Perkumpulan Rantai Tekstil Lestari (Indonesian Sustainable Textile Alliance) supported the event initiated by KADIN and European Union

Perkumpulan Rantai Tekstil Lestari (Indonesian Sustainable Textile Alliance) supported the event initiated by KADIN and European Union. Circular Fashion and Circular Product Design workshops, conducted on the 12th and 13th of July 2022 through Webex. Basrie Kamba from Asia Pacific Rayon and Fitrian Ardiansyah from Inisiatif Dagang Hijau, two of nine founder organizations of RTL took part as the speakers at this event.  Below are several messages from Basrie Kamba and Fitrian Ardiansyah that have been delivered to the participants of the workshop.

Basrie Kamba

1. Opportunities – The potential for upside:

a.       First, the global transition of customer’s behavior on textile and fashion. The demand on sustainable fashion, renewable materials, responsible process is high and growing. Pre- or post consumer textile waste material are repurposed to create new garments. Circular fashion approach even start from the earlier design of the garment. Global customers and industry players have mutual interests to minimize any leftover textile waste to the landfill. 

b.       The Group of 20 (19 countries plus EU) is a great asset to manage this shared interest, this shared purpose.  It’s a great asset to lead and shepherd the changing market ecosystem to unite various stakeholders for a goal that is advantageous for everyone, as well as the broader ecosystem. G20 members dominate (more than 75%) the world textile market – both as producers and consumption, with China, EU, India, and the US, as the leading countries.

c.       Indonesia has a complete set of value chain of the industry – from fiber to garment makers. We have a huge fiber capacity, spinning, weaving and knitting, etc. It’s already a two generation business with 4.3 million workforce (75% are women) and millions of SMEs.

      Installed capacity of viscose: 845,000 tons per year (#2 after China), PSF: 813,000 tons (#3 after China and India)

d.       Last year, our export value reached around US$13.5b. Indonesia is a market of 270 million consumers. 

e.       A number of companies have started their own initiatives on recycling by collaborating with different parties. One case: Pableliving.com in Surabaya with the philosophy of “made to be made again” are collecting pre-consumer scrap materials – processing them into different products and sell them domestically and overseas.

f.        My company, Asia Pacific Rayon, is targeting to use 20% recycled textile composition in our viscose fiber production by 2030.

In short: In line with the The global market demanding more and more recycled materials. Textile, garment and fashion players of Indonesia with all the complex supply chains and actors have to be more aggressive to grab this opportunities. 

2.       Challenges

a.       Government recorded 1.7 million ton of textile waste last year alone from half of the country’s 514 administrative regions. Est: 2-3 million tons of waste. 

b.       Cheap fabrics and clothes from overseas continuously flooded the Indonesia markets: online and offline.

c.       Lack of infrastructure (recycled textile waste facility), expertise, investment, resources, technology and hard to find out where to start.

d.       More important: Need more campaign, promotion, incentives and initiatives. 

e.       One example, it’s hard to get a right volume and price for a post-consumer hotel materials like towels and bed sheets. I spent 1.5 years and found it that many of the used towels and used bed sheet are being resold, including on the market place, with a relatively too high a price to be used for recycled materials. I understand from my research that certain star hotels used their towels for two years (longer during COVID), while lower-star hotels can go for 4-5 years even 7 years. Challenge for a commercial-scale project: volume, price and quality. What can we take or recycle for a towel or bedsheet that has spent 5 or 7 years in the laundry?

      But, there must some sort of opportunity: IF parties, hoteliers can work with the industry, from the very beginning, to design the circularity of the products.  

f.        Managing used clothes are still challenging due to the lack of integration and partnership. Consequently, the cost of collecting, transporting and storage is high.

g.       The real risk for industry players is the cost (investment) for transition shift from producing conventional fashion to circular fashion.

3.       Actions that companies can take:

a.       Start an immediate action. This transition is real and countries and group of countries have constantly regulating/raising the standards for the sustainable and circular textiles.

b.       Convene for a collaborative pilot project to, for example, determine the feasibility of establishing Indonesia’s first commercial-scale recycled textile facility.

c.       Taking an active role to plan and execute a series of strategic campaigns and events (with incentives from the government) to boost the awareness of sustainable and circular fashion among youths, women, fashion brands and industry players.

Fitrian Ardiansyah

  1. Policies and governance:

o   Circular fashion requires comprehensive policies that interconnect between consuming countries and producing countries. At consuming countries like in the EU or European countries (e.g. as part of European Green Deal) there are certain policies that need to be strengthened to minimize the use of finite and non-recyclable resources while encouraging the uptake of innovative products. For instance, the consuming countries often do not recognize the combined recycled cotton and other non-recycled fabrics as one valued product. By acknowledging this (not only 100% recycled cotton), consuming countries will help producing countries to produced more innovative circular products within their economic and planetary boundaries (i.e. reducing left-over products that will end up at landfills).

o   There is a need to have a joint collaboration between consuming countries and producing countries to improve policy formulation and incentive creation at the source, and any improvement can be measured and quantified or reported. These include waste management improvement, water management improvement and product designs and sourcing improvement. Any improvement that is reported and verified can be linked with certain incentive provision, with the provision of easy access to market, finance and/or other means.

o   The development of circular hub (as Pak Basrie has mentioned) that can act as a clearing house between different parties to increase the level of awareness and understanding about circular fashion.

2. Partnership:

o   Collaboration can concretely be developed between brands and producers to improve sourcing of more recycled products, innovation in designs, systems of productions that lead to minimizing of resources (both products and environmental carrying capacity). And this type of collaboration can be reported as an initiative by the brands and communicated to the consumers as good progress.

o   Collaboration can be developed between buyers (including brands) with SMEs that promote slow and circular fashion. Such SMEs can be adopted by buyers or brands so they can understand the market requirement while ensuring circularity and minimizing negative impacts.

o   Collaboration among supply chain actors and financial institutions to find a breakthrough of investment or innovative financing for innovate products or systems that promote and contribute to circularity. One example was when “Fashion for Good” and IDH- Sustainable Trade Initiative have identified a critical finance gap that was slowing circular solutions from being scaled and used in supply chains. So together, they founded the Good Fashion Fund to which we committed an anchor investment of €10 million. Such example perhaps can be magnified and/or replicated (https://candafoundation.h5mag.com/2017/initiatives_funded). The fund provided manufacturers and innovators with the long-term credit needed to scale technologies that contribute to the Five Goods – Good Lives, Good Water, Good Economy, Good Materials and Good Energy. This means the use of recyclable and safe materials, clean and significantly less energy, waterless and closed-loop manufacturing processes and the creation of fair jobs and growth.

Such partnerships should show concrete pilots that can be magnified and adopted eventually by different industry actors.

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