Sustainable Apparel Coalition

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Some Good News: CIEL Textile

June 5, 2020

CIEL Textile Produces 9 Million Innovative Water-Repellent Masks

ciel textile

When the COVID-19 stay-at-home period started on March 20 in Mauritius, Madagascar, India, and Bangladesh, causing CIEL Textile manufacturing companies to stop production, they immediately wanted to help local and global communities in the fight against the virus. Together, after many daily Zoom meetings, they quickly developed a plan for each region. The research and development teams repurposed fabric on hand to produce 9 million innovative masks in Mauritius, Madagascar, and India.

CIEL Textile is a one-stop shop for textiles, with vertically integrated businesses, from yarn spinning to finished garments. Using this textile expertise, CIEL Textile companies Tropic Knits and Aquarelle Group designed masks that protect both the wearer and those around them. Over the course of five weeks, the research and development teams simulated sneezes and coughs using a sprayer under UV light to test the masks effectiveness. These tests helped the companies develop multi-layer, washable and reusable masks with an innovative waterproof outer layer and absorbent inner layer that are designed to minimize the spread of COVID-19. 

Since March 2020, Tropic Knits and Aquarelle have produced 9 million protective masks as well as medical gowns to protect frontline workers. The companies are currently able to produce 3.5 million masks per month. Last month, President of Madagascar Andry Rajoelina visited the Aquarelle facility to extend his appreciation to all the CIEL Textile teams producing personal protective equipment (PPE).

President of Madagascar Andry Rajoelina visited the Aquarelle facility last month to extend his appreciation to all the CIEL Textile teams producing PPE.

In an effort to provide access to this critical protective gear, Tropic Knits Group teams have set up a website so the public can purchase masks and protective outfits. In collaboration with Mauritius Export Association (MEXA), CIEL Textile will continue to work with the public authorities to increase production capacities and distribute the masks to those in need. By producing masks, the group supports frontline and essential workers while ensuring it can continue paying much needed salaries to employees.

Tropic Knits and Aquarelle facilities have put in place strict back to work protocols following World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines to protect their teams as they produce masks and gowns. As part of these protocols, CIEL Textile has:

  • Provided all employees with minimum 2 protective masks per day
  • Implemented systematic temperature checks at the company gate
  • Processed more than 3,000 COVID-19 rapid tests, with priority given to essential workers who resumed work to produce masks
  • Encouraged teams to work from home, when possible
  • Installed foot pedal operated hand washing and hand sanitizing stations
  • Shared back to work protocol video with employees via WhatsApp

Aligned with the group’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Act for Community program, CIEL Textile has continuously supported communities through the stay-at-home period. In Madagascar, the group donated 20,000 masks along with three tons of rice and essential products to the Pere Pedro AKAMASOA Foundation. In Mauritius, CIEL Textile donated more than 200,000 masks to local authorities and NGOs, including the Mauritius Police Force, L’ordre De Malte, Cote St-Luc, University of Technology, and the Children’s Foundation. At the CIEL Group level, the CIEL Foundation donated $20,000 USD to local associations and communities for food and medical supplies. It also set up a special CIEL COVID-19 Fund to support employees and colleagues affected by the crisis. 

CIEL Textile has mobilized all its forces to spark creativity and actions in response to COVID-19. All teams have embraced this challenge to fight, adapt and go beyond.

Learn more about CIEL Textile’s COVID-19 efforts.

COVID-19 Impacts & Resources

The SAC launched a new COVID-19 impacts webpage that offers information and resources for the apparel industry to leverage while navigating the current crisis.

Giovanna Davila is the Research & Communications Analyst at the
Sustainable Apparel Coalition.

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