Textile industry, global brands discuss achieving net-zero

LAHORE: A delegation of Pakistani textile manufacturers met global brands like H&M and Gap to explore solutions to boost supply chain resilience in Pakistan. The meeting took place on the sidelines of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition Annual Meeting 2022 currently being held in Singapore. 

The session was hosted by Net Zero Pakistan, which is an initiative of the Pakistan Environment Trust (PET). The Net Zero Pakistan programme aims to form a national coalition of pioneering companies, public institutions, and sectoral experts that are banding together to deliver the goal of net zero carbon for Pakistan by 2050.

The meetings come just a few days before a Pakistani delegation is set to travel to Egypt for the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27). Given this year’s devastating climate related floods in Pakistan, COP27 may be the most important climate conference in Pakistan’s history. The delegation to COP27 will be fighting for immediate climate assistance, and will make the case for climate reparations to third world countries, and Pakistan’s recent climate disaster will be a central talking point. 

In this context, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition Annual Meeting is a significant indicator of how far private industry in Pakistan is willing to commit to the idea of net-zero. While world leaders are expected to be sympathetic to Pakistan’s plight at COP27, they will also demand that Pakistan cut down emissions. The textile industry will also be looking closely given the floods also resulted in a large segment of Pakistan’s cotton crop suffering earlier in the year. 

About 30% of Pakistan’s textile production capacity for exports has been hampered because of cotton and energy shortages. Pakistan’s textile sector, which exports about 60% of its production, is also facing poor demand in the domestic market due to fragile economic conditions.

“Pakistan only contributes 1% to the global carbon emissions and key stakeholders from the developing world must engage with Pakistani manufacturers at this stage to brainstorm avenues for mitigating the ongoing risk of removing Pakistan from the global supply-chain as a result of their carbon footprint,” reads a recent press release issued by PET. 

The discourse at the talk was moderated by Talha Khan, CEO of Pakistan Environment Trust on 2nd November 2022 in Singapore. Speaking on the occasion, Khan said, “When the whole world moves towards net zero, there is a risk of Pakistan being left behind in the global supply-chain. An example of that is we are losing cotton crops as a result of climate devastation. For Pakistan, the spend is in the range of billions of dollars. Finding those interesting solutions or ideas that can help us mobilise that kind of capital to support economies is why we are here today.” 

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