Dirty Thirsty Fashion
by China Water Risk 17 September, 2014
This month, we focus on fashion off the back of the recent CLSA U® report “Dirty Thirsty Fashion: Blindsided by China’s water wars”. The report warns that polices set to ensure water security in China could pose an”existential threat” to the US$1.7 trillion global fashion industry. We review why fashion may be in the crossfire. We are not the only ones concerned. Hu Kehua, of the China National Textile & Apparel Council tells us how OEMs are ‘stuck in the middle’ as they try to meet the more stringent water standards whilst keeping down costs to meet brand demand. Meanwhile, there is on-ground help and Dr Anthony Ma introduces the new HSBC Industrial Water Management Programme led by the Hong Kong Productivity Council. With almost 50% of the world’s cotton grown in India and China, the two most water stressed countries in the world, the future of cotton is also a question. Liza Lort-Phillips from CottonConnect shares the key headlines from their report titled “More Crop Per Drop” released earlier this month, whilst Trucost’s Jacqueline Jackson takes a look at fashion’s broader impact on the environment. This includes takeaways from the 2014 Copenhagen Fashion Summit & GLASA awards where calls for change in the way fashion uses natural resources were loud and clear. Given the current regulatory changes in China, perhaps it is time for both brands and investors take a closer look. Shifting the textile sector from a linear economy to a circular economy is not a ‘nice-to-have’ corporate water stewardship strategy, it’s a ‘must-have’ in China’s book. Can brands do more? We take a look to see how their supply chain practices rank in China. Find out who’s ahead and who’s lagging because in fashion, one day you are in, and the next, you are out.
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