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ZDHC advances textile industry towards sustainable chemical management

In order to engage the textile and leather industry in the South Asia Region, ZDHC will organize a one -day conference on ‘Leading transformation through sustainable chemical management’ at the Radisson Blue Hotel in Dhaka on 12 February 2020.

The global apparel and textile trade is expected to grow at a pace of 3.7% CAGR over the next 10 years and will touch USD 1176 billion by 2028. (Source: ITC Trademap, Technopak Advisors)

While we are focused on growth, it is imperative to understand the impact-such growth will have on our environment, climate change, biodiversity and worker/consumer health. Because textile and leather production are known to be as the big polluting industries.

ZDHC advances textile industry sustainable chemical management
Figure: One of the biggest challenges in textile processing is the use and discharge of huge amounts of chemicals in the polluting effluent and hazardous solid waste.

More than 25% of the chemicals produced in the world are used in textile production at some stage. A lot of these chemicals have a negative impact on human health and the environment. But manufacturers are still used in our industry due to:

  • lack of knowledge
  • cheap prices as compared to safer alternatives
  • lack of regulation and enforcement

Some chemicals are toxic or can cause skin/eye irritation or respiratory sensitization. Some are known to cause cancer (one of the reasons for the high rise in cancer cases!) or damage our reproductive system. Some are endocrine disruptors (and thereby upset the hormonal balance in a living species) or are Specific Target Organ Toxic or a developmental toxin. Chemicals also impact the environment as they can be persistent (non-biodegradable), bioaccumulative or toxic to aquatic life!

The fashion industry impacts our lifestyles in a big way. Not only does apparel consumption impact landfills (the global apparel industry creates 53 million tons of landfill waste a year) but it also draws on natural resources such as water and land and causes greenhouse gas emissions during manufacturing steps that increase global warming and impact climate change.

One of the biggest challenges in textile processing is the use and discharge of huge amounts of chemicals in the polluting effluent and hazardous solid waste that may not be managed responsibly by textile producers.

The modern consumers are more cautious about how their buying practices are impacting the environment and is moving towards brands offering eco-friendly and sustainable fashion. Due to this, global apparel and footwear brands are more conscious about their purchasing and manufacturing practices and are establishing sustainable supply chains and products.

The ZDHC ‘Roadmap to Zero’ Program is a pioneering collaborative effort to implement sustainable chemistry and environmental best practices in the textile and leather industry. It is a multi-stakeholder initiative within the fashion and footwear industry to ensure consumer, worker and environmental protection through the safe use and discharge of chemicals in the value chains of the Signatory Brands.

Prasad Pant, ZDHC
Figure: Prasad Pant, Director- South Asia at ZDHC Foundation – Roadmap to Zero Programme.

Through collaborative engagement, standard-setting and large- scale adoption, ZDHC advances the industry towards zero discharge of hazardous chemicals. ZDHC is a holistic approach to sustainable chemical management and supports the industry with practical solutions and services. More information can be had at www.roadmaptozero.com

In order to engage the textile and leather industry in the South Asia Region, ZDHC is going to organize a one -day conference at the Radisson Blue Hotel in Dhaka on 12  February 2020 with the theme ‘Leading transformation through sustainable chemical management’.

The aim is to provide not only an insight into safer chemical management practices but also share experiences and success stories from organizations that have made substantial progress in their journey towards sustainable supply chains. The conference will have a mix of panel discussions and presentations from eminent speakers.

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