Blog: Leonie BarrieCould Burma be the next sourcing frontier?

Leonie Barrie | 30 April 2012

In its constant search for cheaper and cheaper production bases around the world, there are few places the apparel and textile industry has left untouched. But could Burma be the next frontier?

Discussions are set to intensify following last week's decision by the European Union (EU) to suspend most of its sanctions against the country for the next year. But while the EU's move is likely to open up Burma to renewed scrutiny from fabric and garment firms, industry executives seem to agree it is unlikely to present a major sourcing opportunity in the short term. Indeed, the US continues to impose a total ban on the country's imports.

The UK's biggest clothing retailer Marks & Spencer hopes to recycle up to 350 million garments a year under a new scheme that calls on customers to donate an item of clothing every time they buy a new one. The Shwopping initiative, launched in partnership with Oxfam, will see the donated garments being resold, reused or recycled.

French group PPR, which owns luxury brands like Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent as well as sportswear firm Puma, is also boosting its sustainability credentials. The company has unveiled a series of targets for the next five years following the launch of its green profit and loss report last year.  The programme will focus on reducing carbon emissions, waste and water, raw materials sourcing, hazardous chemicals, paper and packaging, and the supply chain.

Meanwhile, trade groups representing thousands of buyers in apparel, retail, licensing, and footwear firms in the US, Canada, and Europe are appealing to the Bangladeshi government for an investigation into the death of a labour activist and former apparel worker. A letter to the Prime Minister warns the groups' members are "committed to sourcing...in a responsible manner that respects human and worker rights."

And shares in Wal-Mart's Mexican operations have plummeted after allegations the company bribed officials to speed up new store openings. Concerns that US regulators will also pursue action against parent company Wal-Mart Stores for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act could have some far-reaching consequences for the world's largest retailer.


BLOG

US border tax a contentious issue

Fresh from their disappointment at seeing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade deal abandoned last month with an executive order by President Donald Trump, the US apparel and footwear sector...

BLOG

Primark's sustainable cotton programme takes shape

With the ultimate aim of ensuring all the cotton in its products is sourced sustainably, value clothing retailer Primark is adamant that having a business model focused on offering the lowest prices o...

BLOG

Trump administration starts to shake up trade

Last week we marked the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States by taking a closer look at what's at stake for the textile and apparel trade – especially his promises t...

BLOG

Likely shifts in the sourcing landscape in 2017

Continuing our look at what lies ahead for the apparel industry and its supply chain in 2017, the panel of industry experts consulted by just-style last week tackled likely shifts in the sourcing land...

just-style homepage



Forgot your password?