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Certification update 
 
Last Week, we certified 39 facilities in 13 countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Kenya, Lao, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, and Vietnam. 
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Bangladesh
U.S., Bangladesh apparel industries to strengthen ties under new MoU
Bangladesh led January’s surprising U.S. apparel imports increase

150 Bangladeshi exporters facing uncertainty as payments and shipments to Russia halt

Chile
How Eco Fibra is tackling the fashion dumpster in the Chilean Desert

China
China remains dominant player for apparel US imports in early 2022
In China, sustainability is bubbling up


Egypt
Egypt garment exports record 54 percent increase in January 2022

India
PLI scheme for textiles attracts 67 companies

Vietnam
Hansoll Textile to launch solar power projects on rooftops of facilities in southern Vietnam
Vietnam to begin work on two giant industrial parks

 
Events
 
WRAP is hosting several upcoming training courses. If you are interested in attending, please reach out to our Director, Auditor Training, K.T. Ramakrishnan
 
Lead Auditor Training (online)
March 14 — 18, 2022
Asia and Southeast Asia

Refresher Course (online)
April 12, 2022
India and Sri Lanka
Lead Auditor Training (in-person)
April 4 — April 8, 2022
Delhi, India

 
Special content 
 
We are pleased to announce we have renewed our partnership with the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) under a newly revitalized Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). 

Click here to read our full joint press release.



 
AAFA's President and CEO, Steve Lamar, recently sat down with WRAP's President and CEO, Avedis Seferian, to discuss the role of government in the human rights arena, the increased importance of conducting proper due diligence, and what stakeholders can expect from our partnership over the next year.

Tune in here.

 
The United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) has welcomed Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) as its 2022 Corporate Social Responsibility Sponsor. In a time when corporate responsibility is one of the top issues facing our industry, we could not be more pleased to expand our collaboration, helping ensure the safe, responsible, and ethical production of garments and textiles around the world.

Click here to learn more.

 
Avedis Seferian, WRAP's President and CEO, joined the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) to discuss labor issues in supply chains and the apparel industry at large.

Tune in here.





 
We are pleased to announce the launch of a strategic partnership with Trusted Experts on Due Diligence (TEDD) designed to bolster brands conducting due diligence related to human rights issues in their supply chains.

Click here to read our full joint press release.



 
A joint publication by the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) and WRAP offers new guidance to understand and eradicate forced labor in the supply chain.

Click here to read.

(Requires an AAFA membership)



 
Learn more about symphonization, WRAP's proposal to reduce audit fatigue and establish a truly harmonious social compliance paradigm.

Click here to learn more.





 
News from the past week 
 
Bangladesh
U.S., Bangladesh apparel industries to strengthen ties under new MoU
(Just Style, March 14, 2022)
The American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) and the Bangladesh Garment and Manufacturers Exporters Association (BGMEA) have revealed plans to work together to increase the latter's access to the U.S. market, improve purchasing practices, and encourage sustainability. Their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) stipulates that the AAFA will support Bangladesh in promoting its trade interests in America, especially in advocating for the withdrawal of GSP suspension to recognize the progress made by the local industry in the areas of workplace safety, worker well-being, and environmental sustainability. They will also work collaboratively on capacity building to cut time and cost with the goal of making the supply chain more sustainable. The renewed partnership includes plans to develop joint training programs for workers and management, a special collaboration with the BGMEA Center for Innovation, Efficiency and OSH; and a commitment to deepen the relationship between both parties and BGMEA University of Fashion & Technology (BUFT).

Bangladesh led January’s surprising U.S. apparel imports increase
(Sourcing Journal, March 9, 2022)
According to the U.S. Commerce Department’s Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA), Bangladesh was the no. 1 sourcing destination for apparel imports to the United States in January 2022. Bangladeshi suppliers saw a 42.1 percent year-over-year increase to 282 million square meter equivalents (SME) of materials shipped. “It is a bit surprising to see the surge continuing during the month of January,” said Julia Hughes, president of the United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA). “We suspect some of the surge is due to the supply chain crisis, with companies shipping earlier than in past years and looking for better prices when they ship during traditionally slower months.” There was also likely a push to get goods out of facilities and ports ahead of the Lunar New Year at the start of February associated with plant closures and worker shortages.

(Article required paid subscription)

150 Bangladeshi exporters facing uncertainty as payments and shipments to Russia halt
(Daily Star, March 14, 2022)
Payments and shipments of readymade garments from Bangladesh to Russia are declining each day in the wake of the Ukrainian crisis. Approximately 150 Bangladeshi apparel suppliers are operating in a state of uncertainty as the country risks losing a key emerging market, hindering nationwide efforts to diversify exports. Bilateral trade between the two countries is worth more than one billion USD and was growing at a steady rate prior to the invasion, but many garment suppliers are not receiving export receipts as Russian banks continue to be banned from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), a global payment messaging network. Many exporters have either already produced finished items for Russian buyers or sent goods to the Chattogram port to be shipped, but the shipping lines are not taking the goods on board due to sanctions related to the war. Additionally, international courier service companies are not taking documents to Russia. DHL, FedEx, and the United Parcel Service have suspended shipments in response to the country's invasion of Ukraine.


Chile
How Eco Fibra is tackling the fashion dumpster in the Chilean Desert
(Shareable, March 11, 2022)
Chile is home to one of the most arid deserts in the world: the Atacama. The landscape is polluted by 60 thousand tons of used clothing — the remnants of an international fast fashion industry. These used garments come mainly from the United States, Asia, and Europe. Most of them are no longer able to be sold in these countries but still arrive at the port in Iquique, Tarapaca Region to be reviewed again. From the tons of clothes that arrive each year, only 10 percent are commercialized in Chile. The rest goes directly to the desert. Chilean law dictates that this kind of waste cannot be disposed of in public dumps, so it ends up in the desert, where there’s no regulation to prevent the material remnants from destroying soils and compromising ecosystems. But Franklin Zepeda, founder of EcoFibra Chile, has found a way to recycle the discarded garments. His company transforms textile waste into insulation panels for low-cost housing construction. Their work addresses two key policy issues in the region: mountains of trashed clothing and lack of reliable housing. 


China
China remains dominant player for apparel US imports in early 2022
(Just Style, March 14, 2022)
U.S. apparel brands sourced approximately 38 percent more products from China in January 2022 compared to the same period last year, accounting for an increase of nearly 24 percent in export revenue. American retailers are finding it increasingly challenging to secure sufficient production capacity from suppliers in other parts of Asia as the supply chain crisis and shipping delays continue. Leading fashion companies evaluating suppliers appear to be shifting their focus from affordability to product availability. Those sourcing from Asia continue to contract facilities at a steady rate, but Chinese suppliers are seeing a spike in orders as smaller sectors across the continent struggle to keep up with demand. Approximately 76.5 percent of U.S. apparel imports came from Asia, which houses the top three apparel suppliers in the world: China, Vietnam, and Bangladesh. As China continues to ramp up production capacity, its competitors are likely to see a decline in orders from Western buyers. 
(Article required paid subscription)

In China, sustainability is bubbling up
(Vogue Business, March 11, 2022)
Chinese manufacturers are getting a clear message from buyers: sustainable practices are in demand. According to the China Sustainable Fashion Consumer Behaviour Map released by Rise Lab, 89 percent of respondents expressed their intention to buy sustainable products. In the face of shifting consumer attitudes and government policies, fashion brands are increasingly investing in sustainable practices. The nation pledged curb carbon emissions after 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 at the ninth meeting of the Central Financial and Economic Commission in November 2021. In the fashion industry, the China National Textile and Apparel Council is leading the charge. It released two reports last year that promote technological innovation in the textile industry and improve biodegradable green fibers. The council also plans to support 30 key brands and 60 manufacturers executing climate innovation activities. At the launch ceremony for the program, 57 local fashion companies including Peacebird Group, Jiangnan Buyi Group, Chenfeng Group, and Rimba Menswear made commitments to reduce their carbon output.


Egypt
Egypt garment exports record 54 percent increase in January 2022
(Daily News Egypt, March 13, 2022)
Egyptian garment exports saw record growth in January 2022, with a 54 percent increase in products shipped reaching a gross total of 204 million USD in value, compared to 132 million during the same period last year. The United States was the nation’s no. 1 exporter with 123 million USD of products shipped over the course of the month, compared to 78 million last year — an increase of 57 percent. European markets received a total of 37 million USD in apparel, compared to 28 million in 2021 — a growth rate of approximately 31 percent. There was an 83 percent increase in Egyptian apparel exports to Arab countries (approximately 25 million USD worth of goods) and shipments to the rest of the world increased approximately 58 percent. Now, there are attempts to open new markets with the cooperation of Egyptian Commercial Service (ECS) offices in all nearby countries to increase the volume of exports — especially to Arab countries — in light of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, which may negatively affect exports of ready-made garments (RMG). 


India
PLI scheme for textiles attracts 67 companies
(Financial Express, March 13, 2022)
As many as 67 brands have applied for support under India’s production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for the textiles and garment sector, pledging investments of around Rs 23 thousand crore INR (approximately three million USD). The names of the potential investors have not been confirmed, but the list of applicants includes Reliance Industries, Arvind Group, Welspun, IndoRama Synthetics, Bombay Dyeing, Vardhman Group, Trident, and Shahi Exports. These investments exceeded the government’s expectations of Rs 19 thousand crore INR (or 2.48 million USD). The textile PLI scheme covers 40 man-made fiber (MMF) garments, 14 MMF fabric products, and 10 technical textile items. It marks a paradigm shift in the government’s relationship with the apparel sector. First, it earmarks funds for big companies, shedding its long and costly bias towards small businesses. Second, it seeks to correct India’s historical policy preference for a cotton-dominated value chain, which is contrary to the global trend. The main goal is to reclaim India’s export markets after ceding substantial ground to Bangladesh and Vietnam in recent years. 


Vietnam
Hansoll Textile to launch solar power projects on rooftops of two facilities in southern Vietnam
(Inside Climate News, March 8, 2022)
South Korean clothing manufacturer Hansoll Textile plans to launch a pair of solar power projects on the rooftops of two of its facilities in southern Vietnam. The 5.6 million USD project will not cost them a penny. In fact, the supplier — which produces apparel for dozens of leading brands including Under Armor, Walmart, and Victoria’s Secret — anticipates it will save more than 250 thousand USD in the coming year. The anticipated savings would come from a combination of reduced electricity demand and the ability to sell a portion of the solar power back to the grid. The project is expected to decrease the company’s emissions by approximately 3.26 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, an annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 700 automobiles off the road.

Vietnam to begin work on two giant industrial parks
(Fibre2Fashion, March 9, 2022)
Vietnam’s southern province of Binh Duong is expected to build two large industrial zones to attract foreign investment in both high-tech and labor-intensive industries, such as footwear and textiles manufacturing. Construction on the 280 million USD Vietnam–Singapore Industrial Park III in the Bac Tan Uyen district will begin this month, and construction on the Cay Truong Industrial Park in Bau Bang district will begin before the end of June. Binh Duong also plans to expand its existing parks at Nam Tan Uyen and Rach to meet increasing demand from investors. In the first two months of 2022, exports increased by nine percent, creating a trade surplus of two billion USD. The province expects economic growth of eight percent this year and a rise in industrial production of approximately nine percent.
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