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Sustainability and Sustainable Consumption Are Not Fads, Say Speakers At Prime Source Forum In Hong Kong

Sustainability and sustainable consumption were among the major topics discussed at this year’s Prime Source Forum in Hong Kong.

Held in the ballroom of the Sheraton Hong Kong, the Prime Source Forum drew visitors from many of the world’s largest retailers, importers, brand representatives, garment sellers and sourcing executives.

Among the exhibitors were buying agents, apparel manufacturers, logistic and supply train managers, trade facilitators, compliance officers and consultants with various specialties serving the textile and garment industries.

Issues of sustainability were of paramount interest to confreres and were addressed by several speakers at the two-day forum.

The sustainability challenge “…is not a fad, it’s here to stay,” said Edwin Keh, CEO of the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel.

“The challenge for us is that transparency is going to be very important in the supply chain, and to earn the trust of consumers we need to do this right,” he said.

Reinforcing that opinion was Kevin Burke, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association.

“Sustainability is more than compliance, it’s about being a good steward along the supply chain; it has to be a race to the top,” he said.  “The challenge is defining what sustainability means to the industry and how we can work towards it, collaboratively and globally.”

Among the firms in the forefront of sustainability initiatives is H&M, the second-largest fashion retailer in Europe. H&M has employed a restricted substance policy, initiated a water conservation program, and has launched a global recycling program for in-store clothing collection.

Other major issues discussed at the forum included forecasts of the supply chain model in the coming decade, adding value to the supply chain, global sourcing strategy and the emergence of fast-developing countries, and success and succession — How will the next generation of owners take their family business forward.