Green rules pose new challenges to Vietnam’s garment, textile industries

HANOI: Greening the garment and textile production is no longer an option for the multi-billion-dollar industry but a must in the context of increasing requirements for sustainability around the world, experts say.

Many garment-importing countries were taking action for sustainable and circular textiles.

The European Commission was calling for an end to fast fashion by 2030 with the Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textile which set eco-design rules, starting with textiles.

Accordingly, by 2030 textiles placed in the European Union, the world’s largest market for garment products, should be long–lived and recyclable.

“There is no other way for the garment and textile industry of Vietnam if it does not want to be excluded from the global game,” Le Tien Truong, chairman of Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex), said.

According to a recent report about the garment and textile market by STS Group, the global garment and textile market was worth around US$573.22bil (RM2.5 trillion) in 2022 and Vietnam was among major exporters of garment and textile products, together with China, India, Bangladesh and Turkiye which altogether accounted for more than 55% of the world’s garment export value.

The global garment and textile market was forecast to grow at 6.6% this year to reach US$610.9bil (RM2.7 trillion).

Despite impressive growth, the garment and textile industry was the second-most-polluting industry in the world, which dumped around 90 million tonnes of waste into the environment per year on average, the report pointed out.

Nguyen Thanh Ngan from Vinatex cited statistics that the global garment and textile industry consumed up to 79 billion cubic metres of water per year. Around 2,700 litres of water was consumed for the production of a T-shirt, enough for a person to drink for 2.5 years.

In addition, the washing which dumped microplastics from synthetic fibres into the environment also caused pollution.

Going green is vital for Vietnam’s garment and textile industry in the context of increasing requirements for sustainability, Nguyen Huu Nam, deputy director of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ho Chi Minh City branch, said.

Major importing countries were setting requirements for social responsibility, environmentally friendly production and circular production with the lowest energy and natural resource consumption.

However, STS Group said that the opportunities were there for those who took early steps towards sustainable and circular production and there was a huge potential market for recyclable products.

The recyclable garment market was estimated at US$6.9bil (RM31bil) in 2022 and expected to reach US$9.4bil (RM42bil) in 2027 with an annual growth rate of 6.4% in the period.

Nguyen Hong Quan, director of the Institute for Circular Economy Development, said sustainable development was increasingly the choice of consumers. — Viet Nam News/ANN

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