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30 November 2020

Fabric reels

An online discussion was held on 18 November 2020 on a Just Transition in the Textile Sector in China, co-hosted by ILO and CNTAC under PAGE and in partnership with the ILO-SIDA regional project on Decent Work in Garment Supply Chains in Asia. The online discussion built on the work and established partnerships of PAGE, ILO and CNTAC, with the aim to collect actionable data on the impact of COVID-19 on the sector, identify and prioritize interventions for recovery and re-structuring, and develop a process for multi-stakeholder engagement and capacity building for a Just Transition through social dialogue. The activity also contributes to the UN Climate Action for Jobs Initiative.

Fabric reels

“The COVID-19 pandemic caused immense social and economic impacts on the textile and garment sector in Asia and the Pacific, affecting millions of workers and enterprises”, said Mr Dai Xiaochu, Deputy Director, ILO Country Office for China and Mongolia at the opening. “This on-going crisis provides an opportunity for the industry to revisit the weaknesses of the current supply chain model, and to start a restructure process taking into full consideration the interdependence between social, environmental, technological and economic dimensions. The green recovery of China’s textile and garment sector will also make significant contribution to the achievement of the ambitious goal set by President Xi at the 75th UN General Assembly to reach the carbon emission peak by 2030 and carbon neutralization by 2060.” 

Ms LIU Hui, Ms LIU Hui, Deputy Director of Office for Social Responsibility, CNTAC, pointed out that as the world’s largest textile producer and exporter, China is seriously impacted by the pandemic. A large number of overseas orders has been cancelled and the enterprises face serious default risk, especially in the first quarter. The integrated nature of the national supply chain enhanced the sector’s resilience. The pandemic is changing the production model of the sector.  

CNTAC has organized online trade fairs and information exchanges. Many companies switched to online distributions and innovations, smart manufacturing and ecommerce. The textile and garment sector is a labour-intensive, key livelihood sector engaging many rural women migrant workers. CNTAC calls on the international communities to strengthen cooperation and object trade protectionism to build back better across the global supply chain, e.g. by issuing a joint declaration with the textile associations in other Asian countries to call on the international brands to promote corporate responsibility and responsible procurement. Ms Liu further introduced the prospects and pathway to realize the sustainable development of the sector toward an innovation-driven technology industry, culture-led fashion industry and responsibility-oriented green industry, making effective contribution to the global green recovery for the textile and garment sector.  

Dr Cristina Martinez, ILO Senior Specialist for Environment & Decent Work introduced the framework for Achieving a Just transition and the Climate Action for Jobs Initiative.  Dr Samantha Sharpe, Research Director, Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney, and Textile Eco-innovation Network in Asia (TERN) Convenor, introduced the global perspectives of the pandemic’s impact and emphasized the importance of collaboration and dialogue among key actors in the transition. The presentations put the national discussion into a broader context of a green recovery for the textile and garment sector across the global supply chain.  

The discussion enhanced the participants’ understanding of the complex challenges and opportunities in promoting Just Transition and Green Jobs for the sector in the sustainable post-COVID-19 recovery process. It provided the participants an opportunity to analyse and discuss the on-going issues of the sector’s transition toward environmental sustainability, share good practices and lessons learned, and review the effectiveness of current approaches in light of international experiences and standards. The discussion also contributed to the on-going efforts for developing sound national policies and practices on promoting a green transition for the textile and garment sector in China. 

Participants from the private and public sector provided very positive feedback to the discussion with efficient moderation, high-quality speeches and presentations, and well-organized flexible structure. They found it a “real discussion” which broadened their horizons and showed interest in continued engagement in relevant following dialogues and activities. As the first dialogue under the online ‘Just Transition in the Textile and Garment Sector in Asia’ Discussion series, the China dialogue served as a feedback facility to reflect different stakeholders’ perspectives and enhanced multi-stakeholder cooperation and partnership in jump-starting a green recovery for the textile and garment sector in China and beyond.  

This dialogue will be followed by further activities with CNTAC as part of international cooperation for a Just Transition of the garment sector in China and Chinese enterprises in other Asian countries. 

 

Annex: 

PAGE China_CN + Final Agenda Just Transition in Textile Sector China 

Contacts: 

Dr Cristina Martinez martinezc@ilo.org  

Mr QIAN Chengchen chengchen.qian@un.org 

Dr Samantha Sharpe Samantha.sharpe@uts.edu.au 

Ms PEI Hongye pei@iloguest.org 

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