Honduras aims to change into a more sustainable textiles sector

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2016-05-13 12:00:00 – Copenhagen

Honduras a small Central American country is already a significant textile exporter representing 0.8 percent of global textile exports and the number two textile exporter in the region by value, behind Mexico, and already the number one exporter of t-shirts to the US market has newly launched ‘Honduras 2020’ an ambitious US$3.4 billion project for the textile industry, one of four key industries the government of Honduras aims to change into a more sustainable sector.

It aims to turn the country into the destination of choice for brands and retailers who want to source sustainable clothing and textiles in the Western Hemisphere.

They have a very ambitious vision for their textile industry in 2020, said Juan Orlando Hernandez, President of Honduras in an exclusive interview at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit in Denmark.

His presence at this event, together with a senior team at Planet Textiles, clearly illustrating the seriousness of his intentions to carry out his pledge to improve the way the Honduran textile sector works in such a very short time-frame.

In early 2016 after an in-depth nine month strategic study with management consultancy McKinsey they have now drawn up a new plan that will transform how the textile industry will work in Honduras. They have drawn up a plan which will mean Honduras becomes a hub for sustainable textiles in the Western Hemisphere.

In particular, the government is committed to improving the conditions for textile industry workers in Honduras but also to lower its impact on the environment. They are really committed to help with housing and working conditions for textile workers together with the private sector and reducing the environmental impacts of operations. It is doing this by enshrining a bill of worker rights in law in the country which the President has been instrumental in enacting.

Switching Honduras to a sustainable sourcing hub would greatly boost its textile sector by differentiating Honduras from local competitors such as Mexico. Through Honduras 2020, it will position Honduras as the leader in the Americas in terms of textile exports.

A public-private funding of US$3.4 billion will be invested in the project of which around US$1.6 billion has been earmarked for investment in new equipment and technology in the textile industry only and the rest being spent on infrastructure such as roads and a new port, improvements in the energy sector and nationwide training and education programs as well as help with housing specifically for textile industry workers.

According to the Honduran government, their aim is to become the leading textile exporter in the region and the fifth largest exporter of textile goods to the USA. They also want to improve their textile exports to Europe. Currently Honduras is the 65th largest supplier of textiles to the EU countries, but they aim to become the 25th largest supplier. This spot is currently taken by Thailand with US$1 billion.

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