A group of leading Hong Kong textile and apparel companies this week launched the 'Sustainable Fashion Business Consortium' (SFBC) to help the industry minimise its impact on the environment.

The 12 leading companies that make up the SFBC - the first such consortium in Hong Kong - already play an influential role in the global fashion supply chain.

And although Hong Kong produces very little textile and apparel, many enterprises which operate in China and South East Asia are headquartered here.

"The textile and apparel industry continues to play a critical role in the development of Hong Kong and China, and the formation of SFBC marks the coming together of our industry to tackle the complex issue of sustainability", said Woo Pat-Nie of Central Textiles, chairman of SFBC. 

The group's vision is to create a platform for continuous improvement of the textile and apparel manufacturing process and procedures throughout the supply chain.

It also seeks to instigate change, from making the industry more aware of environmental issues, to increasing the adoption of sustainable practices across the supply chain. 

The three main areas of focus are to increase the use of sustainable raw materials, reduce energy consumption and reduce the impact of waste and chemicals.

The SFBC is also aiming for a few world-firsts, including cotton waste recycling certification, and working with the World Wildlife Fund on its Low Carbon Manufacturing Program.

Another exciting goal is to benchmark energy consumption across the textile and apparel supply chain, leading to the possibility of carbon labelling and carbon trading.

SFBC will work with governments in Hong Kong and China to encourage companies to adopt sustainable practices.

It will also monitor business operations, work with retailers and brands to develop a roadmap for making industry practices more sustainable, and raise awareness of the competitive advantage that sustainable practices can bring.

The founding members of SFBC are Central Textiles, Fountain Set, TAL Apparel, Glorious Sun Enterprises, Crystal Group, Sun Hing Industries, Ace Style Group, Gunzetal, High Fashion International, Lever Style, Clothing Industry Training Authority (CITA) and fashion designer Johanna Ho of I Ltd.

By Vicky Sung.