Sustainability for Competitiveness – Developing the textile and leather industry of Ethiopia

International competitiveness, sector development and trade have been main focus areas for the AACCSA – CTS cooperation. Having identified sustainability as one of the key gaps for trade to happen AACCSA and CTS have focused on this – with companies on concrete application and implementation and on board of directors and assembly level with AACCSA with a broader perspective on all the manufacturing industries. Specific focus has been put on the textile and leather which is a growing industry creating a good opportunity for increased trade between Ethiopian and International companies.

Within the textile, leather and garment industries CSR and sustainability is a key success factor. Both to get market, to be relevant for customers, adhere to trade regulations and to be a sustainable company for the future. Starting off with a general workshop in 2014, CTS and AACCSA offered a deepened focus on April 21-22 in Addis Ababa.

The April workshop focused on CSR and Sustainability as a tool for being competitive on the international market and how they are a competitive advantage as well as a requirement when working with international buyers. Gathering some of the top managers and directors within the industry the workshop, the lecturers and the participants themselves created inspiration, shared knowledge and started planning for action and business.

A lot of the inputs were focused on giving a better understanding about Sustainability and how this can be a part of business, how it can be used to increase their competitiveness towards the international market as well as looking at the requirements and information needed to work with international customers and buyers.

Planning for action entailed finding a way to use sustainability to strengthen your offer to customers answering and creating individual action plans related to: How can working with sustainability help your company to strengthen current customer relations or secure new customers? How can you help your current or potential customers improve their sustainability performance? How can you create a unique offering for your customers?

Furthermore looking at what the company need to be able to provide these type services to current or future customers and how to create a concrete strategy for implementation.

Future activities and cooperation will focus on strengthening the capacity of the Ethiopian companies and creating the pre-requisites and matching for business.

Sofie Wikander, Programme Manager