Dow: Paving the way for a sustainable fashion...

Paving the way for a sustainable fashion in Ethiopia

(Source: Dow)
(Source: Dow)

The environmental impact of textile and garment manufacturing is a key challenge as the industry sector in Ethiopia booms. The textile industry is one of the key growth sectors in Ethiopia. In recent years, the country has attracted foreign investments for new textile and garment manufacturing facilities and several international brands and retailers have shifted their textile and garment sourcing to Ethiopia.
Dow supported a 3-year cooperation project with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Bonn/Germany, and the ZDHC Foundation, Amsterdam/Netherlands, to develop more sustainable manufacturing processes within the fast-growing fashion industry in Ethiopia. Through education, training programs and business consultancy capabilities, the project successfully paved the way for improved sustainable chemical and waste management practices along the textile value chain.  
The scope of the project was 2-fold, involving academia and industry stakeholders. First, the project team worked with the Ethiopian Institute of Textile and Fashion Technology (EiTEX), part of the Bahir Dar University, to implement a technical training program for lecturers and develop a new Chemical Management curriculum for undergraduate students. The Ministry of Education, Addis Ababa/Ethiopia, approved the curriculum and adopted it as a national program of studies.
»Ethiopia has the potential to become one of the leading textile and apparel hubs in Africa. Alongside this growth, there are opportunities to improve chemical management and prevent water pollution.«
Maimuma Hussein, project leader, Dow Industrial Solutions segment

The second project pillar focused on building awareness and capabilities of factory management and workers across the textile supply chain to implement and maintain an effective sustainable chemical management system based on industry best-practice guidelines from ZDHC. To enable a continued and cost-effective support, sustainable chemical management consultancy capabilities were set-up through a network of trained local consultants. These companies are now listed as ZDHC Approved Training Providers and can provide the official ZDHC training programs to the Ethiopian markets.  
The project was able to establish sustainable structures for training in the environmentally and ecologically responsible disposal of chemicals and waste. The first 100 university students have already completed the e-learning curriculum, and managers and operators from 20 textile factories were trained and started the implementation of improved chemical management system processes. As the project ends, the network of 7 qualified chemical management consultants will continue to support businesses and industry professionals with ongoing training and on-site consultancy. All materials developed in the project will remain available to the educational institutions for their further use.  
The 3-year project was co-funded by Dow’s Business Impact Fund. This competitive grant program designates corporate contributions toward projects designed to help address social problems through our technology and expertise. Funding proposals come directly from Dow employees worldwide, tapping into their skills, business knowledge, and diversity of locations and experiences.  
Dow Chemical Co., Midland MI/USA, and GIZ have been working together within the framework of the develoPPP funding program, which GIZ implements on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Berlin/Germany. In the cooperation project, the public and private partners bundled their expertise and financial contributions and worked closely together in all steps from project planning to the development and implementation of the training and awareness-raising activities.

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