and sponsorship of community development initiatives (e.g. supporting the cottage industries or through bringing about advanced internet & road infrastructure to the area).
Every year, we provide our employees with the necessary school books & stationery their children require, to kickstart the new school year. We have been consistently doing this for over 15 years – Sri Lanka has a literacy rate of over 96%, the highest in the region, and we want to contribute to this in our own small way too.
With the help of the local health authorities & our financial sponsorship, we prioritised vaccinating our family of over 3000+ members against Covid-19 at our production plants across Sri Lanka – ensuring early protection to our teams who are unable to work remotely given the nature of our work, protecting business continuity for our clients and safeguarding one of the country’s top export-oriented industries.
We regularly facilitate blood donation campaigns at our premises – an employee-driven initiative – in partnership with the National Blood Transfusion Service.
Our ‘Apith Husmak Hitawamu’ campaign promotes reforestation efforts for a greener future. We understand the impact we have on the environment, which is why we are dedicated to offsetting our emissions, being environmentally conscious and promoting sustainability. We do this at both an individual level, as well as on a corporate scale where we use wastewater for landscaping our premises and growing crops & vegetables.
Every year, we sponsor and organise an open-house food donation drive run by our employees, for anyone passing by. This is an age-old Sri Lankan tradition – called ‘dansal’ – which are essentially free food stalls serving a range of meals, snacks & drinks during the Buddhist festival of Vesak.
Our mission goes beyond creating the trendiest clothes in the high street. Our hearing aid donation programmes saw many of those in need regain their ability to fully enjoy the magic of sight & sound better.
Creating a safe & healthy work environment for our employees is very important to us. We work with qualified third-party organisations to raise awareness on the importance of mental health & educate our team on the resources available to them. Moreover, our industry is predominantly female-driven – these programmes reinforce our commitment to gender equality & that there is no one-size-fits-all prescription for what makes a strong woman.
Our own welfare shops at our factories allow our team members to purchase a range of products at subsidised, concession rates. This is our way of helping provide quality essentials at affordable prices for our employees and their families.
Clean drinking water is a basic human right and we are dedicated to making it accessible to all. Design Studio have implemented industry-standard water filtration systems at all of our locations for our employees’ use, reflecting our commitment to promoting holistic health and well-being at the workplace.
Sustainability and environmental responsibility are at the heart of our operations. Design Studio have invested in an in-house water treatment plant, helping reduce water usage and minimise waste.
We believe that charity starts at home. We have a longstanding relationship with local hospitals where our factories are based – some of the programmes we have donated to include the acquisition of modern medical equipment, the painting of brand-new hospital wards, and the donation of aprons, blouses, PPE & mosquito nets.
It is imperative that organisation step up to support our people, especially in times of crisis. We created a disaster relief fund to provide assistance during floods, landslides & other forces of nature. Our first initiative is to provide sheets for roofless houses, offering a safe and comfortable shelter to those in need.
Design Studio is dedicated to promoting kindness and compassion, not just towards people, but also towards animals. We have created a program to donate towards animal relief efforts, including providing food and medical care for rescued animals.
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Design Studio refers to one or more entities belonging to Design Studio Manufacturing (Pvt) Ltd, D2 Clothing (Pvt) Ltd and Mila Fashion (Pvt) Ltd in Sri Lanka, Studio 21 Limited in the United Kingdom, and Design Studio Manufacturing SASU in Morocco
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