PHDCCI organise the 2nd Sustainable Textiles Summit

PHDCCI organise the 2nd Sustainable Textiles Summit

Initiatives such as the Kasturi Cotton Initiative was stressed at the event.

Prajakta L Verma, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, underscored the imperative of traceability, recycling, and the promotion of sustainable practices within the textile industry during her address at the 2nd Sustainable Textiles Summit organised by PHDCCI in New Delhi

Highlighting the pivotal shift towards sustainability and circularity in the textile sector, Verma emphasised the critical role of forums like the Sustainable Textiles Summit in bringing key issues to the forefront. She shed light on the paradoxical nature of the textile industry, being the second-largest global employer yet also ranking as the second most environmentally polluting sector.

While acknowledging on-going efforts to align the sector with sustainability standards, Verma identified key areas for enhancement. Traceability, exemplified by initiatives such as the Kasturi Cotton Initiative, was stressed as a foundational step. Public procurement emerged as a crucial factor to enhance visibility for upcycled and circular products. Addressing the challenge of textile waste management, Verma advocated for a dual approach of recycling and upcycling, proposing pilot projects with support from organisations like PHDCCI to create tailored solutions.

Verma concluded by calling for increased awareness and compliance with Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles, emphasising the importance of distinguishing between fear-driven compliance and genuine concern for workers. She also provided insights into on-going efforts, including an upcoming scheme focused on sustainability and circularity, targeting capacity building for MSMEs and awareness creation. This scheme involves stakeholder consultations, resource efficiency assessments, and budgetary interventions, with a suggestion to align with the World Bank’s RAMP initiative for the inclusion of Indian MSMEs.

In her multifaceted approach, Verma sought collaboration and assistance from PHDCCI in navigating challenges and promoting sustainable practices within the textile sector.

Madhu Sudhan Bhageria, Chairman of the PHDCCI Textiles Committee and Chairman and Managing Director of Filatex India, highlighted the pivotal role of Target Initiatives in empowering Indian textile companies amid the global shift towards sustainability. Urging the Ministry of Textiles to consider PHDCCI’s recommendations, he stressed the importance of financial support and tax initiatives for sustainability. His plea encompassed the establishment of dedicated R&D grants to support investments in sustainable technology, material innovation, and circular solutions. Bhageria further advocated for the enforcement of eco-friendly practices, such as organic cotton cultivation, water conservation measures, and responsible waste management.

Additionally, Bhageria proposed investments in green certification programs and the promotion of recognised certifications for sustainable textiles. Focusing on transparency, consumer trust, and awareness, he suggested launching education campaigns to inform consumers about the benefits of sustainable textiles. Bhageria expressed confidence that implementing these recommendations would position the Ministry of Textiles as a key player in propelling the Indian textile industry towards a sustainable future, enhancing competitiveness, creating green jobs, and contributing to a healthier environment. He also urged the Ministry to play an active role in fostering a thriving and sustainable textile sector in India.

Dr (Prof) Abhijit Majumdar, Institute Chair of the Department of Textile and Fibre Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, underscored the immense scale of the textile industry, amounting to a $ 1,700 billion sector responsible for emitting 8 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gases and utilising 4 per cent of global freshwater withdrawal. He drew attention to the concerning trend of doubled clothing production coupled with a 36 per cent reduction in the average number of times a garment is worn.

Discussing strategies for a triple-helix approach, Dr Majumdar outlined recommendations for the textile & clothing industry, including designing for longevity and recycling, fostering consumer awareness, and collaboration with sorting and recycling agencies. He emphasised research and development in chemical recycling and automated sorting. For academia, he suggested focusing on less energy-intensive technologies, renewable fibres, circular business revenue models, and the social impact of circular practices in the textile and clothing curriculum. Dr Majumdar called for long-term R&D funding for automatic sorting and recycling technologies.

Engaging with the government, he recommended subsidising the high costs of circularity, providing tax rebates, making recycled fibers competitive, promoting public procurement of circular textiles, and launching awareness programs to reduce consumption. Dr. Abhijit emphasised the importance of a comprehensive and collaborative approach to address the environmental impact of the textile industry.

During the session, other prominent speakers made presentations were Debabrata Ghosh, Vice President & Sales Director, Oerlikon Textile India, Anil Jadhav, Regional Director, South Asia & Middle East, Ecocert; Abhishek Jani, CEO, Fairtrade India; Dr Srikanta K Panigrahi, Director General, Indian Institute of Sustainable Development (IISD) & Former Secretary, Govt of India and Vineet Kumar, CEO, KVIC.

The 2nd Sustainable Textiles Summit received sponsorship from Oerlikon, Ecocert, and Filatex India as an Associate Partner. Fairtrade & CSM served as the Delegate Kit Partner, and the event garnered support from the Polyester Textile Apparel Industry Association and C&R Textiles.

Finally, the Vote of Thanks was presented by R K Vij, Co-Chair of the PHDCCI Textile Committee and Secretary General of the Polyester Textile Apparel Industry Association.

The day-long Summit witnessed about 25 speakers, and over 250 delegates attended the Summit. The moderation of the Summit was done by Rakesh Kumar Sangrai, Director, PHDCCI.

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