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Stakeholders Roundtable Meeting on Organic Textiles in Yuli

2016-10-27 17:08:38    

 

In the afternoon of September 19, the “Stakeholders Roundtable Meeting on Organic Textiles”, hosted by China National Textile and Apparel Council (CNTAC) and the Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS), and organized by the Office for Social Responsibility of CNTAC, China Textile Information Center, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Yuli County People’s Government, opened in Yuli County, Xinjiang.
 
Mr. Liu Zhaobin, Vice President of the China Association for Quality Promotion and former Chief Engineer and Director General of the Department of Policies, General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, Mr. Herbert Ladwig, Global Managing Director of GOTS, Mr. Wang Bo, member of the Standing Committee of CPC Yuli County Committee and Executive Deputy County Chief, Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and other guests attended the meeting and delivered speech. The meeting also invited representative frontline brands including H&M, ZARA, PUMA, Li Ning, etc to attend. This Roundtable Meeting was presided over by Ms. Yan Yan, Deputy Director of China Textile Information Center, and Deputy Director of the Office for Social Responsibility of CNTAC.
 
Foundation and Prerequisite of “Organic”
As one of the organizers and the holding place of this meeting, Yuli County is a state-level “Premium Commodity Cotton Base County”, and also a “Double 100 Catty Ginned Cotton County” in the Autonomous Region. According to Mr. Wang Bo, since 1984, this county has 32 years of cotton-planting history, in 2016 its planting scale reached 1.12 million mu, over the years cotton industry in Yuli County insisted on refined and mechanical eco-friendly development route, tried to use less or even none low-toxicity high-efficiency pesticides, and continually expanded UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) planting protection area. “Yuli pioneered farmland old mulch film county-wide integrated governance in the entire Xinjiang region, and incorporated old mulch film recycling and reuse into the government’s target assessment contents, progressively developed virtuous cycle in usage, recycling, processing, and re-use, which effectively controlled ‘White Pollution’.”
 
Mr. Liu Zhaobin has long been a participant and promoter of organic undertakings; he said, disadvantages brought by pesticide usage to the environment include: Sealing of soil, contamination of underground water source, food chain, and damage of eco balance. The demand for organic products originating from the 1970’s has become global trend. Vigorously developing organic industry not only can improve enterprise competitiveness, but also can protect soil, water source and ecology. Mr. Liu Zhaobin also pointed out that, standardization and law-based control constitute foundation and prerequisite of developing organic products. China unveiled standards for organic products and management methods for organic products in 2004 and 2014 respectively. China’s amendment of standardization laws has approached maturity, it will expand the scope of organic products, the standard of social organization will also possess clear-cut legal standing.
 
Mr. Herbert Ladwig, the co-convenor of this Roundtable Meeting, put forward the “Brand Quality Concept”, if we wish to turn the dream of ecological civilization and sustainable production into reality, then we must completely transform the public’s awareness toward “Fine Quality” concept: Although usually “Fine Quality” of one piece of clothing refers to features such as refined fiber, body fitting, pleasant color, and durability, a few consumers and manufacturers have come to notice the manufacture conditions for clothing that exert impact on environment and relevant personnel. In other words, more and more consumers have endorsed the view that product’s sustainable production method will also become an important component in its self image identification.
 
According to relevant data, 60%~70% organic cotton worldwide is used in China, which is mainly used to manufacture organic textiles; whereas sales of organic textiles mainly happens in the United States and EU, sales in China accounts for less than 20%. By March 26, 2015, China has 12,895 valid certificates for organic products, including only 13 organic textile certificates; its percentage is merely 1‰. Besides, most organic textiles being granted certification are intermediate products, such as ginned cotton, yarn, woven cloth and fabrics etc, final products with certification such as underwear, baby & child products and towels only weigh 316 tonnes.
 
Standards with International Applicability
Ms. Peng Yanli, Deputy Secretary-General and Director of the Department of Science & Technology of CNTAC, shared CNTAC work in association standards. For many years in the past, CNTAC carried out effective work in the aspects of textile standard system construction, compilation of international & domestic standard, and accumulated rich experience, which gives it advantageous conditions for promoting association standards. “CNTAC association standards are the main component of market standard system in textile industry, its compilation guideline adheres to the directions of market orientation, system optimization, coordination and supporting, alignment with international practice, and openness and mass innovation.”
 
Mr. Herbert Ladwig said that textile garment industry is a global industry. Therefore, standards catering to this industry must possess international applicability. Standards co-compiled or coordinated by international stakeholders can help ensure wider global recognition degree ——e.g. GOTS, GOTS is global standard for stringent voluntary compliance related to garments and household textiles made of organic fiber including yarn spinning, knitting, weaving, dyeing, and manufacture. Up till now, over 4000 enterprises from over 60 countries and regions worldwide have passed this certification, including 200 in China. Compared to pure national standards, international standards in such category also will help remove obstacles in international trade. Mr. Herbert Ladwig said in order to explore and study how to eliminate obstacles for China in the process of adopting global standards, CNTAC and GOTS specially held the Roundtable Meeting. He considered that, if China can successfully adopt global standards, it will not only avoid double burden of domestic and international certification for Chinese textile enterprises, but also expand development opportunities in its domestic market. “It can promote the setup of an organic textile alliance involving all attending stakeholders, provide expertise, capital support and exert its influence.”
 
According to Mr. Hu Kehua, Deputy Director of the Office for Social Responsibility of CNTAC, currently widely applied organic standards in the global context are organic standards in EU, US and Japan, and these three regions have signed mutual recognition agreement for organic products. Up till now, China has not signed formal equivalency agreement with any other country, what’s more China is the only country which enforces organic product certification catalogue system, this also greatly hampers China’s progress to seek mutual recognition with other countries. Today, mutual recognition of organic standards is very common around the globe, if certification results of certification organizations in different countries can be mutually recognized; it will bring benefits to certification organizations and manufacturers & operators in developing countries to certain degree.
 
“China’s standard system is confusingly numerous and sometimes even mutually contradictory, conflicts in same-category standards from multiple interest holders often bring unnecessary cost and trouble to the supply chain, in chemical control field, we will also propel government, industry and supply chain to engage in standard dialogue, coordination and integration in this aspect, this is also a very challenging work, and requires joint wisdom and strength from all sides.” Mr. Hu Kehua said.
 
Mr. Tian Lixin, General Manager of Beijing LeFang Textile Co., Ltd, Mr. Ma Jianhua, Director for System Management of Pacific Textiles (Panyu) Textile Printing & Dyeing Co., Ltd, Mr. Wang Le, Vice President of Yiigoo Planning (Beijing) Technology Co., Ltd, Ms. Zhao Fangmei, Manager of Textile Project Department of Beijing Ecocert Certification Center Co., Ltd, Mr. Yasuyuki Cho, Director of Product Safety and Environmental Protection Committee of Japan Textile Federation, and other guests respectively shared theme topics with attending guests concerning related topics of the meeting.
 
In her summary speech, Ms. Yan Yan also mentioned that, overcoming difficulty in organic textile development needs to solve two core problems, firstly stakeholders are recommended to establish organic textile alliance, and contribute concerted efforts toward achieving one goal; secondly, looking for “association standards” solutions on the “international” basis. Furthermore, she also suggested improving “Roundtable” meeting mechanism, so that everyone’s voice can be heard promptly, and the supply chain can ensure effective communication.
 
The Roundtable Meeting was attended by more than 80 delegates from main stakeholders including relevant government departments, brand organizations, manufacturers, international and domestic standard organizations.
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