The textile industry plays a major role in the economy of many Asian countries. While the underlying conditions vary considerably between countries, the challenges they face are similar – to ensure decent conditions for workers and reduce environmental impacts. To overcome these challenges while continuing to expand, the industry needs to be more socially, environmentally and economically sustainable. This can be done, but it requires collaboration: Strong networks and regular knowledge-sharing can help the industry to implement sustainable business models across the board.
To strengthen regional exchange, GIZ FABRIC initiated a conference series called “Asian Dialogues on Sustainability in the Textile and Garment Industry”, providing a platform to discuss opportunities and challenges on the way towards sustainability, to share regional experiences and to learn from innovative initiatives tackling sustainability issues in the different producing countries.
The conference series brings together industry representatives from brands, suppliers, workers, civil society and government bodies from across Asia. The conferences are organized by FABRIC project in cooperation with members of the STAR Network, a network of business associations in the region, and other local partners. Since 2016, more than 1,400 participants attended the 13 conferences on different sustainability topics in six countries in Asia and exchanged on their experiences and lessons learned in driving more sustainable production.
When COVID-19 hit the world, supply chains globally and across industries were disrupted. While reduced income from missing sales poses threats on brands and retailers, many factories are suffering heavily from order cancellations. Consequently, the industry witnesses an increasing number of factory closures, potentially leaving hundreds of thousands of workers unemployed. The implications on developing countries are enormous, potentially leading to strikes and social unrest.