What: Circular business models enabled by due diligence – testimonies from African textile SMEs
Who: UNEP is organising a side-event at the upcoming OECD 2022 Forum on due diligence in the Garment and Footwear sector.
When: 22 February 2022
Time: 7:00 to 8:30 EDT / 13.00 to 14.30 CET
Where: This is an online event.
The global rate of textile production, consumption and disposal is at an all-time high, with no indication of slowing down. Maintaining this ever-increasing rate requires more land, water and fossil fuels, leading to increased pollution of air, water and soil – damaging not only the environment but also the health of textile workers and communities.
Shifting to circular models is critical in delivering sustainability for the industry and requires global approaches with entirely new visions and radically different ways of doing business. This can only be achieved through the mobilisation of actors across regions and at all levels of the textile value chain. Most businesses in the world are SMEs, and given their strong integration in local communities their potential to influence change and innovation should not be underestimated. Value chains exist in complex and interlinked ecosystems - small changes in one area can lead to significant changes elsewhere.
Part of UNEP’s project "Innovative Business Practices and Economic Models in the Textile Value Chain" (InTex) focuses on training actors in the textile value chains in Kenya, South Africa, and Tunisia on topics such as circularity, resource efficiency, and eco-innovation. In particular, SME producers and brands will be supported in implementing eco-innovation and applying the European Commission’s product environmental footprint (PEF) methodology. UNEP’s eco-innovation process helps SMEs create sustainable and resilient business models and the PEF methodology enables businesses to improve the robustness and comparability of the environmental performance of products.
This side-session will shed light on the interplay between due diligence and eco-innovation, and demonstrate how carrying these processes out on an ongoing basis enables businesses to continuously identify, and create new ways to improve their sustainability performance. During this side-session we will hear first-hand how three SMEs which are partaking in the InTex project implement eco innovation to shift to more circular business models, measure their product environment footprints, what their needs are when carrying out eco-innovation and due diligence (and how they see the interplay between these two approaches), and finally, what benefits carrying out these processes have brought to their businesses.