Mickaël Cotte tel.: +33 (0)1 55 26 61 29 mobile: +33 (0)6 77 63 47 55 PRESS RELEASE • 2
9 - 12 February 2015
9 - 12 February 2015 2
Responsability in the Textile Supply Chain
The textile and clothing industry has reorganised itself internationally, both in terms of production and in terms of more responsible practices, in view of the upheavals of recent years. Many players in the sector are committing themselves to a more ethical industry. Every brand has adopted a policy of sustainability and a mode of operation for responsible production.
At Texworld in Paris this September, Messe Frankfurt invited to a panel discussion on reliability in the textile supply chain, as “lowest cost sourcing” seems no longer the mantra of the business. More companies value proximity, risk reduction, fast stock replenishment (as Inditex does bring back manufacturing to Europe and northern Africa) and socially sustainable working conditions. Lower energy cost from fracking has brought the US back on the sourcing map of the industry.
Experts from SAC – Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Santanderina, a Spain based manufacturing company and Lenzing, a cellulose fiber manufacturer laid out their perspectives and showed how the industry can change if the players think different.
Michael Scherpe, CEO of Messe Frankfurt France, and Marie-Armelle de Bouteiller, Texworld’s Show Manager, discussed with Jason Kibbey (JK), SAC, Juan Pares (JP), Santanderina, and Lorenz Wied (LW), Lenzing AG
Q: As the organizer of Texworld, Messe Frankfurt
sees more and more companies cooperating to create shorter and more transparent supply chains to bring products to the market. What are the critical factors for the industry to balance the cost vs. responsibility relation?
J.K.: what we see from our members, which
reprsent around 40% of the apparel and footwear industry is, that global sourcing is moving into the direction of a more holistic approach, than classic sourcing activities. SAC is working on a
-global independent and holistic self-assessment that measures environmental and social impacts in the apparel and footwear industry to produce no unnecessary environmental harm and has a positive impact on the people and communities associated with it’s activities.
The critical factors are that it needs the entire value chain, has to include systems and in general means less. What we want to be is a positive catalyst to make the journey for the players easier to join.
J.P.: It is not a question of cost, it is a matter
of the mind. It needs the implementation of a different management system for cleaner, less energy consuming processes, a strict control of procedures and a consequent certification of products. It’s about products, people and the environment. People need to be put first, second is the money.
L.W.: What we see is a constant downgrading of
quality through ever-ongoing price negotiations in the entire supply chain. This is the source of non-socially sustainable working conditions and the discussion is getting more intense about these issues. But this is the wrong discussion. The big cost in the supply chain is not salaries for manufacturing. It’s logistics, handling, marketing and discounts on retail level and on manufacturing level for left-overs from huge production lots. We need to stop balancing interests between companies, society and environment. What we need to do is to avoid cost wherever we can and create shared values among partners in the value chain. Otherwise we will deteriorate the whole industry.
Q: What is the difference between existing labels,
certificates and processes to prove sustainability?
J.K.: most initiatives are not global, are
concerning only one or two dimensions and are not globally used by dominant players. That’s why consumers are confused and do not find their way through the jungle of labels. SAC is offering a self-assessment. So each and everyone can enter their own data and see the results from an independent perspective for facilities, brands, products, packaging, transport, end of life, use & service, manufacturing, land-use, social and on
9 - 12 February 2015 4
environmental aspects. This is a holistic approach, where people can use their existing data and do not need to do the same thing again.
L.W.: We should have a reference point where
producing and consuming countries can understand what does a specific result mean, without the need to translate, to harmonize or to nationalize. Otherwise we are wasting more money for not getting what consumers really want. They want transparency, socially fair conditions and environmentally sound products. Not 100% tomorrow. They want to see that no more Bangladesh – tragedies are happening and that rivers are not turning into colored waters because of missing water filtration or recycling technologies.
Q: Is this only an industry topic or do consumers
really pay more for a reliable and sustainable product?
J.P.: From 2009 – 2014, the inquiries of a big
search engine increased by 83% to 1.000 Millions. This is huge. People want it, but it is difficult for them to find the products. It is the beginning of an interesting journey. And we can achieve the same results in any country of the world in a meaningful way. It’s the managers who need to manage it. And internet is a great media to show who is already well on the way in this journey.
Q: What is your view on continental sourcing? L.W.: Well, two aspects made capacities shift
back. One is the economic aspect that continental sourcing is less time, cost and risk intensive. The other is the pure cost aspect of energy in the US from fracking. This is certainly a big change for the entire supply chain making Central America a really good sourcing area for North America. The third aspect is that the shift from cost driven sourcing to creation of sound value chains is improving products, stimulating innovation, and creating the basis for a transparent supply chain, which is what consumers really want to see. They want to know if the product is ok or not.
J.P.: the apparel business is a fast business,
because it has to do with fashion trends and colors. This means a close supply chain is reducing the overall risk from fiber to the consumer.
Q: What is your experience on transparency in the
L.W.: this is an important aspect. As we want to
know where our food is coming from and we want to know what skincare products we are putting onto our skin, we also want to know where our clothes and shoes are made and under what circumstances. This is an area where consumers and NGOs will be much more critical in the future.
The next Texworld will take place from Monday 9 to Thursday 12 Feburary 2015, at Paris Le Bourget. For information on all Messe Frankfurt textile fairs worldwide, please visit:
Background information on Messe Frankfurt
Messe Frankfurt is one of the world’s leading trade show organisers with around 543* million euros in sales and 2,026* employees worldwide. The Messe Frankfurt Group has a global network of 28 subsidiaries and approx. 50 international Sales Partners, giving it a presence for its customers in more than 150 countries. Events “made by Messe Frankfurt” take place at more than 30 locations around the globe. In 2013, Messe Frankfurt organised 114* trade fairs, of which more than half took place outside Germany.Messe Frankfurt’s exhibition grounds, featuring 578,000 square metres, are currently home to ten exhibition halls and an adjacent Congress Center. The company is publicly owned, with the City of Frankfurt holding 60 percent and the State of Hesse 40 percent.
For more information, please visit our website at: www.messefrankfurt.com