Issue 414 | April 21, 2017
Upcoming Training

April 27
Dhaka, Bangladesh

May 4-5
Kannur, India

May 6-10
Dubai, UAE

May 8-12
Shanghai, China

The WRAP Blog
by: Russell Jowell

Welcome to The WRAP Weekly newsletter.  Feel free to look around and thank you for being a loyal reader.

The WRAP Up
Last week we certified 48 factories in 13 countries:
Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Egypt, Guatemala, India, Laos, Morocco, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.

As of the sending of this newsletter, there are 2,363 factories with current WRAP certificates around the world employing 2,138,404 workers.  
This Week's Headlines
Trump signs order pushing American goods and workers
Yangon traffic policy draws ire from factories, workers
Group warns China against "top-down" economic policy
Amazon secures patent for "on-demand" apparel machine
Walmart & Target announce major sustainability initiatives
Australia
Australian anti-poverty group Baptist World Aid has released the latest version of its annual report assessing the efforts of 106 global apparel companies, representing over 300 brands, in combating forced labor, child labor, and exploitation. This year, the highest marks were given to Spanish company Inditex, German company Adidas, and U.S. brand Patagonia, all of whom were given grades of "A." Ten companies were given grades of "F." The group says that while overall efforts to improve the lives of garment workers have been fruitful, much work remains to be done.
( Sourcing Journal / Baptist World Aid) *NOTICE: Sourcing Journal article requires a free subscription

Bangladesh
The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety says that over 70% of needed repairs across its constituent factories have been completed and over 70 production facilities have completed their Corrective Action Plans (CAPs). During a recent press conference, Alliance Country Director James Moriarty also noted that 64% of the repairs were "high priority" including structural retrofitting and fire door installation. He also said that over 140 facilities have been suspended from the program for failing to make adequate progress. ( Fibre2Fashion)

The Bangladeshi government has formed a working committee comprised of factory owners, labor leaders, and government leaders to assess the status of labor issues raised by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the European Union and to work on ways of addressing them. National officials say they formed the committee to highlight progress made in human rights ahead of next month's European Sustainability Compact meeting to be held in Dhaka. European leaders have warned that Bangladesh may lose its Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) status if it does not demonstrate significant progress in the areas of human and labor rights. ( New Age BD

Bangladesh's Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed is pushing Western apparel brands to pay more for the products they buy from "green" factories constructed in Bangladesh. Ahmed says that many such facilities were constructed in the wake of the 2013 Rana Plaza disaster and that their operating costs tend to be higher than their conventional counterparts. He notes that 7 facilities in Bangladesh have received the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) honor. ( BDNews24)

Brazil
Brazilian exports of textile and apparel to Arab nations soared between January and February, according to data from the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce. The group says that Brazilian exports grew by 87.5% year-on-year during this period, driven primarily by synthetic fabric and nautical rope products. The United Arab Emirates is the largest Arab buyer of Brazilian textiles, followed by Algeria and Egypt. ( Fibre2Fashion)

China
The value of overall Chinese exports exceeded expectations in March, posting a 16.4% year-on-year gain in terms of U.S. dollars. The jump has restored the country's trade surplus after it fell into a deficit for the first time since 2014 in February. Chinese officials say they news is a sign that the greater world economy is on the mend. ( Reuters)

eurochinaThe European Union Chamber of Commerce in China has released a new report looking at the potential effects of the country's new industrial development policy "China Manufacturing 2025" which focuses on upgrading the country's industries. While the group says the effort is a necessary undertaking for China's future economic success, they caution against what they call a "top-down" authoritarian approach being used to implement it. They urge China to move forward with more market-based reforms and support greater free trade. ( European Chamber / Just Style)
*NOTICE: Just Style article requires a paid subscription

A forum discussion is scheduled for next month in the Western Chinese city of Urumqi looking at the future of the region's textile industry. The discussion is expected to focus on the trading relationship between Asia and the countries of the Mediterranean region via the historic "Silk Road" route. Speakers are expected to focus on topics like the growth of technology in the region and sustainability. ( Fibre2Fashion)

India
India is slated to host its first global B2B textile and handicrafts event later this year. The "Textiles India 2017" is intended to showcase the wide range of India's textile production capabilities to a global audience. It will be held June 30-July 2 in Gujarat. ( Fibre2Fashion)

Apparel exporters in Tirupur are working toward turning the region into a "zero-deficit" manufacturing hub for textiles. Industry leaders say that they are working with many of the small and medium enterprises in the region to implement the necessary efficiency improvements needed to achieve this goal as many of these companies do not possess the ability to do so unassisted. They are also looking to the government to help reduce deficits and waste. ( Fibre2Fashion)

Myanmar
yangonA recent decision by the local Yangon government to restrict trucks from the roads during daytime hours has drawn sharp criticism from a number of national groups including textile manufacturers and workers' groups. The decision limits truck activity on Yangon's roads to 9pm-6am, making it prohibitively difficult for many manufacturers in the country to effectively get their goods to port and significantly driving up costs. Local leaders say the move was aimed at easing traffic congestion in the nation's capital city. ( Just Style)
*NOTICE: This article requires a paid subscription


Pakistan
The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) is pushing Chinese textile entrepreneurs to invest in their country be partnering with local businessmen to set up production facilities in the country. Aamir Fayyaz, head of the APTMA, says that Pakistan's duty-free access to the Chinese market under a Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) agreement makes investment an attractive proposition. He also indicated a number of government incentives available to Pakistani production facilities. ( Fibre2Fashion)

Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka must ensure that all of its workers have the right to organize and collectively bargain if the country hopes to regain its GSP+ (Generalized System of Preferences) status from the European Union. That was the sentiment from a pair of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) who visited the country last week to assess its progress in human rights as Europe reconsiders granting GSP+ status. Sri Lanka was removed from Europe's GSP+ program in 2010 amid allegations of human rights abuses. ( Just Style) *NOTICE: This article requires a paid subscription

United States
trumpU.S. President Donald Trump has signed a new executive order aimed at bolstering the "Buy American, Hire American" theme of his campaign. Among the provisions of the order is a call for federal agencies to more strictly enforce H1-B visa laws, ensuring that they are given to only the most skilled applicants. It also pushes for the greater use of U.S.-produced iron and steel in projects supported by federal dollars. ( CNN)

amazonOnline retailing giant Amazon has won a U.S. patent for an "on-demand" apparel manufacturing machine. First conceived by a startup bought by Amazon in 2015, the machine would select the most efficient method of producing custom apparel orders placed by customers based on their geography and purchasing preferences. The patent also indicates that the technology isn't just limited to apparel and can be applied to other textile products like footwear, bedding, and bath linens. ( Yahoo! News)

Total U.S. apparel imports plummeted in February, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Commerce. Imports fell by 13.3% during the month, under-performing a nearly 1% increase in overall U.S. goods and services imports. Analysts say that sagging demand and declining costs are a major factor. ( Sourcing Journal)
*NOTICE: This article requires a free subscription

Many apparel consumers are still unaware of how their clothing consumption impacts the environment, according to a new report from thrift store chain Savers. In its second-annual "State of Reuse" report, the company says that 54% of consumers still throw away their unwanted clothes instead of donating or recycling them, leading to 26 billion pounds of apparel and textile waste in landfills each year. The report is based on surveys of over 2,000 people from the "general populations" of the U.S. and Canada. ( Sourcing Journal / Savers)
*NOTICE: Sourcing Journal article requires a free subscription

walmartU.S. retailer Walmart has announced a new effort aimed at reducing emissions by one gigaton by 2030. Known as "Project Gigaton," the effort would work with the company's thousands of suppliers to help reduce their individual emissions until the ultimate goal is met. Walmart executives say that integrating sustainable practices "improves business performance, spurs technological innovation, and inspires customer loyalty." ( CNBC)

targetRetail company Target has announced 5 new sustainable packaging goals aimed at protecting the planet and the welfare of local communities that support their suppliers. The goals include sourcing more sustainable packaging and providing greater support for recycling initiatives. This follows a previous sustainable packaging initiative started in 2013 in which the company set out to make at least 50 of its owned brand packages more sustainable by 2016.
( Sourcing Journal) *NOTICE: This article requires a free subscription

The International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR), a project of the Tides Foundation, has launched a new directory detailing which organizations are generating public information about labor rights in the apparel industry. The "Apparel Data Directory" was created out of a desire to compile available sources of public data on labor rights in an effort to better facilitate collaboration and identify gaps in the information. ( ICAR / Just Style)
*NOTICE: Just Style article requires a paid subscription

Scientists at Cornell University have developed a new machine that will better facilitate textile recycling. The "Fiberizer" machine shreds garments and textiles no longer suitable for wear into a fibrous mass that can be reused by the industry. Scientists on the team say their ultimate goal is to help reduce textile waste. It's estimated that Americans dispose of upwards of 70 pounds of clothing per person per year. ( Fibre2Fashion)

Vietnam
The Vietnam Garment and Textile Group (Vinatex) says that the country's garment and textile exports could increase by 10% this year barring any major fluctuations in the global market. Last year, the country earned over US$28 billion in apparel and textile sales, a year-on-year increase of 5.2%, and Vinatex officials say that orders have been coming in at a record pace this year. ( Vietnam News)
About WRAP
Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, USA, with regional offices in Hong Kong, SAR, and Dhaka, Bangladesh, full-time staff in India and Southeast Asia (Thailand and Vietnam), and for Latin America, WRAP is an independent, objective, non-profit team of global social compliance experts dedicated to promoting safe, lawful, humane, and ethical manufacturing around the world through certification and education. To learn more about WRAP, please visit  www.wrapcompliance.org .

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