Enhancing resource efficient management of chemicals in Ethiopian textile sector

Ethiopia is currently one of Africa’s fastest growing economies and emerging as one of the key textile and garment manufacturing hubs on the African continent. The recent years have seen inflow of massive foreign investments from countries such as Bangladesh, China, India, Korea, Taiwan, Turkey. The Ethiopian government promotes new industrial zones which are customized for the expansion of the textile and leather industry. While this rapid growth is welcome, the developments raise concerns about possible negative impacts on safety and environment as noted in several other textile manufacturing hubs.

To support the Ethiopian textile companies in exploring business opportunities while fulfilling social and environmental requirements, the German government commissioned the programme for Sustainable Textile in Ethiopia (eTex), implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). This programme works towards supporting a sustainable development of the textile and garment sector, specifically ensuring decent working and living conditions and promoting protection and sustainable use of environmental resources. The programme collaborates with relevant actors to improve social and environmental standards in the textile and garments sector. As part of this broader programme, eTEX also launched an initiative on chemicals management (CM), reaching out to textile companies and service provider organisations.

adelphi supported this process by enhancing the training and advisory competences of local service provider representatives through virtual and on-site coaching as well as by facilitating the outreach and interaction between experts and factory teams. In a first round, 21 representatives of local service provider organisations took the opportunity to enhance their CM training and advisory skills during an expert training workshop in early 2018. In a second step, selected experts worked with five textile companies to assess and address CM practices, with the aim of closing the gaps to the recommendations in the GIZ CM toolkit and the requirements of the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) initiative.