Indian textile industry commits to UN on promoting circularity
On the occasion of World Cotton Day 2022 on October 7, India’s Ministry of Textile Industry, the Indian Cotton Corporation and the United Nations Environment Programme signed an agreement committing to promote sustainability and circularity within its textile sector.
At the signing ceremony, organised by the Indian Ministry of Textiles, Minister Shri Upendra Singh emphasised the challenges posed by textile companies’ waste. Although the Indian textile sector is gradually being equipped with common effluent treatment plants, the sector is still facing effluent management problems due to the unavailability of data on waste generations from processing clusters, according to the Minister.
Through the head of the UNEP India office, the United Nations took the opportunity of this commitment by the Indian government to welcome the creation of a unit within the Ministry of Textile Industry specifically dedicated to sustainability issues. The Indian Ministry of Environment took the opportunity of the signing to underline the importance of sustainable strategies, pointing out that the success of the Indian textile industry is largely based on an abundance of raw materials, particularly cotton which must be protected.
India is one of the world’s pillars of the textile-clothing industry. In addition to its massive domestic market, the local sector is the European Union’s fourth largest supplier of clothing and its third largest supplier of textiles, with 4.2 billion goods in the first half of 2022 alone. India is also the third largest supplier of textiles and clothing to the US, despite a sharp contraction of goods to $6.8 billion in 2021. AT Kearney estimates the growth potential of Indian textile exports at 81% by 2026.
With some 45 million employees in its textile industry, India is also the world’s second largest cotton producer, behind China, with 6.16 million tonnes produced in the 2021-2022 season. This position will prove important in the coming months after the destruction of a large part of the cotton crops of its neighbour Pakistan, which is normally the fifth largest cotton producer in the world.