Blog: Leonie BarrieChina cracks down on pollution

Leonie Barrie | 18 March 2013

China's textile sector is one of seven industries being targeted by efforts to prevent and control chemical pollution in the country by 2015. The five-year chemical management plan issued by the Ministry of Environment will see the government come up with phase-out, restriction and elimination lists - with 58 chemicals blacklisted for the first time.

Another directive issued by China's state council calls for the creation of a 'circular economy' that systematically reuses waste materials and reduces pollution. The policy is part of the country's 12th five-year plan, but the textile and apparel sector has warned that companies failing to comply will be closed.

Pollution is just one of a number of new pressures on Asian manufacturers that are likely to hit apparel buyers on both sides of the Atlantic. Labour issues, minimum wages, raw material prices, abscondment and financial "redlining" are also set to have a potential impact.

Forecasts for global cotton stockpiles have been cut, based on higher production, consumption, and trade and expansion of the Chinese cotton reserve. The revised figures from the US government see global ending stocks at 81.7m bales in the year to the end of July.

And Australia is set to become the world's second largest exporter of raw cotton, with exports seen jumping by 11% to a record 1.1m tonnes for the year.

Retailers in the UK, meanwhile, have spoken about the need to embrace change as online and mobile sales continue to drive the sector's growth. But they also stress that old-fashioned values like trust and a physical store presence will continue to play a key role in the future.

And ahead of the launch of its new Nutmeg line later this month, Morrisons director of clothing, Tim Bettley, talks to just-style about the supermarket retailer's first foray into fashion. While Morrisons may be starting small, it is not short on ambition.


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