Study of environmental improvements in Chinese textile mills reports results and future advice for a sustainable fashion supply chain
In 2013, the international network organisation Solidaridad, in partnership with C&A, H&M and other leading fashion brands launched the Better Mills Initiative (BMI) in response to an environmental push in the apparel industry. The initiative, co-funded by C&A Foundation, aimed to empower textile mills in China to clean up their production processes and improve their sustainability in a climate of tightened environmental legislation.
Recently, C&A Foundation evaluated the initiative to measure if mills did in fact improve their environmental impact. The results of the six-month study show that a difference can be made going forward.
Brands, mills and sector associations agree the initiative was important, given the tightened environmental laws in China and the value of addressing environmental risks. However, there were some important lessons to be learned.Better Mills Initiave Evaluation
Results show improvements
By the end of 2016, towards the end of the three-year initiative, it estimated that the 43 mills studied had saved 6.6 million tonnes of water, 7,200 tonnes of chemicals and 15.2 million kWh of electricity. Altogether, 675 improvements were reported covering BMI’s seven priority ‘themes’ of water, waste water, energy, air emissions, solid waste, chemical management, and working conditions.
However, there were notes of caution in the report:
What did we learn?
Brands, mills and sector associations agree the initiative was important, given the tightened environmental laws in China and the value of addressing environmental risks.
Three key lessons learned are: