The “Germany Quality” is a well-known “slang” by many in the production countries, not only because of the good quality of German products, but also the high quality-level that German enterprises expect from their suppliers. Since the case of Rana Plaza in 2013, many Germany enterprises have, again, token the lead, in all kinds of ranking, to improve the social conditions in many production sites in Asian. We almost think, this could become a great tradition of German, for the next coming challenges.
As Greenpeace had especially set a DETOX ranking for the German supermarket giants in 2014, followed by preparation to challenge selected German Brands, big steps ahead compared to the global level, to improve the environmental condition in textile wet processing factories till 2020. But till now, no feedback shows that the German would become the global leader for environmental compliance. Not to mention the next new-coming goals for the next decade, such as circular economy, for textile business. Not only the Nordic countries, even UK, Holland and France are known for having put great effort to achieve this goal. But where is the Germany consensus on circular economy?
Different to CSR (cooperate social responsibility) work, which has a very strong focus on tier 1 producers, CER (cooperate environmental responsibility) and circular economy require a much deeper work along the supply chain (Tier 2 even 3 factories) and this work is totally knowledge-based.
The German businesspeople have been very straightforward with quality issues, which is not a bad thing, but analog relying on lab reports. And that is exactly the problem. A DETOX report show a clean result, but the dyeing mill is in bad conditions like those a hundred years ago, barely lighted, machines and ground are covered by dick film of different color and dirt, strong unpleasant smell, people handling chemicals without using glove. “But It does have a good report, so DETOX is fine.”, said a buying director. And he is not a single case. Most of them struggle a lot to come out of the old mindset, that tests are not all the ingredients in the CER work, but also, internal & external audits, capacity building work, the multi-stakeholder-projects aligned with science-based targets!!
GIZ has been doing great work in market research in different topics, environmental friendly dyeing technologies, circular economy etc., but implementation is the job of “partnership for Sustainable Textiles (also called Textilebündnis)”, who has finally brought out a yearly project in 2017 in several Asian countries, a training section called “Advanced Chemical Management Training”, which covers probably 1% of the wet processing factories in production countries, while I organized for my company similar program covering more than 10% of our factories, every year. Without going into details, but it is way too little to meet the necessary effect for a solid change!
It seems clearly, that we need a correct mainstream consensus and some efficient tools to reach a consensus to facilitate good and feasible solutions. Without that, we are still not far away from that starting point. It was great to have some German consultation firms on the market, who also provide services in CER in production countries, Systain, GoBlu, etc. But we might need more options, options that we develop together for us, powerful but cost-efficient. So, please leave some comment and tell me what you think. See ya around!
I think: They do not. We have a lot of pressure to making the supply socially sound and fair. But there is is neither pressure to measure the CO2-foortprint or any means of reducing emission or improve on chemical management.
The biggest problems lie in the challenge to make businesses find the best strategies without putting breaks on their business and suffer from being market-leader in sustainability. Being market leader in this regard has not the ROI that it deserves.