LONDON, UK — The future of textile production is being shaped by a combination of factors, including the need for a more affordable alternative to the highly industrialized world of high-tech manufacturing.
The world’s largest textile industry — which is currently producing about a third of the world’s cotton — is now facing the prospect of facing an uncertain future.
Its members are struggling to find enough workers to keep up with demand, with some estimating that as many as 70% of the country’s textile factories will close by 2027, according to the International Labour Organisation.
“There is a real risk that this industry will go into a downward spiral,” said Maria Toth, a textile industry expert at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
While the textile industry employs more than one million people, many textile workers are underpaid and are at risk of being exploited, Toth said.
Toth’s research suggests that the textile industries’ future depends on a shift away from traditional textile production to other types of textile.
According to a recent report by the World Trade Organization, textile production in the developing world is projected to increase by 30% from 2017 to 2027 and by 50% from 2027 to 2034.
And the demand for textile is rising faster than the supply.
In 2020, the number of garment-makers in China and India jumped to a record high of almost 7 million, and there are now more than 30 million textile workers worldwide.
In the developing countries where textile manufacturing is currently booming, such as Bangladesh, Cambodia and Laos, there is little demand for their product, Tuth said.
The textile industry is also facing pressure from the effects of climate change.
A new report by McKinsey and Co. suggests that by the year 2050, the world will be able to produce more than half the cotton grown in the world, according the Institute of Policy Studies.
And if the world continues to grow at its current pace, there could be enough cotton to produce a third or more of global cotton output by the end of the century, McKinsey said.
But the impact of climate action on textile production has been understudied.
If global warming is not prevented, there will be more water scarcity, increased vulnerability to pests and disease, and a loss of the biodiversity that supports our society, said Mark Pritchard, co-founder of the Global Wool Industry Alliance.
For the next several decades, the global textile trade will be the main driver of global growth, he added.
But the growing demand for fabrics will force the industry to adapt to climate change, and that will ultimately lead to its collapse, Tith said.
For example, there are no current regulations for textile production, which means many of the factories are unregulated and subject to a wide range of environmental laws.
In order to avoid the worst-case scenario, the industry is looking to adopt the best practices from other industries.
To avoid an environmental disaster, factories need to have a clear plan to reduce carbon emissions, such that they are not exposed to extreme weather conditions, Tath said.
That is where the development of a sustainable, environmentally sound manufacturing system comes in.
Industry members are already beginning to adopt this approach, according of a report by GlobalWool Alliance, a nonprofit organization focused on the textile and apparel industry.
It is looking for ways to increase the sustainability of the industry through innovation and new processes that are more sustainable and sustainable products, such a better supply chain and a more transparent way to assess the environmental impact of the process, the report said.
GlobalWool’s co-founders are also looking to increase their visibility on the issue of environmental sustainability.
In 2017, the group partnered with The Global Wool Alliance to develop an interactive infographic that will help textile manufacturers better understand how their operations are being impacted by climate change and climate change mitigation.
The graphic also provides information on how to support textile workers, including education on how the industry can reduce their reliance on unsustainable industries and create a more sustainable future.
The group also released a report this year titled, The Future of Textiles and Clothing: From Cotton to Textile: Changing the Fabric Industry.
It focuses on how textile production can be made sustainable in the 21st century, and how to get there.
Toth is hopeful that the industry will adapt to this change and become more sustainable, but she does not think that it will happen immediately.
When the textile factory opens its doors, the only thing it will produce will be textiles, Toths said.
And they will still have to make textiles and clothes that are environmentally friendly and that are able to be made in a way that will be socially acceptable, Tiths said.
Toths said that while there are many ways to support the textile sector, the textile industrial sector is not the only way to support local communities and the