Volvo teams up with Malaysian companies to produce face masks

By ramieza, 01 June 2021

With the demand for face masks on the rise, Volvo Car Malaysia, Three Little Ahmads and NanoTextile have come up with the novel idea of producing the anti-microbial reusable face masks known collectively as the ‘Volvo Batik Reusable Facemasks’ in pursuing sustainability.

Recognising disposable masks as a fast-growing environmental concern, the three-way partnership produces reusable fabric face masks with a unique Batik Tekap pattern as a tribute to the Malaysian art heritage.

According to Akhtar Sulaiman, Marketing and PR Director of Volvo Car Malaysia: “This collaboration truly falls in line with Volvo’s core philosophy of ‘Omtanke’, which is a Swedish word and Volvo’s brand ethos that means ‘to care’ and ‘to be considerate’. We are honoured to lend a helping hand to our local communities and sustain their livelihoods, especially during these economically challenging and vulnerable times.”

NanoTextile employs nanotechnology to reduce the penetration of contaminated droplets and prevent possible infection of the fabric by viruses or bacteria. The addition of a PM 2.5 filter provides a fifth layer of protection and is tested to effectively filter out 90 per cent of viral particles.

Thomas Ong, CEO of NanoTextile, said: “Through this partnership, we hope to showcase the potential of nanotechnology as one of the solutions to environmental pollution, and also that in producing better quality materials, people will be able to treat them as premium curated items that can last them many uses and for a long time.”

Datin Azrene Ahmad, Founder and Fashion Designer at Three Little Ahmads, said: “When we received the brief from Volvo Car Malaysia, we took a more contemporary spin by creating one-of-a-kind batik stamps based on three flowers: sunflower, stargazer lily and jasmine – flowers that are not normally seen in traditional batik.”

Azrene also added that the face masks are ethically sourced, made and produced by single mothers, women in rural neighbourhoods and Giatmara vocational alumnus, whose jobs were displaced due to retail factory closures during the Movement Control Order (MCO) in March 2020, resulting in some of them having to pawn off the jewellery they had received as dowries to make ends meet.

Hence, for each face mask produced, an individual from this target community group is fairly compensated. To date, the income from the production of these face masks have not only provided these women with a stable source of income but also earned them enough to buy back all their jewellery from the pawn shop.

The Volvo Batik Reusable Facemasks comes in a set of three, with two available size options – medium and large. Each set comes in three colour variations, which are dark blue (sunflower), navy blue (stargazer lily), and sky blue (jasmine). Retailing at RM99 per set, the facemasks are currently available for purchase at Volvo dealerships nationwide.