Garment industry goes green

March, 30/2022 - 10:00

Greening the garment industry is essential for the sector to fully exploit opportunities arising from the free trade agreements and participate deeply in global value chain, acccording to Việt Nam Garment and Apparel Association (VITAS).  

 

A fibre factory in Hòa Xá Industrial Zone, Nam Định Province. The garment and textile industry must be environmentally friendly. — VNA/VNS Photo Xuân Quảng

HÀ NỘI — Greening the garment industry is essential for the sector to fully exploit opportunities arising from free trade agreements and participate deeply in the global value chain, according to Việt Nam Garment and Apparel Association (VITAS).  

The association’s president Vũ Đức Giang said that most fashion brands in the US, Japan and the European Union (EU) were now more demanding on the quality of products, adding that many importers required the production to be friendly to the environment, such as through water-saving and not using coal.

They also required suppliers to use green and recycled materials to meet global consumer trends, meaning that manufacturers must be transparent in production and ensure product traceability, which was no longer an option but a mandatory requirement.

Giang said that the requirement to green the garment industry’s production chain was not new but became a pressing issue since the COVID-19 pandemic. Especially the Vietnamese Government’s commitment at the COP26 to achieve net-zero emission by 2050, which would push the garment industry to go green.  

“We joined in the global playing field, and we must comply. Compliance with the international commitments would bring advantages when we implement the signed new-generation free trade agreements,” Giang said.

Many enterprises had invested in upgrading the production lines to save water and be more energy-efficient and look for supplying sources of environmentally–friendly materials.  

Trần Hoàng Phú Xuân, general director of the Fashion Connection Joint Stock Company, which supplied the market with about eight million metres of finished fabric made from green materials, said that developing a sustainable environmentally-friendly fashion industry became an inevitable trend to spread the message of green living. Consumers now tend to use safe products for health and safety for the environment.

Although greening the garment supply chain is a trend, the investment was mostly in upgrading the production to save water or use solar energy, while little attention was paid to developing new environmentally–friendly materials, according to VITAS.

Xuân said that the problem that textile and garment enterprises faced in going green was high costs for switching to environmentally – friendly materials.

Việt Nam had an abundant source of raw materials such as coffee, coconut fibre, mint and lotus, which could be developed into high-value natural fibres, Xuân said.

According to Giang, it is necessary to improve the Law on Environment to ensure the appropriateness to global requirements and the situation in Việt Nam.

The Government should also develop industrial zones specialised for garment and textile production, which meet waste water treatment standards, Giang said.

The United Nations Environment Programme's findings show that the fashion industry produces between 2 to 8 per cent of global carbon emissions. Textile dyeing was also the second largest polluter of water globally.

Every second, the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles was landfilled or burned. If nothing changes, by 2050, the fashion industry will use up a quarter of the world’s carbon budget. Textiles were also estimated to account for approximately 9 per cent of annual microplastic losses to the ocean. — VNS