A REEEP-funded project on greening the textile supply chain is contributing case studies to the Textile Industry Sustainability Platform (TISP), a new web resource to help Chinese factories, apparel brands and their partners to understand energy efficiency.
For many apparel and fabric factories in East Asia, energy is the third largest cost after labour and raw materials. With fuel and electricity prices rising, energy efficiency offers an increasingly attractive source for cost reductions. At the same time, major international brands such as Levi Strauss, Adidas, H&M and GAP are incorporating sustainability into their supplier evaluations.
Against this background, a project by Azure International has used REEEP funding to implement a comprehensive supplier energy efficiency programme for 13 factories in China.
Azure is providing several case studies to the new TISP, highlighting how REEEP funding helped three different textile factories achieve considerable savings in their energy costs.
The aim of this new portal is to make a convincing case for energy efficiency by:
- Promoting the business case for energy efficiency
- Introducing energy management
- Describing typical energy efficiency measures
- Showing examples what textile firms are doing for energy efficiency
The TISP portal is a development of a previous energy efficiency guide funded by New Look Ltd and with support from CSR Asia. Seven apparel brands have collaborated to fund TISP and three consultancy companies have provided content.
Beyond the TISP portal, the Azure project is also leading to other knock-on effects. Li and Fung is a leading Hong Kong-headquartered multinational group, recognised as a global leader in consumer goods design, development, sourcing and distribution. The company asked Azure to deliver a lecture on the project at a recent Capacity Building Seminar for 60 core suppliers.
And now the project resonance is also widening beyond China. At the Global Compliance Summit in Suzhou in September 2012, where industry leaders from some 45 different brands shared thoughts on how to improve factory conditions with their suppliers, Azure presented the greening the supply chain initiative. More than 400 attendees from 18 countries attended the event.
“Without the seed money that REEEP provided for our project, we wouldn’t have been able to design a successful blueprint for raising the awareness and capacity of textile suppliers,” notes Jenny Chu of Azure. “During the course of our project almost a third of the participating suppliers were able to reduce their annual energy consumption by at least ten per cent. And now, we’re having an inspirational effect far beyond the original scope of the project.”