In Ghana, the Gold Foundation, an environmental organisation, has signed an agreement with the Chinese fast-fashion brand Shein to improve textile waste management. The $15 million partnership will run for three years and will help limit the health and environmental risks of the fashion industry.
With the second-hand clothing trade generating 160 tonnes of textile waste every day in Ghana, the Gold Foundation, an environmental organisation, is receiving $15 million (more than 118 billion Ghanaian cedis) from the Chinese ready-to-wear brand Shein to develop sustainable fashion by 2025.
The money, spread over three years, will support the industry’s waste management efforts in local communities overrun by textile waste. This support is part of Shein’s Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Fund, which aims to strengthen sustainability strategies in the textile industry.
“The resources will be used to expand our Mabilgu (sisterhood) apprenticeship programme for young women wearing bales of second-hand clothes on their heads, to incubate community-based businesses turning textile waste into new products, to pilot fibre processing initiatives with Ghanaian textile manufacturers,” says Adam Whinston, Shein’s global head of environment, social and governance (ESG).
Towards greener fashion
While the fashion sector accounts for only 0.4% of Ghana’s gross domestic product (GDP), about 20% of global water pollution is caused by the textile industry according to the World Bank. In 2015, a study by the African Development Bank (AfDB) revealed that Africa was worth 16% of the global textile market, estimated at US$31 billion according to data from Euromonitor International.
This is why the AfDB has launched its Fashionomics Africa initiative, a competition for African designers of sustainable and circular fashion. The competition encourages local entrepreneurs in the textile industry who aspire to recycle fashion products, reduce toxic substances and energy consumption, and take into account the life cycle of products.