Solidaridad launches Better Mill Initiative

17 December 2013

After two successful cleaner production pilot projects in the textile wet processing industry in China, Solidaridad has launched the Better Mill Initiative (BMI) which is bringing the earlier work to scale and broadening the scope. The 2,5 year programme implements activities in three result areas which focus on; mill capacity building, multi stakeholder dialogue and outreach and awareness raising.

The mill capacity building – targeting 75 mills – forms the core of the BMI. It offers trainings, network meetings and onsite and off-site technical support to mills and covers a wide range of thematic aspects including resource efficiency (energy and water), sound waste management (including effluent), chemical management and awareness of social aspects. After the first training workshop one of the participants said: “this programmeme allows me to access the information, knowledge, and expert support which are conducive to identify and implement practical and relevant changes. This support is also critical to change the mindset of those who are involved in making the changes in our company".

Next to the mill support work, the programme also aims to bring together a wide range of stakeholders through a multi stakeholder advisory committee on environmental issues. Communication and result sharing is the third key component of BMI, aiming to share knowledge, information and tools broadly to raise awareness of the need, opportunities and business case for improvements.

The holistic programme has been aligned with existing tools and initiatives, such as the chemical management priorities of the ZDHC initiative and the SAC Higg Index. Solidaridad is looking forward to training the mills on the Higg Index and expects that this self assessment will – through an increased understanding of the issues - enhance the success of the tailor made support and trainings offered.

Collaboration Solidaridad – H&M

Solidaridad and H&M partnered to design this programme. Harsha Vardhan, Environment Responsible at the H&M Global Production Office, explains why:

“We, at H&M, understand the importance of addressing the sustainability issues in the textile and dyeing industry. We also realize that in order to improve environmental performance, this part of our supply chain needs support with training and capacity building.”

“H&M has been working with Cleaner Production at the dyeing/printing mills for several years and we are in the process of scaling up to the next level. BMI provides us with a very good opportunity to scale-up our efforts by reaching out to larger group of mills and by collaborating with other like-minded brands and Solidaridad. The initiative offers technical training as well as a platform to the mills to share their experiences and best practices with each other. What is more important, through the programme, the mills will have an opportunity to engage with various stakeholders to understand shared risks and therefore take collective action. H&M is very happy and proud to be a part of the Better Mill Initiative.”

The first phase of the project started in September 2013 with a project duration of 15 months. 17 mills in the Yangtze River Delta region were nominated by H&M, C&A and Primark, respectively. The second phase of the project will start in 2014, with around 58 mills in both the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta. The programme has capacity for additional brands to join. If you are interested, please contact Solidaridad.

More information:

Solidaridad China: Zhao Lin (zhao.lin@solidaridadnetwork.org)

Solidaridad Netherlands: Marieke Weerdesteijn (marieke.weerdesteijn@solidaridad.nl)

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