The German International Cooperation Agency (GIZ) GmbH and the Dutch ZDHC Foundation collaborated on a three-year project with American chemical company Dow to create more environmentally friendly production methods for Ethiopia's rapidly expanding fashion industry.
According to a joint press statement by Dow and ZDHC Foundation, the initiative effectively cleared the road for improved sustainable chemical and waste management practices along the textile value chain through education, training programs, and business consulting capabilities.
One of Ethiopia's main sectors for growth is the textile industry. Ethiopia has recently drawn foreign investment for new textile and apparel production facilities, and several global brands and shops have changed where they source their textile and apparel.
Project leader Maimuma Hussein, Dow Industrial Solutions, said that Ethiopia has the potential to emerge as one of Africa's top centers for the textile and garment industries. Opportunities exist to enhance chemical management and stop water pollution in tandem with this expansion.
Cicelia van Rooi, sales director for Dow Industrial Solutions Middle East, Africa & India and managing director for Dow Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd., said that they think that through industry collaboration and best practice knowledge sharing they can support the textile value chain in implementing more sustainable chemical and waste management practices and make a positive social, environmental, and economic impact in Ethiopia.
The project's scope included both stakeholders from the academic community and the business world. First, the project team developed a new chemical management curriculum for undergraduate students and implemented a technical training program for professors at the Ethiopian Institute of Textile and Fashion Technology (EiTEX), a division of Bahir Dar University. The curriculum was authorized by Ethiopia's Ministry of Education and adopted as a national program of studies.
The second project pillar concentrated on increasing plant management and employee awareness of and skills in implementing and maintaining an efficient sustainable chemical management system based on recommendations from ZDHC for best practices in the sector. Through a network of qualified local consultants, sustainable chemical management consulting skills were established to offer ongoing and affordable support to local firms and industry professionals.
These businesses can now offer the official ZDHC training programs to the Ethiopian markets as they are officially registered as ZDHC Approved Training Providers. The initiative was successful in creating long-lasting frameworks for instruction in the environmentally and ecologically sound disposal of waste and chemicals. The e-learning curriculum has already been completed by the first 100 university students, and managers and operators from 20 textile manufacturers received training as well as a jumpstart on the implementation of enhanced chemical management system procedures.
The network of seven experienced chemical management consultants will continue to provide firms and individuals in the industry with continuous training and on-site consulting once the project is finished. The educational institutions can continue to use any resources created as part of the project.
Klaas Nuttbohm, implementation director of ZDHC Foundation, said that they gladly worked with Dow and GIZ on this project as it directly supports their 'Roadmap to Zero Programme,' aimed at leading the fashion industry to eliminating harmful chemicals from its global supply chain by laying the groundwork for more sustainable manufacturing. The adoption of better sustainable chemical and waste management techniques in Ethiopia was made possible by collaboration with local stakeholders.
Dow's Business Impact Fund co-funded the three-year effort. Through this competitive grant program, businesses can contribute to initiatives that use our technology and expertise to address social issues. Funding requests are submitted directly by Dow employees across the globe, utilizing their distinctive abilities, business acumen, and variety of environments and experiences.
Within the develoPPP finance initiative, which GIZ administers on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dow and GIZ have been collaborating (BMZ). The public and private participants in the collaboration project pooled their knowledge and resources and collaborated closely at every stage, from project planning through the creation and execution of training and awareness-raising initiatives.
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