Adoption of Voluntary Environmental Practices: Evidence from the Textile and Apparel Industry in Sri Lanka

Research output: Working paper


This study examines voluntary adoption of environmental management
practices in the textile and apparel sector in Sri Lanka. The textile
and apparel industry contributes to 58% of total industrial export
earnings and 52% of industrial employment in the country. Factories
in this sector undertake different production activities and the Sri
Lankan Central Environmental Authority identifies washing and dyeing
factories as significant contributors to water pollution. In this study, we
review existing environmental rules and regulations that apply to the
textile and apparel sector and follow up with an econometric analysis
of data from a factory survey and a set of detailed case studies. Our
sample covers factories that are registered with the Sri Lankan Board
of Investment, which primarily gathers large-scale export-oriented
companies operating in the apparel sector. Study findings show that
96% of the factories surveyed voluntarily implemented at least one
environmental management practice such as water recycling, material
re-use and environmental audits and certification. 69% adopted more
than two practices. Most of the surveyed factories had been inspected
by regulators, but had never been fined. Our analyses suggest that while
factories are responsive to existing regulations, market pressure from
international buyers may be the dominant reason why Sri Lankan firms
adopt good environmental practices. The analyses also suggest that
firm’s size and type of activities undertaken are the most significant
factors that influence decisions to voluntarily adopt environmental
management practices.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationKathmandu, Nepal
PublisherSouth Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics (SANDEE)
Number of pages38
ISBN (Electronic)9789937596237
ISBN (Print)9789937596237
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes


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