Ecuador Collaborates With Indian Apparel Makers In Sustainable Production

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Latin American country, Ecuador has chalked out a comprehensive plan to collaborate with Indian apparel manufacturers in the latter’s conscious efforts to create sustainable value chain. One of the mega diverse country in the world, Ecuador, known for its oil as also commodities like wood, cocoa and coffee-based economy, is lately looking to diversify its economy and in pursuit, the country is looking to boost its bilateral trade with India.

Having identified textiles and apparel as one of the focus areas, Ecuador which has trade agreement with the EU, is aggressively promoting Corozo, a 100% natural product which is similar in consistency to a hard resin. Also known asvega ivory or tagua (made from the seeds of certain palm trees), Corozo, a native of the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador, is used as a popular material for buttons and embellishments. Used extensively in 1800s, it was replaced with plastic in the 1940s. However, Corozo is again gaining popularity, especially in India.

Ecuador has been one of the largest exporters of Corozo to India and worldwide.  As the only exporter of Corozo in the world, Ecuador has been effectively providing and promoting the use of Corozo to textile manufacturers and designers, helping change the narrative and design of global fashion. In India, PRO Ecuador, a part of the Ministry of Production, Foreign Trade, Investment, and Fisheries, under the Government of Ecuador, has been collaborating with Indian textile manufacturers, like Raymonds, Blackberry, SS Homme, to drive the use of Corozo, to promote green clothing. In the recently concluded Lakme Fashion Week, PRO Ecuador collaborated with a designer label, Ka Sha to showcase the versatility of Corozo, which was very well received.

“India is one of the major suppliers of textiles & clothing to the global market & hence we have decided to promote, Corozo which can help boost Indian manufacturers’ green and sustainable efforts. We have received a very encouraging response from Indian players in a very short timeframe.

We are also looking at investments from Indian investors who can avail various fiscal & other benefits provided by our government. Besides, there are advantages as we have a trade agreement with the EU,” says Cristina Chiriboga, the Acting Trade Commissioner of Ecuador in Mumbai. In order to boost bilateral trade with India, Ecuador which is looking to diversify its economy from being heavily depended on oil (as also wood & cocoa/coffee), set up Trade Commissioner offices in Mumbai and Delhi in 2013.

Sustainable fashion and green clothing is gaining popularity with Indian consumers. Especially the millennial consumer, who is more aware of global trends and responsible consumerism, and the upwardly mobile, are driving a number of Indian designers to churn out chic ‘green fashion’ lines. As per the United Nations Environment Estimates,

The Worldwide Report, the global fashion industry produces 20% global water wastage and 10% of global carbon emissions – more than all international flights and maritime shipping. Apart from returning to natural dyes, organic fabrics and traditional modes of manufacturing, the use of eco-friendly products for accessories and embellishments will go a long way in making fashion truly green and sustainable.

Apparel and textile makers globally are becoming part of the the rising consumer trends around sustainable fashion and green clothing. As a major contributor to global clothing market, Indian players are putting all concerted efforts to actively pursue this trend which in the current context has become very relevant. In fact, all major buyers and retailers in the globe are insisting that their vendors globally put up sustainable production facilities that entail lesser stress on natural resources.

Under Walmart’s Project Gigaton, the US retail giant has launched a sustainability platform inviting suppliers to join them in committing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions resulting from their operations and supply chains. This initiative will provide an emissions reduction toolkit to a broad network of suppliers seeking to eliminate one gigaton of emissions, focusing on areas such as manufacturing, materials and use of products by 2030.

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