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COP26 and a better tomorrow for the global textile and apparel industry

The UN recently stated that the international community has failed a decade-long effort to stop environmental deterioration. It creates pressure on leaders to implement strategies and policies to tackle global warming.

COP 26 is one of the most important summits, where world leaders come from all over the world to accelerate action towards the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement and the 1994 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. COP26 has set four prime goals, where the first goal is to secure global net-zero emissions by mid-century and keep the global temperature rise under 1.5 degrees Celsius, in line with the Paris Agreement.

COP26-better-tomorrow-global-textile-apparel-industry
Figure: The apparel industry can play a real and effective role with the collaboration and partnership of brands and buyers to reach COP26’s goal.

More than 40 world leaders and so many well-known global figures flied to the Scottish city to join the international summit. Bangladesh Pavilion – sponsored by Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) – at COP26 in Glasgow led by BGMEA President Faruque Hassan, showcased Bangladesh’s sustainability steps in RMG and highlighted green revolutions and commitments.

The global apparel and textile industry, which generates over $1.5 trillion in annual revenue and used 109 million tons of fibers in 2020, is responsible for water pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and landfill. Fast fashion – the continual delivery of new styles at very low prices – has led to a big increase in the quantity of clothes produced and thrown away.

Around 50 billion new garments were manufactured in 2000, and in just 20 years, the figure has doubled, according to an estimate by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. But the recycling rate of these garments remains less than 1 percent.

Policymakers, scientists and activists have been urging the sector to adopt a science-based approach to reduce massive water, fiber and energy consumption extremely to become sustainable.

According to a recent United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report, the fashion industry contributes more than 10 percent to global emissions.

The Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, comprising 130 companies and 40 supporting organizations, updated their climate target during the ongoing UN Global Climate Change Conference, COP26.

Stefan Seidel, Co-Chair of the Fashion Industry Charter Steering Committee said that it was a signal that we needed to work closely together with our peers, our supply chain, policymakers and consumers to get on the track to net-zero.

The UNEP report also warned that if the sector fails to take immediate action to reduce its carbon footprint, then its emission will surge by more than 50 percent by 2030.

Many consumers, suppliers and brands have been talking about sustainable fashion for a decade long time. Unlike fast fashion, sustainable fashion focuses more on ethics as well as the environment.

Among the garment exporting countries, Bangladesh—the leader in green-certified factories in the world—has taken many steps to make its textile and apparel industry sustainable. Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA)—the largest organization of garments manufacturers in Bangladesh–also signed the UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action and is making committed efforts to align the Bangladesh RMG industry with the net-zero target of the global fashion industry.

Cost is one of the key barriers faced by manufacturers looking to shift their supply chain towards ecologically preferred materials. To reach COP26’s goal, the apparel industry can play a real and effective role with the collaboration and partnership of brands and buyers. Brands and buyers have to take part with the manufacturers in the journey of sustainability.

If anyone has any feedback or input regarding the published news, please contact: info@textiletoday.com.bd

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