The garment and textile industry is regarded as a major contributor to the global economy and has created millions of employment opportunities worldwide. However, while its positive impact is significant, the industry is also the cause of major environmental harm through the mass-production of garments and the resulting waste, which often ends up in landfills.
“The fashion industry is undergoing a major shift towards sustainability and many manufacturers and designers are heeding the call,” explains Marie Kinsella, CEO, International Exhibition & Conference Group, the organisers of the Global Sourcing Expo Australia. “Sustainability is a major pillar of both of our Shows in Sydney and Melbourne this year as we recognise that as an industry, we need to come together to decide on a long-term sustainability plan that both major and smaller producers can follow to reduce their carbon footprint.”
The Global Sourcing Expo will soon announce the speakers for their Global Sourcing Seminar Series on sustainability. Visitors will have the opportunity to hear from experts in sustainable sourcing and production at the Sydney Expo on 11-13 July at the International Convention Centre, Sydney, followed by the Global Sourcing Expo Melbourne, which will take place at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from 21-23 November.
Visitors to the Melbourne Expo will also have the opportunity to attend the co-located Footwear & Accessories Show Australia, which will be held on the same dates at the venue.
What are sustainable design principles?
In the apparel production context (which covers garments, textiles and accessories) sustainable design principles are a set of design strategies and practices that aim to reduce the environmental impact of the production of these goods throughout its entire lifecycle. The goal of sustainable design is to create products that are environmentally responsible, socially equitable, and economically viable.
“The Global Sourcing Expo is unique in that it brings together manufacturers, and suppliers from all over the world over the course of a few days in Melbourne and now in Sydney. This gives us rare insight into the challenges and opportunities these suppliers face in their own countries in their quest to integrate sustainable design practices into their own production process,” Marie explains.
Social responsibility forms a large part of this as reducing harmful impact extends to the humans involved in the manufacturing process too. Sustainable design principles require that the product is created in a manner that is fair to all stakeholders involved, including workers and communities.
Meeting manufacturers and suppliers at an event like this gives business attendees the opportunity to ensure their social corporate responsibility objectives are met. This is enabled by partnering with suppliers who have put measures in place to ensure a better environmental and social footprint. “The Global Sourcing Expo gives brands and retailers more transparency into how and where the goods are made and gives them the freedom to explore the best fit for their company, all under one roof,” says Marie.
She emphasises that this sustainable approach takes into account economic viability, as there should be a balance between creating products in a way that promotes environmental wellbeing while ensuring that producers are still able to turn a profit. “Finding this balance will be a major topic of discussion at the upcoming Global Sourcing Expo.”
Offering manufacturers practical first steps on their sustainable production journey
When asked what first steps apparel brands can take to integrate sustainable design principles into their production process, Marie says that the following measures have the potential to significantly reduce environmental harm, and therefore retailers can consider these factors when selecting their suppliers:
- Use Sustainable Materials. Using materials, such as organic cotton, recycled polyester and hemp help to reduce the use of non-renewable resources
- Reduce Waste. Reducing waste by creating patterns that optimize fabric usage or use leftover fabric scraps to create smaller items like accessories.
- Consider Low-Impact Dyes. Reducing the amount of water used in the dyeing process and eliminates the release of toxic chemicals into the environment.
- Recycling and Upcycling. Using recycled materials to create new garments, or upcycle existing garments by reworking them into new designs.
- Energy Efficiency. Using renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind power wherever possible and implement energy-efficient technologies in the production process.
- Fair Labour Practices. Working with factories and suppliers that prioritise safe working conditions and wages and implement transparency in their supply chains.
“It can be difficult to implement all of these measures at once, but choosing to follow even just one of them can make a major difference in promoting sustainable practice. The Global Sourcing Expo will have a number of resources and expert presentations on offer for industry professionals looking to integrate sustainability into their sourcing and production process, so that there is a clear roadmap for a more environmentally conscious future,” Marie concludes.
About the Global Sourcing Expo Sydney 2023
Global Sourcing Expos Sydney and Melbourne provide a dedicated show platform to connect global manufacturers, producers, service providers and fashion labels with trade buyers and industry professionals from Australia, New Zealand and beyond.
The Show now includes a focus on home and gift, as well as apparel, accessories, and textiles. As one of the only shows in Australia to directly target wholesale and retail buying groups, this is an ideal opportunity to enter the Australian market.
“The Global Sourcing Expo connects the world!”
When and where for Sydney Show: Tuesday 11 – Thursday 13 July 2023, International Convention Centre, Sydney, Australia.
When and where for Melbourne Show: Tuesday 21-Thursday 23 November, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.
About IEC Group Pty Ltd
International Exhibition & Conference Group Pty Ltd (IEC Group Pty Ltd) is a privately owned Australian company of key personnel with combined exhibition industry experience of over 70 years.
Enquiries about the event: Julie Holt, IEC Group. firstname.lastname@example.org or +61 (0) 3 9596 9205
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