WWF Pakistan Director General Hammad Naqi Khan opened a two-day international conference on sustainable textile and leather supply chains, and apprised the audience with his environmental organization’s conservation work that leverages its influence and expertise to drive change in key areas.
In collaboration with the International Labor Organization and support of the European Union, WWF Pakistan is the host of the two-day global conference at the Crystal-Hall of Faletti’s Hotel in Lahore. The conference aimed to provide a forum for stakeholders in Pakistan’s textile and leather sectors to discuss adopting circular and sustainable practices, aligning with environmental requirements for Pakistan’s GSP+ status.
#SustainableFashion is the future!🧥🧣Today’s conf on sustainable textiles with @WWFPak is an effort to pave green revolution in 🇵🇰.Engaging talks on circular practices.
Since 2016 🇪🇺 is supporting @GovtofPakistan & businesses in implementing intl environmental & labor standards. pic.twitter.com/baCjvK3XFi
— EUPakistan (@EUPakistan) November 14, 2023
“We have been encouraging adoption of circular economy principles by the government and industry stakeholders and influencing the development of regulations that incentivizes circular practices, such as adoption of the Smart Environmental Management Practices (SEMPs) and the implementation of cleaner production techniques,” Dr Hammad Naqi told the audience.
Since 2016, the European Union is funding the International Labor and Environmental Standards Application in Pakistan’s SMEs’ project to support the government and the business sector to improve implementation of international environmental and labor standards in Pakistan. WWF and the International Labor Organization jointly implementing the European-funded project.
Addressing the participants, Ministry of Climate Change and Environmental Coordination Director General Asif Sahibzada appreciated the success of the International Labor and Environmental Standards Application project and hoped that efforts would be enhanced at the national level, including the digitization and reporting of the multilateral environmental agreements in Pakistan.
The conference proceedings included sessions revolving around circularity, compliance with environmental standards and requirements, reducing impacts along the supply chain, shaping the future of fashion with sustainable materials, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) in textile and leather supply chains, governance and regulatory frameworks in Pakistan, and the future outlook of export potential for the textile and leather sector in the country.
European Union’s Rural Development and Economic Cooperation Program Manager in Pakistan Dr Ulrich Thiessen briefed the participants on the European strategy for sustainable and circular textiles and its support to the indigenous industries. He said that the European Union was a proud leader in the global efforts to mitigate climate change.
He shared details of the European green deal – a roadmap to sustainable economies – and pointed out a new design requirements for the textiles under the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulations. “I want to inform industrialists here that there must be clearer information on textiles, and a Digital Product Passport – a tool for collecting and sharing product data throughout its entire lifecycle used to illustrate a product’s sustainability, environmental and recyclability attributes.”
In Pakistan, the European Union has been supporting climate change adaptation and mitigation at least for the last 15 years. On the occasion, International Labor Organization’s ILES Program Manager Khemphone Phaokhamkeo also advocated on the importance of effective implementation of regulations that are in compliance with global labor and environmental standards.
The session was concluded by WWF’s Freshwater Program Director Sohail Ali Naqvi. The conference saw participation from several stakeholders, including international brands, industries, ministries, Better Cotton Initiative and WWF-International who expressed proactive knowledge support towards transforming textile and leather landscape of Pakistan. Notable industry leaders, development practitioners and policy experts were present at the conference to share their respective insights.