Blog: Leonie BarrieActivists kick off ahead of the World Cup

Leonie Barrie | 27 May 2014

With this year's World Cup football tournament preparing to kick off in Brazil next month, it's perhaps not surprising that environmental activists should turn their attention to some of the merchandise produced for the event.

But while Greenpeace claims independent lab tests have found high levels of hazardous chemicals in products such as boots, goalkeeper gloves and the official 'Brazuca' ball, sporting goods giants Adidas and Nike have both hit back at the allegations.

But in India, more than 600 dyeing and printing units in Rajasthan face closure over water pollution concerns. It is estimated that 34m litres per day of industrial waste is being discharged from four water treatment plants into the nearby Bandi River.

Recent unrest following anti-China demonstrations in Vietnam has now subsided, putting industry executives in a more reflective state of mind. While the protests caused serious damage to a number of foreign-owned footwear and clothing plants,a pullout of future investment looks unlikely.

But huge challenges face Mexico as it works to grow and internationalise its fashion industry as a supplier of more trendy apparel instead of basic clothing for export to the US.

just-style's special series on the clothing and textile sector in Mauritius continues with a look at some of the more sustainable sourcing initiatives underway in the country - as well as a report on the challenges still being faced.

And the European Commission has given further details of its negotiating positions on clothing and textiles as talks with the US on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) trade deal continue. But US textile groups continue to call for a yarn-forward rule of origin in the pact.

The made-in-US aspect was a strong selling point for many exhibitors at Texprocess Americas in Atlanta, with a special pavilion highlighting offerings in yarn, fabric and other products.

But in a sobering reminder that not all of the garments made for American retailers are produced overseas, sweatshop workers in Manhattan have been awarded more than US$1.2m in damages for unpaid wages.

Meanwhile, improved supply chain capabilities and omni-channel improvements are seen as a key driver of near-term profits for US retailers, with investment shifting from stores to IT.

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