• The Better Mill initiative launched in Ethiopia in 2016 has now received Government support and aims to reach 74 factories by 2020.
  • It is based on a successful project carried out by sustainable supply chain campaigner Solidaridad in China that sought to promote cleaner production and improved labour conditions in factories.
  • A Buyers Forum will also be developed to create a neutral collaboration space.
The Better Mill initiative works directly with 12 local textile factories

The Better Mill initiative works directly with 12 local textile factories

An initiative aimed at promoting sustainable production in Ethiopia's textile sector has received government approval – an achievement seen as crucial to the programme's success.

The Better Mill initiative launched in Ethiopia last year, based on a successful project carried out by sustainable supply chain campaigner Solidaridad in China that sought to promote cleaner production and improved labour conditions in factories.

Its scope was expanded in 2017 and it now works directly with 12 local textile factories on cleaner production and decent work. The aim is to reach 74 factories by 2020, with direct technical support and indirect support such as peer-to-peer sessions, industry workshops and knowledge exchange sessions between factories.

Solidaridad says public-private partnerships are needed to address the low level of technical and teamwork skills of workers. "Guaranteeing a safe work environment is also an important point, especially in the local industry."

With this in mind, the initiative has now received approval from the Ethiopian Government and the Ethiopian Textiles and Manufacturers Association, which organisers say is crucial for the programme's success.

And through collaboration with its counterparts in Europe and the Netherlands, and engagement with Dutch and European brands, Solidaridad is hoping to attract more buyers and retailers from the Netherlands and Europe to buy sustainable textiles from Ethiopia.

As part of the Better Mill programme, Solidaridad is planning to develop a Buyers Forum, which aims to create a neutral space for pre-competitive collaboration between buyers in Ethiopia and more leverage for promoting corporate social responsibility in the region.