Joint Trade & Sustainability Summit Fosters Collaboration for Industry Transformation


The Sustainable Textiles of the Asian Region (STAR) Network and the ASEAN Federation of Textile Industries (AFTEX) convened in Bangkok for the inaugural AFTEX-STAR Joint Trade & Sustainability Summit on Thursday, June 6th, 2024. The summit, held at the Bangkok Movenpick BDMS, brought together over 100 industry delegates from across Asia and beyond, with around 19 nationalities taking part.


1. Supplier Voices are Stronger Together:

The STAR Network is set to formalize and establish new partnerships. The joint event with AFTEX, featuring insights from the Fashion Producer Collective (FPC), marked an excellent beginning.

2. Audit Fatigue is a Pressing Issue:

Member associations welcome new legislation but stress the need for it to streamline, not complicate, audit requirements. Costs should not disproportionately burden suppliers further. 

3. All Actors Want a Greener Industry:

Aligned with the preferences of buyers, consumers, and indeed supplier countries, all member associations support improved regulations and initiatives for decarbonization and renewable energy. The next STAR Position Paper will delve into these issues, building on the Fashion Producer Collective (FPC)'s paper.

4. Suppliers are Cautiously Preparing for New Legislation on Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence:

Archana Kotecha provided an overview of upcoming HREDD laws, tracing developments from the UN Guiding Principles through to the German Supply Chain Act and the upcoming EU Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD) and EU Forced Labor Regulation.

5. State of the Industry in 2024:

Suppliers face challenges with inflation, skilled labor shortages, and global geopolitics, along with (for several countries) preparing for LDC Graduation (presented by Paul Baker). Yet, there are opportunities in market diversification, new regional and bilateral FTAs and higher value products, with exports generally recovering to pre-Covid levels.