Capacity building

ILO and China held an international summit in Humen to promote green jobs and just transition in textile and garment sector

Under UN Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) in China, ILO has been partnering with China National Textile and Apparel Council (CNTAC) to promote green jobs and a just transition in the textile and garment sector in China.

Press release | Beijing, China | 18 November 2022
BEIJING, China (ILO News) – An International Summit and Capacity Building Workshop on Green Development and Responsible Transformation for a Just Transition in the Textile and Garment Sector in China was held in Humen Township, Guangdong Province of China, on 17 November 2022. The workshop was held in a hybrid format with around 120 participants joining from both online and on-site.

The event was opened by Mr WU Qingqiu, Deputy Party Secretary and Mayor of Humen; Ms Cao Xuejun, First Level Inspector of the Consumer Products Industry Department, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT); Mr SUN Ruizhe, President of China National Textile and Apparel Council (CNTAC), and Mr LEE Chang-Hee, PhD, Director of ILO Country Office for China and Mongolia.

WU Qingqiu said in his welcome remarks that Humen is home to a large-scale industrial cluster, a well-equipped industrial chain, and a mature and developed market system. At present, under the industrial transformation and the influence of pandemic situation, Humen is facing new challenges and opportunities in promoting high-quality and sustainable development. Among them, green development is a key direction that must be followed. In the future, Humen will work with CNTAC and relevant partners to build a "world-class textile and garment industry cluster pilot area" in line with the industry’s development direction of "technology-, fashion- and green-orientation".

Sun Ruizhe said in his online speech that as a globalized livelihood industry, China's textile and garment sector has always been an important player in the Chinese pathway to modernization and an important practitioner of social responsibility and sustainable development. Promoting green development and responsible transformation is an inherent requirement to address the environmental and economic pressures and achieve a sustainable future. To this end, he put forward four expectations for the development of the industry, namely, to continuously enhance the balance and inclusiveness, the influence and shaping power, the sense of security and acquisition, and the leading role and initiative of the industry through increased innovation and responsible practices.

Cao Xuejun said that in recent years, the international industrial pattern has undergone profound changes. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has actively supported the green transformation and upgrading of the textile and garment industry through the issuance of relevant policies and measures, and accelerating the high-end, digital and green transformation of the industry. Focus is being put on the three dimensions of "increasing varieties", "improving quality" and "creating brands". As next step, the ministry will implement relevant policies and planning, further promote the integrated innovation of the industrial chain and continue to consolidate and enhance the competitive advantage of China's textile and garment industry.

LEE Chang-Hee said that the on-going multiple crisis forces us to rethink future development of the industry and to start a restructuring process taking into full consideration the interdependence between social, environmental, technological and economic dimensions. Identifying and implementing a context-specific policy mix for sustainable supply chains, enterprises and communities is an emerging challenge. If managed well, these challenges can be turned into golden opportunities. The ILO Just Transition Guidelines is a highly relevant policy framework for structuring the discussions, actions and investments to ensure that the transition process is ‘just’ and “no one is left behind".

At the International Summit and Capacity Building Workshop on Green Development and Responsible Transformation for a Just Transition in the Textile and Garment Sector in China. © ILO
In the technical discussion sessions, Cristina Martinez, PhD, ILO Senior Specialist Environment & Decent Work, Asia-Pacific Coordinator for Green Jobs & Just Transition, introduced the ILO Just Transition Guidelines and its application in Asia Pacific, including a description of the Green Jobs and Just Transition definitions. Samantha Sharpe, PhD, Associate Professor, Research Director, Institute for Sustainable Future (ISF)/University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Convenor of the Textile Eco-innovation Research Network Asia (TERN), introduced the ILO Just Transition Toolkit for the Textile and Garment Sector in Asia. Mr Youngmo Yoon, ILO Senior Specialist Social Dialogue & Industrial Relations, elaborated the role of social dialogue in promoting a just transition in the context of textile and garment sector transformation in China while sharing experiences from selected advanced economies. Mr WANG Dong, Programme Director of SDG Localization of UNDP in China, put the discussions within the framework of promoting sustainable development through SDG localization.

From the local and industrial level, Mr Zuo Chao, Executive Deputy General Manager, Dongguan Bili Garment Co. Ltd, shared the enterprise’ experience in promoting low carbon development across the whole product cycle from design, materials use, dying and production technology, to green sales and brand management. Ms Youngran Hur, Programme Management Officer, Global Opportunities for Sustainable Development Goals (GO4SDGs), UNEP, analysed the environmental, social and economic impacts of the industry with a focus on the “hotspots” and presented the key needs and prioritized actions to address the challenges. Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) Senior Policy Analyst, TANG Di, PhD, put forward recommendations for China to formulate a Just Transition disclosure framework for enterprises to inform responsible investments. Mr Abu Saieed, Green Industry Expert, UNIDO, welcomed the sustainable practices of the Humen enterprise and introduced UNIDO’s Green Chemical Initiative. He also emphasized the importance of policy framework, practical tools, stakeholders’ capacity building and responsible green finance.

The international summit and capacity building workshop provided a platform for the participants to share knowledge and exchange views, and proposed the visions of green development and a just transition of the industry in China, Asia and worldwide.

The workshop was also part of the 2022 PAGE China Academy on Accelerating the Transition to Inclusive Green Economy: Synergy Between Pollution Control and Carbon Reduction, 14-18 November 2022, showcasing the pathway of a just transition toward a low carbon economy from a sectoral approach.

For further information please contact:

PEI Hongye
ILO PAGE Consultant (Asia)
Tel: +86 16604517667

Cristina Martinez
ILO Senior Specialist, Environment and Decent Work, Asia Pacific Coordinator – Green Jobs & Just Transition

Eric Roeder
ILO Technical Specialist on Green Jobs, Climate Action and Resilience through Just Transition - Asia Pacific Region