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Peru’s Path to Become the Most Sustainable Textile Manufacturing Market

Part of the appeal of producing garments in Peru comes from the homegrown natural fibers, including cotton and alpaca. And while these raw materials are attractive for their quality, they also boast strong sustainability credentials.

As Rizal Bragagnini, executive director of the Peru Textiles Exporters Association, explained, these fibers have the added benefit of durability. For instance, in tests, extra-long staple pima cotton retains its color through at least 140 wash cycles. If garments can last and look better for longer, their impact to the environment is lessened.

This is the message of Peru Textiles’ latest marketing campaign. With the tagline “Find the true value behind Peru Textiles,” the promotion invites buyers and shoppers to explore Peru’s sustainability and quality.

Peru Textiles is aiming to make its production even more sustainable. In 2020, the exporters association set out to make Peru the most sustainable apparel production market in the world. Bragagnini noted that this quest to be the leader in sustainability is a work in progress. During a recent discussion with Sourcing Journal founder and president Edward Hertzman, Bragagnini and Mario Ocharan, director of export promotion at tourism and trade agency PromPeru, detailed the efforts underway to move Peru’s apparel sector in this direction, including renewable energy sources and carbon reduction.

“Transparency is better than perfection right now, and we’re still not the most sustainable chain in the world. But we want to be,” said Bragagnini.

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One of Peru’s sustainability activities is the adoption of regenerative agriculture practices for cotton, assuring that the crop has no negative impact on the land. To compensate for an arid climate, Peru is also using amunas, which are reservoirs that collect rainwater in the hills to use in irrigation.

In alpaca, Peru is focused on aspects like animal welfare and environmental responsibility. Working with academic institutions and leveraging information from standards such as the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Higg Index and Textile Exchange, Peru is studying the lifecycle analysis of alpaca and developing protocols for animal treatment.

“[For alpaca], the Peru brand sticks to a position that it’s an exclusive and luxury brand that raised its production chain and that proposes an offer with the highest quality standards,” said Ocharan.

A key pillar of Peru’s sustainability is social responsibility. Vertical supply chains give manufacturers and the brands they work with greater visibility into the working conditions at each stage of production. This protects the 700,000 people working in the garment sector, as well as their families.

Click the image above to watch the video to hear more about Peru Textiles’ sustainability initiatives and how the nation is building a more responsible alpaca and cotton supply chain.

This is the second video in a two-part series. Watch the first video here.