The Chinese garment sector was told by a panel of expert policy planners, politicians, business executives, academics and government representatives, that it needs to reduce carbon emissions and develop a circular economy.
A circular economy is defined as conserving resources through optimum use. It is environmentally friendly and responsible, with sound waste management measures and diligent recycling procedures.
The message to China’s garment industry included a call to circulate emissions from one business to another for maximum energy conservation and efficiency. It came at a round-table conference of the 12th Five-Year Plan held recently in Beijing.
The conference was organized by the International Energy Conservation Environmental Protection Association (IEEPA), in association with the International Cooperation Center of National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) the All-China Association of Industry & Commerce and China’s Textile & Garment Chamber of Commerce.
China’s apparel manufacturing has been growing at an annual rate of more than ten percent, though it has begun to slow as wages have risen. Emissions have been increasing accordingly.
A majority of the nation’s garment factories are not environmentally responsible, using large amounts of natural resources and dumping waste material into the environment.
Besides reducing carbon emissions, China’s garment sector was also asked to address problems of recycling used clothing. New technologies for recycling used clothing are now being deployed in many developed economies, and Chinese apparel makers were urged to learn from their experience in this area.
A statement issued by the 16th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2002, which still guides the nation’s ongoing efforts to pursue a circular economy, said “Development based on the circular economy will be essential for China to reach an overall well-off society by sustaining fast-paced economic growth while mitigating negative ecological impact and creating more job opportunities.”