Cambodia Investment Review

China and Cambodia Collaborate to Enhance Their Sustainable Garment Industry, Bolstering Global Supply Chains with CNTAC and GIZ FABRIC Support

China and Cambodia Collaborate to Enhance Their Sustainable Garment Industry, Bolstering Global Supply Chains with CNTAC and GIZ FABRIC Support

Cambodia Investment Review

A landmark meeting convened by the Sustainable Textiles of the Asian Region (STAR) Network and the Sustainable Terms of Trade Initiative (STTI), hosted by the China National Textile and Apparel Council (CNTAC) and GIZ FABRIC, has set a new course for sustainability in the global textile and garment industry. The event, held on November 15, emphasized the vital role of Asian economies, particularly Cambodia, in spearheading sustainable practices within the sector.

The gathering was marked by a significant address from CNTAC Vice President, Mr. Chen Dapeng, who stressed the need for international collaboration. “China’s textile and apparel industry, one of the earliest to adopt the ‘Going Global’ policy, has taken a significant step with the STAR Network, reflecting the ‘joint construction and sharing’ philosophy of China’s Belt and Road Initiative,” he stated. This sentiment was echoed throughout the event, highlighting the need for a unified approach to address the diverse challenges faced by the Asian textile and garment industry.

A Comprehensive Overview of STAR’s Recent Achievements

Thomas Hesketh, Head of STAR Secretariat, presented a comprehensive overview of STAR’s recent achievements and future plans. These included the network’s rebranding, its involvement in the Asia Garment Hub communications platform, upcoming position papers on Audit Fatigue, initiatives for renewable energy in supply chains, and newly developed Country Guides for each STAR member. The STAR Secretariat, strategically located in Cambodia, signifies the country’s increasing influence and commitment to leading the textile industry towards sustainable practices.

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Mr. Chen Dapeng further pointed out the various challenges, including environmental and social issues, structural imbalances, and governance gaps within the Asian textile sector. “The STAR Network represents a collective and timely solution to these challenges, advocating for shared yet differentiated responsibilities among value chain participants,” he remarked.

Opening of the Asian Dialogues Conference, 2023, In Dongguan, China.

The STAR Secretariat’s role, operational since its establishment by the GIZ FABRIC program in 2016, has been pivotal in strengthening the ties between the nine STAR associations. “This network is now ready to further amplify its voice on key industry sustainability challenges, thanks to the solid bonds among its members,” commented Thomas Hesketh. This progress, with Cambodia at the helm, is a testament to the country’s growing leadership in guiding the industry towards sustainable practices.

Industry Faces Increased Pressure to Reduce Environmental Impact

The event also highlighted the progress of the STTI, particularly in its 10th Working Group Meeting. Lisa Ramershoven, STTI’s Project Manager, detailed the achievements in Phase 3, including the development of grievance mechanisms, partnership agreements, and pilot projects with brands. These developments come as the industry faces increased pressure to reduce its environmental impact, influenced by consumer trends and strict regulations.

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GIZ FABRIC Project Director Marc Beckmann underscored the European Union’s influential role in this shift. “Initiatives like the EU Green Deal and the EU Textile Strategy are driving the fashion sector towards more sustainable production methods,” he noted. These policies aim to decrease the textile industry’s environmental footprint through the adoption of green technologies, sustainable materials, and closed-loop supply chain processes.

The joint efforts of the STAR Network and STTI, backed by the leadership of Cambodia, hosted by CNTAC and GIZ FABRIC, and includes associations from Pakistan, Myanmar, Vietnam and Bangladesh marking a critical juncture in the garment industry’s journey towards sustainability. As the sector adapts to new consumer demands and legislative frameworks, Cambodia’s and China’s leadership becomes increasingly central, shaping a future where the global textile industry operates in a more sustainable and equitable manner.

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