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The Role of Sustainable Development Practices in the Apparel Manufacturing Industry

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As we all know, sustainable development is emphasized in almost every business, apparel manufacturing industry is no exception. Sustainable development in the apparel manufacturing industry is of great importance. For instance, we can save the valuable resources on earth such as water and electricity. Besides, we can protect our environment. For instance, we can help to reduce different kinds of pollution like water pollution and air pollution. This article will answer five questions relating to the role of sustainable development practices in the apparel manufacturing industry. You will benefit a lot if you want to start your own clothing business.

What is Sustainable Development Practice?

The World Commission on Environment and Development describes it as “a development that meets the needs of the present but does not harm the ability of future generations to meet their needs”. Since the Conference on Global Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, sustainable development has become a global focus. We hope that through sustainable development practice, we will build a strong sustainable system in apparel manufacturing business. Now, many apparel manufacturing companies in both developed and developing countries have adopted the idea of sustainable development and make their efforts. Here are some examples of sustainable development practices in apparel manufacturing.

1. Using Eco-friendly Materials

Qingdao BetterTex Fiber Co., Ltd: As an expert in functional eco-textiles, the company has been exploring on the road of sustainable development. With natural, ecological and environmental protection as the product development concept, it focuses on developing new fibers and yarns that are low-carbon and environmentally friendly. This company chooses eco-friendly materials in the production process and takes sustainability and renewability into consideration.

2. Energy-efficient Manufacturing Processes

Lianyungang Yingyou Xinlicheng Textile Technology Co., LTD: The company has been engaged in water-free dyeing and printing technology research in the past ten years. They have been researching independently and already develop a full set of water-free dyeing and dyeing joint production line. They also invent high-purity dyeing and chemical materials, and can finally dye the polyester fleece fabrics free of washing. Its water saving, energy saving, emission reduction effect is remarkable. This company provides new ideas and methods for sustainable development practices in apparel manufacturing.

3. Ethical Labor Practices

Jiangsu Ruibang Technology Co., LTD: This company uses waste plastic bottles as raw materials to produce high-quality polyester filament, providing customers with all kinds of globally recognized and traceable recycled fibers. It realizes the recycling of limited resources.

Why Sustainable Development Matters in Apparel Manufacturing?

As we all know, apparel manufacturing industry have many impacts on the environment. It is among the most polluting industries in the entire world. On one hand, during the clothing production and processing process, which includes textile, printing and dyeing, people produce dyeing wastewater, textile noise, dust air pollution, etc. On the other hand, garbage like discarded clothing ruin the environment. In particular, chemical fiber-based clothing will cause serious pollution to the environment.

Since there are so many impacts on the environment, it is important that we take actions to mitigate this impact. Sustainable development is the only solution to these problems. By adopting sustainable practices, we can promote sustainable clothes to the customers and protect the environment on earth. Hence, sustainable development matters in apparel manufacturing.

What are the Benefits of Sustainable Development Practices?

Sustainable development practices have many benefits. The main four benefits are benefits to the environment, the brand image, customer satisfaction and long-term profitability.

1. Benefits to the environment

Environmentally speaking, sustainable development emphasizes environmental protection and ecological balance, and pursues the harmonious coexistence of man and nature. By reducing pollution and protecting natural resources and ecosystems, ecological balance and biodiversity can be maintained, thus ensure the health of our planet and the survival of humankind. We can see from the above reasons that sustainable development practices are of great benefits to the environment.

2. Benefits to the brand image

Brand image is also known as brand reputation, and sustainable development in the apparel manufacturing industry contributes to the brand image. Nowadays, many apparel brands begin to focus on sustainable clothes such as Nike, Zara and Veja. Because they know that when an enterprise is able to commit that it is an environmentally and socially concerned enterprise through their products, its brand image will be positively affected. Such positive brand image will enhance the reputation and visibility of the enterprise and attracts more customers and investors, thereby increasing its brand value. So, sustainable development practices benefit the company’s brand image.

3. Benefits to customer satisfaction

Sustainable development in the apparel manufacturing industry shows that your company is concerned about the environment and our society. Customers tend to favor these companies and become tolerant to these brands. Moreover, higher customer satisfaction means more business opportunities. Customers will help to promote your brand for you. It is natural that more customers will come to you. If you continue to provide sustainable goods, your customer satisfaction will be further improved. It is not hard to understand that sustainable development practices benefit the company’s customer satisfaction.

4. Benefits to the long-term profitability

Sustainable development in the apparel manufacturing industry tend to make customers become more loyal to your brand. It can also promote long-term economic development and make the utilization of resources more efficient and sustainable. Through some methods, we can reduce the waste and pollution of apparel manufacturing and improve the efficiency of resource utilization. In addition, sustainable development can promote the development of new industries and new technologies, and promote innovation and economic growth. So, sustainable development in the apparel manufacturing industry has benefits to your company’s long-term profitability, since the promotion cost will be much lower and your customers will stick with you for a long time. So, sustainable development practices benefit the company’s long-term profitability.

How to Overcome Challenges in Implementing Sustainable Development Practices?

When you implement sustainable development practices, you might face a lot of challenges. The three most common challenges are as follows.

The first challenge is how to reduce the cost of sustainable development. You can start with water and energy conservation. You can purchase water treatment equipment to turn waste water into water you can use. Moreover, you can use technologies like wind energy to produce electricity for your business. The most important thing to do is reduce raw material loss and improve the utilization of materials, so that you can reduce the cost of sustainable development.

Now, you might be wondering, how to reduce raw material loss. That is the second challenge we will talk about. You can use edge fabrics to make clothing accessories such as crafts, small pendants and so on. This will not only increase the artistic value of the product, but also greatly reduce raw material loss and improve the utilization of materials. 

The third challenge you might face is what to do with the wastewater your manufacture produces. Of course, you cannot simply pour it into rivers. You can purchase wastewater treatment equipment to make it harmless and then use it for another round of production. The cost of wastewater treatment equipment seems high at the beginning, but I promise it is all worth it in the end.

What is the Future of Sustainable Development in Apparel Manufacturing?

We can all feel that the world we live in today changes fast. Emerging trends and technologies that could further enhance sustainability in the clothing industry. For example, with more advanced science and technology, we can eliminate the toxicity in the wastewater. If your brand start to shift towards sustainability now, you will have much more opportunities in the future. Maybe one day, apparel manufacturing business can stop reproducing toxic waste water or gas. Besides, the materials we use now have a large room for improvement. One day, with the help of experts, we can find a perfect material for our apparel manufacturing business.

Work With Sustainable Clothing Manufacturers.

Sustainability in clothing production has become an increasingly important part of people’s lives. As a clothing manufacturer with 15 years of experience in clothing production, Natural touch clothing has always taken environmental sustainability as our business philosophy. We use soft and comfortable natural materials such as cotton, linen and silk to make our garments, and all of our fabrics have certificates from professional organizations to ensure that they meet international quality standards. If you would like to have customized garments for your clothing brand or project, please don’t hesitate to contact us, our designers would be happy to discuss your project with you and make suggestions.


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