Green Conservancy: Foreword by Chief Executive
February 7, 2013

I am pleased to introduce the Sustainable Apparel Manufacturing Framework that aims to put our members on the world map of sustainability excellence.

Internationally, sustainability has become an integral part of doing business responsibly. There is a growing recognition that businesses need to align their economic interests with social and environmental responsibility to create sustainable value for their shareholders.

The global fashion retail industry, which traditionally focussed more on labour standards compliance in the supply chain, has started adopting a wider sustainability programme. Though upholding high labour standards remains absolutely important, new areas for attention include energy, greenhouse gas emissions, water use, wastewater, waste, toxicity of chemicals, and the way resources are used.

Life Cycle Analysis approach is gaining more attention. This means brands will be expected to assess the impact of their products throughout the life cycle of a product. For example, reducing the impact of cotton farming on the one hand and minimizing the impact from customer-use of clothing items will all be on the active agenda.

Over the past few years, leading brands have launched their individual initiatives to address these emerging issues. More recently, brands and key industry players have joined hands to develop a collective response to sustainability issues. Sustainable Apparel Coalition is one such example.
At the same time a plethora of new standards in the wider realm of sustainability have emerged addressing varied issues including energy, greenhouse gas emissions, water, green building, eco-certifications, and reporting. An effective sustainability programme needs to draw on many of these standards and guidelines. This in turn calls for allocating more resources and a sharp learning curve for an industry like ours.

What do these developments mean for the manufacturers and suppliers? They need to embrace sustainable manufacturing practices to remain relevant in the changing industry landscape. More important is to take a proactive approach in order to stay competitive. Sustainability performance will be key criteria to attract and retain customers.

But the challenge for most manufacturers and suppliers is to ramp up capabilities needed to understand and effectively address key sustainability issues without jeopardizing their cost competitiveness.
It only complicates the situation that as of now there is no single sustainability framework that apparel and textile manufacturers can refer to.

It’s here that TaFf will play a game changing role. For example, we decided to hire a sustainability expert to help us develop a sustainable apparel manufacturing framework that our members can rely on. This framework is not static. It would continue to evolve to stay current, and to align with new initiatives that brands are developing. We will do this by actively engaging with brands, manufacturers, experts and other stakeholders.

I would like to particularly thank the International Enterprise Singapore for providing the much needed support and encouragement for developing a comprehensive Green Manufacturing programme for the Singapore apparel and textile industry. This framework is a result of their support and trust in us.

Doreen Tan
Chief Executive
TaFf

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