For many years I lived and worked in South Asia in one of the main industries of the region – textiles. In this region textiles is vertically integrated from the raw material supply of cotton, to weaving, processing and stitching. Textile industrialisation and high volume supply from South Asia has been a post war success. At the same time on the Sub Continent the supply and quality of water, a major resource in the textile process has moved into a UN classification of stressed!
The option of moving this business away from the region is not the best solution for either the buyers or South Asia. To address this issue all textile factories and their customers need to develop water strategies: There is no future for the textile industry without a strategic approach from all partners for the use and discharge of this vital resource.
A resource strategy cannot be developed in isolation, it needs all the stakeholders to participate. Its not just about the buyers sourcing from operations with effluent treatment plants or FSC timber supply for example.
What are the main headings of a resource strategy:
- The product range designed and developed to secure the best use of the resource in the product and its production.
- The raw material: specified and purchased from secure and sustainable sources that minimise the use of the resource.
- Production: Lean and efficient with process control at the heart to optimise the use of the resource.
- Waste Management: Systems in place and managed on a professional level with an ambitious goal of zero discharge.
The above should be in a framework to secure at least the following in the supply chain:
- the input – the design, raw material and production techniques (the buyers responsibility)
- the process – production that secures the resource ( the factory responsibility)
- the output – safe and clean discharge management and supervision.(the utility supplier)
Whatever the resource; be it water, timber, oil, etc. There has to be a high level, wide scope approach across the supply chain. This helps to achieve a clarity of vision and the necessary investments in machines, material, manpower and money by all stakeholders – it must be an holistic strategy.
As an example; take a look at the mind map developed below for home textile product supply from Bangladesh . If you have not done so already perhaps this could help you get started on a strategy in whatever critical resource you are currently working with..