SWITCH-Asia Funded Project kicks off: MedWaves to support the transition to circular economy in the textile sector in China

Tuesday 28 June 2022

MedWaves, the UNEP/MAP Regional Activity Centre for SCP will be providing its unique methodology for a new project to accelerate the transition to circular economy practices in the textile and apparel sector in China.

We’re thrilled to be part of the consortium of partners implementing the SWITCH-Asia Funded Project “Transition to circular economy practices in textile and apparel MSMEs along the lifecycle in Huzhou and Shaoxing”, in which MedWaves is an implementing partner, kicked off today, Tuesday 28 June 2022, through a Zoom event.  

This project stems from the need to accelerate the transition to circular economy in an industry which is key to China. As a matter of fact, the country is the world largest textile and apparel producer and exporter, but these activities will generate negative environmental impacts and increasing pressure on natural resources if a linear way of producing is applied.  

The project will be implemented in Huzhou and Shaoxing cities located in Zhejiang province, between 2022 and 2025, with a total budget amounting to 2,973,263.38 EUR (80% of this contribution is from the EU). Huzhou and Shaoxing are particularly relevant to the sector since they are gathering most of the textile industrial clusters. In Shaoxing for instance, the population of Shaoxing only accounts for 8% of the total population of the Zhejiang province however the energy consumption exceeds 8% of the total energy consumption because of energy-intensive textile industries. It is targeting in particular the textile Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) in China as they account for more than half of the total textile and apparel exports. 

The aim of the project is in line with the Chinese 14th-Five-Year-Plan and SDG 12 “Responsible Consumption and Production” as well as the EU Green Deal and the EU Circular Economy Action Plan where the textile sector is listed as a key priority. Its specific objectives include: 

  • Improved sustainable management, resource efficiency and adoption of circular economy principles by the local textile and fashion industry; 
  • Conditions enabled for a conducive policy environment among key stakeholders for circular textile industry in Huzhou and Shaoxing; 
  • Increased access of textile and apparel industry to financing for eco-design, recycling investments and clean technology transfer. 

It will be carried out under the leadership of the China National Institute of Standardization (CNIS), in partnership with the China Textile Development Center (CTDC), ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and MedWaves.  

MedWaves will be responsible of Work Package 3 dedicated to capacity-building and technical assistance thanks to the methodology the centre has developed over the years. It includes the implementation of trainings of trainers who will reach out and train at least 150 MSMEs. The trainings will be followed by technical support to select resource efficiency measures in sourcing, producing and recycling. As a result, it is expected that wastewater recycling may increase by 20% and energy efficiency may increase by 20% by 2025 in the pilot cities. MedWaves will also deploy, under Work Package 4, its Open Innovation methodology, supporting CTDC in applying this novel work method in the region. It will be used to address the industry associations and, particularly, the MSMEs’ circular economy-related challenges identified. 

Stay tuned, more information to come soon