Targeted Training in Jiangsu Helps Textile Companies Improve Sustainability along Value Chains

12-13 September 2017, Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China - The Environment and Trade Hub, under the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE), and in collaboration with the Research Institute for Global Value Chains, International Trade Centre (ITC) and Suzhou Bureau of Commerce, organized a two-day training in Suzhou, on Sustainable Textile Trade and Global Value Chains.

The training targeted local textile producers and exporters, as well as retailers and policymakers. More than 50 entrepreneurs and supply chain managers from Wuzhong, Guosu, Xiangcheng, Kunshan, Wujiang, Zhangjiagang, Changshu joined the training. Training agenda was tailored to local demand and interest, and covered topics such as global textile trade and value chain development, voluntary sustainability standards, non-tariff measures for textile trade, clean production in textile industry, and corporate social responsibility in textile supply chains. Special thematic sessions were organized focusing on chemical use, water, and energy in textile value chains, as well as labor aspects, competitiveness of SMEs, gender and women empowerment. Experts from international organizations, national agencies and NGOs shared their tools, resources, and insights. Companies also had a chance to share experience and good practice, such as investing in green innovation, applying low-carbon production method and circular economy approaches, engaging employees and suppliers in managing sustainability, improving the resource efficiency of water and raw materials, as well as disclosing environmental information and improving transparency in chemicals.

The training was supported by the Environmental Protection Department of Jiangsu Province, Department of Commerce of Jiangsu Province, Trade Development Bureau of Ministry of Commerce of China, China National Textile And Apparel Council (CNTAC), International Labor Organization (ILO), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), China National Cleaner Production Centre (CNCPC), China Association for Standardization (CAS), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC),China WTO Tribune, Sino-Swedish Corporate Social Responsibility Website, and China-Germany Centre for Sustainable Development.

37 enterprises participated in the training, 80% of which engage in the textile & apparel production and exports, including upstream and downstream industries, such as fiber, dyeing, weaving, garment making and other production processes. In terms of size, more than half of the participant companies are large-sized enterprises, including leading garment and clothing producers in China, such as Bosideng Group and Hengli Group. 13% were medium-sized enterprises and 30% small enterprises and start-ups. In the group discussion session, participating enterprises were divided into six groups. Group representatives from Suzhou Renli Weaving Co.Ltd, Suzhou Xinshen Group Co.Ltd, Suzhou Hexiang Textile Co.Ltd, Jiangsu Shenghong Group Co.Ltd, Jiangsu Jingcheng textile Co.Ltd, ChangshuXinxinjingweibian Co.Ltd, Suzhou Yibeicleaning Co.Ltd presented key conclusions from their group discussion and shared views on greening textile trade and value chains.

The training created high enthusiasm from participating companies. Participants learned about the basic principles and trends in sustainable trade and global value chains for textile products, as well as tools and approaches to managing sustainability along textile value chains.

About the Sustainable Textile Trade and Global Value Chains project in Jiangsu:

The textile industry is one of the pillar industries in Jiangsu and has been playing an important role in Jiangsu’s economy, exports, industrial upgrading, as well as its transition to an Inclusive Green Economy. Jiangsu is also one of the leading provinces in China in textile production and export, taking up around 20% of total textile exports in China. The Development Plan for Textile Industry in Jiangsu released in 2016 outlined main objects and focus areas for development of textile industry in the period of the 13th Five Year Plan. It highlighted the importance of the green and sustainable development of the textile industry and the opportunities arising from upgrading export structure while moving up along the global value chains. Under this context, the Environment and Trade Hub, in partnership with the Research Institute of Global Value Chains initiated a project to improve the capacity of textile companies in Jiangsu Province to better understand the sustainable trade and value chain development opportunities in the textile sector. It will assist Jiangsu’s efforts in the transition towards an Inclusive Green Economy and achieve its goals about industrial upgrading and green development as outlined in the provincial 13th Five Year Plan. 

About Environment and Trade Hub of UN Environment

Launched in 2015, the Environment and Trade Hub serves as the overarching delivery mechanism for UN Environment’s work on trade. As a demand-driven mechanism, the Environment and Trade Hub offers capacity building and related policy advice on sustainable trade and investment that are tailored to local needs and circumstances. Its mission is to enable countries to use trade and investment as vehicles for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

For more information, please visit here.

About the Research Institute for Global Value Chains, please click here.