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SITA serves sustainability solutions to textile and leather companies at Going4Green conference

Textile and Leather are priority sectors for Sustainable Development in East Africa. (Image source: International Trade Centre)

The International Trade Centre (ITC), via its Supporting Indian Trade and Investment in Africa (SITA) project, supplied stakeholders with two fresh technical reports serving sustainability solutions to textile and leather companies at Going4Green conference

SITA delivered Going4Green in partnership with Kenyan Association of Manufacturers (KAM) in a hybrid format; the conference was in-person for those based in Nairobi, and virtual for those joining from the rest of East Africa, India and ITC’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. 

Speaking at the start of Going4Green, Ashish Shah, director, Division of Country Programmes, ITC, introduced SITA’s two fresh reports. Both “provide concise and actionable recommendations” for policymakers’ and business support organisations (BSOs) that are supporting the Textile and Leather sectors in the East Africa region. The reports, which reflect on the Indian Textile and Leather sectors and the expertise therein, are now officially launched and are available as PDFs online.

Textile and Leather are priority sectors for sustainable development in East Africa. However, these industries are also typically big polluters. As well as drinking up fossil fuel, textile and leather production impinges on the local environment quality, especially water sources. Meanwhile, the rise in sustainable consumption around the world has put large global fashion brands under pressure to be sustainable, meaning manufactures must adhere to sustainability standards in order to be competitive as a supplier. In addition, “the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is further pushing businesses to increase their competitiveness” - so added Miriam Bomett, deputy head of Policy Research and Advocacy, KAM, who was representing the co-organisers of the conference. Her point demonstrates the relevance and timeliness of the Going4Green event: with sustainability now the key criteria against which textile businesses are compared, AfCFTA in effect adds further pressure to firms to get certified as sustainable.

Therefore, it is paramount to empower East African businesses to be compliant with the internationally agreed standards - for the sake of both the environment and the economy. In accordance, Hon Betty C. Maina EGH, cabinet secretary at Kenya’s Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and Enterprise Development, used her keynote address to reaffirm that the Kenyan Government is committed to support the Textile & Apparel and Leather sectors to meet sustainability standards. Like all governments in the region, Kenya recognises the economic benefits of transitioning to sustainability.