The new facility will mirror Crystals Zhongshan Yida Apparel (Yida) denim jeans subsidiary

The new facility will mirror Crystal's Zhongshan Yida Apparel (Yida) denim jeans subsidiary

Hong Kong based garment manufacturing giant Crystal Group is hoping to replicate the success of its “Chinese role model sustainable denim jeans factory” with its new facility in Cambodia.

The new Yi Da Manufacturer Company Limited (YDCL) was opened in Kandal, Cambodia earlier this year, and is currently taking orders from several American and European brands. Its capacity of “a few hundred thousand pieces of garments per month,” is expected to increase twelve-fold over the next four years as its customer base expands.

The new facility also has ambitions to match the achievements of Crystal Group’s Zhongshan Yida Apparel Limited (Yida) denim jeans subsidiary – which is the largest exporter of cotton trousers and shorts (categories 347/348) to the US. The unit saved 60m litres of fresh water across its China operations in 2014, and produced 500,000 pairs of jeans using 100% recycled water.

Wholly owned by Crystal Apparel, a subsidiary of Crystal Group, Yida’s facilities in Zhongshan and Jintan in China's Pearl River Delta make it the largest denim jeans producer in Asia, with 4,000 employees and customers including Levi Strauss, H&M, Gap, Wrangler, Lee and JC Penney.

“We are developing YDCL as a replica of our Chinese role model sustainable denim jeans factory Yida, which is renowned for its robust environmental stewardship, comprehensive employee care programme and high level of efficiency,” explains Catherine Chiu, general manager of corporate quality and sustainability department, at Crystal Group.

Speaking to just-style last year, Crystal Group’s CEO Andrew Lo confirmed Cambodia is key to the company's production strategy for its European customers thanks to its duty-free benefits.

Occupying a total land area of 15 hectares, the new factory employs a range of automated machines at each stage to ensure safe, efficient and quality manufacture. Initiatives include an automatic hanger system in the sewing workshops to help reduce workers’ injury risks, while the hanger system in the laundry saves energy by pre-drying washed garments using residual heat from the dryers.

There is also a Continuous Improvement Centre dedicated to developing tools and modifying equipment for productivity improvement.

In terms of water use, the new facility is said to boast the largest wastewater treatment plant in the Cambodian garment industry. With a capacity of 6,000 cubic metres per day, it receives and treats all wastewater from the laundry, 60% of which is reused. On top of its textile testing capability, the in-house laboratory also tests and monitors wastewater discharges.

Yida began collaborating with Levi Strauss to establish the Water Recycling/ Reuse Standard (WRRS) in 2012 – the first industry standard for water recycling and reuse in apparel manufacturing. Since then, Yida has been using this standard to maximise the use of recycled water and ensure its quality meets the desired level for reuse in production. Today, the same standard is applied to YDCL.

Besides prudent water resource management, the new facility has adopted the Higg Index for sustainability performance assessment and has been certified to the Organic Content Standard.

Crystal Group, which had a turnover of US$1.7bn last year, and produced 304m garment pieces from its 20 factories in Asia, earlier this year outlined the latest achievements in its 2015 sustainability report. Click on the following link to read more: SUSTAINABILITY: Crystal Group eyes “mega-capacity” in Vietnam.