ZDHC South Asia Region had a successful conference on ‘Anchoring the ZDHC Program in the domestic apparel industry’ in Mumbai on 10th Dec 2019. The Indian apparel and textile industry is rapidly growing its footprint and almost 60% of India’s textile production is consumed for the domestic population.
The conference was organized to engage the Indian apparel and textile players for the ZDHC initiative and create awareness and commitment for safer chemical management practices in textile production.
Over 200 delegates from local and global brands, textile, chemical companies and service providers came together to share experiences and exchange information on sustainable chemical management practices and challenges.
The keynote presentation was from Adam Brennan of C&A, who shared C&A’s journey from commitment to impact for safer chemical management in their supply chains. Panel discussions included topics such as:
- Leveraging sustainability for growth and competitive advantage in the fashion industry (panelists were from Indian brands such as Lifestyle, Arvind, Liva and Aditya Birla)
- Challenges and opportunities in the chemical management landscape: perspectives of different stakeholders (panelists were from Puma, Anugraha Fashion, Texport Syndicate, bluesign® and Huntsman)
- How can the chemical industry provide sustainable products? (Panelists were from Rossari, DyStar, Jay, Colourtex and Resil)
Other presentations included success stories in chemical management from Hohenstein, Lanxess and Nahar Group. There was also a presentation on ‘Product Safety norms and consumer redressal systems for the Indian consumer’.
The key learnings from the presentations and panel discussions were:
- The Indian apparel industry is at an ‘early stage’ in terms of sustainability and building a sustainable supply chain (This is an opportunity to do better things!)
- Leading apparel brands have realized the need to adopt sustainable chemical practices in the industry and are taking baby steps in this direction
- The bulk of the Indian chemical industry is quite aware of chemical restrictions and leading companies are ready to invest in R&D and marketing activities to develop sustainable products, but need support from apparel brands.
- The Indian consumer is woefully bereft of product safety redressal mechanisms, but the Consumer Protection Act of August 2019 passed by Parliament provides a ray of hope. ZDHC will proactively engage Indian apparel brands in the ZDHC Program and support them in their journey for sustainable chemistry.