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Virtual seminar ‘ZDHC Developments for 2020’ highlights way forwards for textile industry

ZDHC Developments for 2020 is the first virtual seminar highlights textile way forwards

The textile and apparel industry provides one of the most essential human basics. The present era’s perception of wearing clothes has evolved into fashion. On the other of the coin, this industry is one of the most pollution emitters globally. To tackle this issue sustainability practices have been around the fashion and retail industry for quite some time. On top of it, the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the whole textile and apparel industry into uncertainty.

Virtual-seminar-ZDHC-Developments-2020
Figure: The virtual auditorium of ‘ZDHC Developments for 2020’ seminar.

Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) platform – globally working relentlessly to implement sustainability in the textile and apparel industry – organized ‘ZDHC Developments for 2020,’ on 9th September 2020 its first virtual seminar for textile and leather manufacturers engaged in the ZDHC Program in South Asia Region (India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia and Thailand).

In the keynote speech on ‘Will sustainability be relevant for the textile industry in COVID times?’ Manohar Samuel, Sr. President – Marketing & Business Development, Aditya Birla Group, highlighted why ensuring a sustainable textile and apparel is essential and at the same time, some hopeful figures of consumers are getting more focused on sustainability globally.

Manohar mentioned that the textile value chain consumes one of the most vital resources of the earth, 4.5% freshwater – 90+ Bn cubic meter water. Which will become 2.7 bn tons if no action by 2030. Not to mention, textiles are the 2nd most water polluting industry with more than75% of wastewater discharged in the river and <40% water is treated.

Additionally, other concerns like synthetic wear is high on energy usage, cotton using 3% of agricultural land, 90+ million tons end up yearly in a landfill, and synthetic is non-biodegradable –release 0.5 million tons microfibers in water bodies.

On the positive note, Manohar said, “Sustainability is more relevant to 66% consumers. While an astonishing 70% look at functionality, 67% desire sustainable materials, 57% changed environment focus.”

Textile-clothing-life-cycle-sustainability

“But we have to observe how this impact in the long run and most importantly in the supply chain. As only 1% of clothing gets recycled. Buying digitally is also climbing vertically in the COVID-19 period worldwide. At the same in this new normal scenario, functional clothing like sportswear is radically increasing,” he added.

To remove these negative impacts, there is no other option other than being sustainable.

From the apparel and retail’s perspective, Manohar Samuel emphasized sustainability initiatives aid in reshaping and reducing pollution to some extent. This also shows in the consumers’ preference for using sustainable fashion. Suppliers, brands and retailers are keen on ensuring traceability to ensure a clean apparel supply chain. ZDHC has brought together big names of the industry to work in collaboration.

2020 has been a milestone year for ZDHC. Prasad Pant, Director- South Asia at ZDHC Foundation in his welcome address gave an overview of ZDHC Workplan 2020.

Janne Koopmans, Program Manager at ZDHC, highlighted major milestones in her presentation.

Archak Pattanaik, Puma said in the panel discussion of ‘Relevance of ZDHC in the post-COVID phase,’ “In this pandemic, the whole apparel supply chain – from top to bottom – has been affected greatly. The good news is we are recovering very fast. In fact, in July this year, we observed growth equal to last year.”

“As for the supply chain, we are working closely with it.”

The textile value chain consumes one of the most vital resources of the earth, 4.5% freshwater – 90+ Bn cubic meter water. Which will become 2.7 bn tons if no action by 2030. Not to mention, textiles are the 2nd most water polluting industry with more than75% of wastewater discharged in the river and <40% water is treated.

-Manohar Samuel, Sr. President – Marketing & Business Development, Aditya Birla Group

Vinod Kumar Kapoor, Managing Director – India & Sri Lanka at Hohenstein Group said in his part of the panel discussion, “Hohenstein is greatly involved in the global textile and chemical industry sustainability. And its OEKO-TEX® – certification model of the system, which covers the entire supply chain.”

Where industry leaders have discussed way forwards and besides the seminar focused on ZDHC MRSL V2.0 implementation, the recently launched ZDHC CMS Framework and Supplier to Zero Program. The seminar day witnessed engaging live sessions comprising panel discussions and updates on these topics, where industry experts enthusiastically participated.

The seminar started with a welcome address and overview of ZDHC Workplan 2020 by Prasad Pant (ZDHC) and Janne Koopmans (ZDHC). In his welcoming speech, he highlighted the focusing points of COVID-19 and also the current priorities amid this new-normal scenario.

He said, “Today’s sessions are very interesting with many leading experts from the industry and my colleagues from ZDHC will discuss in-depth.”

The three-day (7-10 September) ZDHC virtual seminar was really successful, as stakeholders across the apparel supply chain participated.

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