Building China’s green supply chain

Developed by ZDHC and the Chinese Industry Association, this project is well underway and delivering results.

China is preliminarily set up as a green supply chain in the synthetic leather/coated fabrics industry. That’s according to Mr. Tian Jingyan, the Vice General Secretary of CPASL (China Artificial & Synthetic Leather Committee of China’s Plastics Processing Industry Association). 

This achievement has resulted from the organisation’s collaboration with ZDHC and other stakeholders to tackle the use of DMFa in the industry. DMFa is a hazardous solvent that is used on synthetic leather/coated fabrics. This substance has been placed on the ZDHC MRSL Candidate List, and ZDHC has called for the development of alternatives. 

To tackle the issue and find alternatives, ZDHC is working with the Chinese Industry Association to pilot a DMFa ‘Phase Out’ in synthetic leather/coated fabrics. This is a joint-effort from multiple stakeholders throughout the entire value chain. The industry association, government, brands, synthetic leather/coated fabrics manufacturers, chemical manufacturers and experts in academia have all gotten involved in the project.

Many positive impacts been seen so far, at both industry and government levels:

- There’s been a positive influence on China’s policy-setting with regard to this substance

- Standard setting within the industry group has been influenced in a positive way

- Chemical companies are encouraged to increase investment and technology development

- There’s more interest amongst synthetic leather/coated material companies to switch to DMFa-free processing

- More brands are opting to join the DMFa phase out effort

The support provided by ZDHC, the Chinese government, brands and technology has produced positive quantitative results so far. Relative to 2015, 2019 is estimated to show a huge increase in the use of safer substances. Results include:

  • A 600% increase in water-based polyurethane 
  • A 460% increase in solvent-free Polyurethane. 

This success story is considered a major leap forward in the Chinese Synthetic Leather Industry.


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