Sustainable chemical management in the Ethiopian textile/leather sector

Textile production Africa

Since 2010, Ethiopia has undertaken major efforts in establishing itself as an upcoming manufacturing hub in Africa with the aim of diversifying exports in its primarily agriculture-based economy. The textile and leather sector represent two rapidly expanding export sectors. By 2020, exports of garments are projected to reach a value of USD 1 billion annually (from around USD 84 million in 2011), creating jobs for more than 350,000 people. To achieve acceptance on international markets, the industry needs to adhere to international standards and regulations, particularly with regards to environmental and social performance.

To meet these requirements in Ethiopia, textile and leather companies receive institutional support in line with the German government’s programme for sustainable production of textiles and clothing. On behalf of the German government, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) works with Ethiopian partner organisations to develop methods and increase the ability of local partners to comply with international standards. As part of these efforts in Ethiopia, GIZ supports local service providers and business intermediaries in strengthening their capacities and providing advisory and training services to the industry. Local experts are expected to form the backbone for the implementation and expansion of the support programme in Ethiopia. 

The resource efficient and safe management of chemicals constitutes one of several key aspects of sustainable manufacturing. To assist the Ethiopian industry in conforming to corresponding international standards and good practices, GIZ is propagating the use of a chemical management toolkit that has been developed and implemented in the textile and leather sector as part of similar efforts by GIZ in Bangladesh. Since adelphi had been instrumental in developing and launching the initiatives in Bangladesh, GIZ has commissioned adelphi to facilitate a similar process for the Ethiopian textile and leather sector.

adelphi's main tasks in Ethiopia are to conceptualise a competence development programme for local service providers and business intermediaries, implement an initial training programme and facilitate a preliminary chemical management baseline assessment in cooperation with GIZ during the period of December 2017 to January 2018. Based on the results of these first steps, GIZ is moving ahead with preparing the final concept for scaling-up the chemical management support programme under the umbrella of the Sustainable Textile Initiative in Ethiopia (eTex).