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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Sustainability in denim manufacturing: The case of Modern Mills

Modern Mills (MM), a denim garment manufacturer in Pakistan, is a social enterprise that invests all its profits for social good. It aims to enhance social contributions by adopting sustainable manufacturing practices. The company, however, has limited knowledge and understanding of the textile sector’s Best Available Techniques (BAT) and their implementation criteria. Existing research has studied the benefits accrued by several global textile companies that deployed BATs. However, this research has rarely covered the application of BATs in denim garment manufacturing, especially in water-scarce Pakistan, or at a company that strives to maximise social benefits than just profits. Hence, this dissertation intends to explore opportunities to improve the sustainability performance of MM through the implementation of various BATs. To achieve the objective, the current manufacturing procedures of MM are assessed with the help of process and resource consumption data from MM and interviews of the company management. Then, a comparison is made with the global best practices to shortlist process relevant, environmentally and socially beneficial, and practically implementable improvement measures for the company. Research findings suggest that out of 42 BATs filtered from the literature, 34 are applicable to MM and can deliver various sustainability benefits. 2 out of 13 wastewater streams can be reused to conserve water, and 7 out of 34 BATs must be considered for implementation at the new planned facility of MM. All the BATs have been arranged in order of MM’s priorities. Apart from reducing the environmental footprint and enhancing its profits, the recommended BATs would also assist MM in contributing to the social uplift of the Pakistani population.


Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.