UNIDO SwitchMed - Transforming the textile value chain in Morocco and Tunisia

In summer 2020, UL conducted online training courses as part of the EU-funded SwitchMed programme, which presents best practices for sustainable chemical management and wastewater management to SMEs in Morocco and Tunisia.

To support the resilience of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Moroccan and Tunisian textile and garment industry, in Summer 2020 UNIDO and the ZDHC Foundation hosted a series of webinars on best practices for sustainable chemical management and wastewater delivered by ZDHC Accredited Training Provider UL.

As a direct consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, SMEs along the textile value chain are particularly affected by the global economic recession. The webinars virtually gathered industry experts from multiple SMEs to present practices for the phase-out of hazardous chemicals in the textile, garment and leather value chain. 

These webinars were part of a series of training events organised in the context of the MED TEST III project, a UNIDO-led and EU funded SwitchMed project that focuses on transforming the textile value chain in Morocco and Tunisia and to help SMEs to become more resilient and environmentally friendly.

"Working with UNIDO on building regional capacity to implement a hazardous chemicals phase-out in local textile value chains does help us accelerate the process. It also helps to ensure more actors along the value chain can receive the training,” comments Mariella Noto, Implementation Senior Manager at the ZDHC Foundation’s Implementation Hub. 

“This process allows both small and large production facilities along the supply chain to gain the necessary know-how. That will eventually improve their ability to produce more sustainably, and thereby meet the expectations of ZDHC brand contributors and other brands alike.”

Growing demand for sustainably produced textile and apparel products combined with the disruption to markets caused by the results of COVID-19 has compelled international brands to assess the environmental performance of their supply chains and set ambitious targets for their sourcing. Production downtime and order cancellations for entire collections currently threaten the future of companies in the supply chain. Disruptions in the textile value chain are also of great importance for global brands, as they can threaten a fast recovery of production and sales after the COVID-19 crisis.

“Providing SMEs with concrete tools that can give them a competitive advantage, reduce emissions and also save costs, can become decisive in shaping the future for SMEs in the post-COVID recovery of the textile and apparel sector,” claims UNIDO Project Manager Carolina Gonzalez.”

“Implementing more sustainable production processes in the textile and leather industries has the potential to deliver immense benefits to African companies," continues Christian Gerling, general manager of UL's Consumer and Retail Services in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. "Through our training programs, we are happy to share technical insights, competencies and solutions that these SMEs can bring to their daily business activities."

In September 2020 a third round of training sessions is planned for both facilities in Tunisia and Morocco.  Next steps of the collaboration will be communicated later this year.

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