IWTO – “Reset the wool industry for a sustainable and prosperous future”

IWTO – “Reset the wool industry for a sustainable and prosperous future”

PUYUAN-TONGXIANG, CHINA, 26 OCTOBER 2022 – The 91st annual Congress of the International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO) concluded earlier this week in Puyuan-Tongxiang, one of China’s leading textile hubs.

Hosts China Wool Textile Association (CWTA) showcased the local wool and textile industry’s leadership and commitment to sustainability, unveiling the six-point Puyuan Declaration for the Sustainable Development of the Wool Textile Industry, signed by the authorities of the local municipalities and supported by Congress delegates.

“Our global industry and all its partners are being faced by risks and challenges in terms of trade, supply, and production,” the Declaration states.

“It is now widely agreed that we shall reshape our industry and create a sustainable and beautiful future by jointly maintaining the security of supply and improving the risk-resistance of the industry. Responsibility, innovation, and sustainability have been integrated into every stage of the industry today.”

Speaking from China, Dalena White, Secretary General of the IWTO said, “Wool industry leaders here in China understand the importance of capturing data to show their progress in reducing carbon emissions and other sustainability benchmarks, and the need to communicate the results to international buyers.

“The industry is fully committed, and I believe we will see results very soon.”

Puyuan is home to China’s largest sweater market and wool distribution centre. Tongxiang is rooted in the silk trade, and many important Chinese wool processors and manufacturers are located here.

The Congress took place 24-25 October in a hybrid format attended by some 500 participants online in China and around the world.

Congress sessions featured wool market intelligence, sustainability, a Puyuan Forum, and a keynote address from Mr Sun Ruizhe, Chair of China National Textile and Apparel Council (CNTAC) and President of International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF).

China’s vision, Mr Sun said, is to by 2035 see the country as a main driver of the world’s textile technology, an important leader in global fashion and a powerful promoter of sustainable development.

“The Chinese textile industry is now entering into a strategic planning period, implementing a 51.5 billion Yuan investment in R&D. Focus areas are health, biology, materials, space, energy, and digital technology,” Mr Sun said.

Digital technology in China’s wool textile pipeline is already rapidly transforming to new and smart manufacturing technology, moving away from high energy consumption and slow response times.

Zhejiang Xinao Textile Co Ltd, one of the world’s leading spinners, for example, finds rapid response essential in this “digital economy era” and aims for one week from order to delivery.

The Chinese textile industry is playing a significant part in China’s economic recovery. Mr Liu Jiaqiang, President of CWTA, reported that China’s exports of wool products increased by 23% (a value of 3.8 billion RMB) in 2021 (from 2020) and that wool content in textiles is showing a 0.3% growth after some previous years of decline.

At the same time, the industry shows a strong motivation to reduce CO2 emissions per unit of wool textile. Ms Liu Dan, China Wool Textile Association Vice President, reported that the textile industry in China is striving to reduce its carbon emissions, which she acknowledged had risen.

“Key manufacturers in China have been growing profits while reducing emissions, showing it is worth making these improvements,” said Ms Liu.

CWTA is now overseeing a project to generate deeper change in carbon emissions over the longer term.

Closing the Congress, IWTO President Wolf Edmayr thanked Mr Liu and the CWTA organising committee for arranging the event under challenging conditions. He also praised the support of the Tongxiang and Puyuan municipal leaders in creating an outstanding digital platform for online attendees.

“Your efforts enabled the global wool industry to connect and meet in the Puyuan Ancient Town this week and conclude the first ever hybrid IWTO Congress successfully,” Mr Edmayr said. Source: IWTO