UNECE and UNIDO in Cairo for a sustainable garment and footwear industry

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Accelerating action for the sustainable garment and footwear industry of the future: harnessing the potential of innovation for due diligence and reduced environmental impact – The way forward to UNFCCC COP 27 was the event held by UNECE and UNIDO in Cairo on 24-25 May 2022 and focused on the textile and leather sector in the MENA region.

Promoting the sustainable development of a circular economy in the MENA region

Supporting the sustainable development of a circular economy in the garment and footwear industry in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region was the main goal of the Cairo event, organized jointly by UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) and UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization).

150 participants among policymakers and garment and footwear industry actors took part in the conference in person, and 50+ accessed it online, demonstrating the interest of all the sector stakeholders in promoting the adoption of sustainable and circular business models.

Danielle Arzaga, Sustainability Manager of Candiani Denim - Blue Collars Srl, joined the panel discussion How to integrate Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria in corporate strategies, included in the module on how to formulate and implement a traceability and transparency strategy with the support of institutional and financial bodies.

The Cairo conference was also held in conjunction with the UNECE project Enhancing transparency and traceability of sustainable value chains in garment and footwear industry, carried on with the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and e-Business (UN/CEFACT), in collaboration with the International Trade Centre (ITC) and funded by the EU.

UNECE’s initiative aims at improving transparency and traceability in the garment and footwear industry. Many companies do not have a full view of their network of business partners and hence are not able to identify any potential negative impact throughout their value chain. Candiani Denim takes part in the UNECE project as an expert advisor.

The real impact and pollution of the fashion industry

What is the real impact and the amount of pollution in the fashion industry?

According to the European Environment Agency (AEA), the fashion industry has higher carbon emissions than the combination of international flights and maritime shipping. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) estimated that textile mills cause one-fifth of the global industrial water pollution and employ 20,000 chemicals, a lot of them carcinogenic, to produce clothes.

Actions towards a sustainable and circular business model in the garment, footwear, and fashion industry are then necessary to improve its sustainability rate and address ESG challenges. This transition can happen only using reliable production data and enhancing traceability and transparency performances of all the value chains.

COP 27, save the date: November 2022, Egypt

The Cairo event was also organized with a view to COP 27, which will take place in Egypt, in Sharm El-Sheikh, in November 2022 and will be the 27th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Challenges, opportunities, and approaches climate impact-related were explored to prepare the stakeholders which will be involved in COP 27, such as policymakers, key industry actors, financial institutions, and cooperation agencies.

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