37 of 2022`

Newsletter No 37/30 September 2022                                 


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Less than 1% of discarded textiles are recycled back into clothing

By Daren Parker

In South Africa, only about 13% of textiles are recycled at all, while less than 1% is recycled back into clothing, environmental services company Pinpoint Sustainability director Nicola Jenkin revealed during a presentation to textile sector stakeholders of findings and recommendations set out in nonprofit economic research institution Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies’ (Tips’) ‘Designing Climate-Compatible Industrial Strategies for South Africa: The Textiles Value Chain’ research report.

Speaking on September 22, Jenkin said “consumer throwaway culture” was responsible for “frightening” waste statistics in the sector, which she attributed to the concept of “fast fashion” and the constant desire among consumers to have new clothes.

Offcuts produced in the processing stage, as well as manufacturing damages, were also cited as major sources of waste.

Jenkin noted that the minimisation of production and manufacturing waste alone could result in as much as 24-million tonnes of greenhouse-gas emissions savings globally.

She proposed that proper recycling guidelines be drawn up for the textiles sector, and that a textile waste recycling target of about 25% should be set, while a reduction of 15% in clothing to landfill and incineration should be achieved.

Jenkin also proposed that textile products should be introduced and recognised in the Extended Producer Responsibility

Regulations drawn up by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment.

The research aims and objectives were to look at the long-term future for the textiles sector to ensure that it is climate compatible and environmentally sustainable, which feeds into the development of an industrial strategy for the textiles value chain.

Although more recent statistics were difficult to acquire, Jenkin determined that the textiles sector contributed about R70-billion to South Africa’s gross domestic product in 2016 – about 3% – and employed about 210 000 people in 2020, although this number had certainly declined since.

However, these figures did not factor in the extended value chain in terms of agriculture or petrochemicals, for example.

Although the sector is trending towards greater local production owing to the South African Retail-Clothing, Textile, Footwear and Leather (R-CTFL) Masterplan, which was signed in 2019, the sector remained predominantly export focused, with about 56% of textiles, 54% of clothing and 61% of footwear sales coming from exports.

The Covid-19 pandemic also contributed to an increase in online clothing and footwear sales, along with a significant increase in the second-hand clothing market.

Jenkin highlighted how the textiles industry was a major contributor to climate change and created significant environmental impacts through resource depletion, air and water pollutants, energy consumption and chemical use.

She noted that the cost of upgrading machinery and buying new technology to make better use of recycled content was prohibitive for many in the sector.  Additionally, challenges relating to accessing more environment-conscious feedstock owing to costly logistics networks was also a concern.

Of significant concern to manufacturers was the expected reduction in the production output if textiles’ longevity was increased as consumers would buy less.

She said it was pertinent for manufacturers to take the lead in assessing their current wastage rates and identify opportunities to minimise and recycle in-factory, as well as to procure fibres and textiles containing recycled content as much as possible.

Jenkin said those companies that imported textiles, including retailers, should stipulate a minimum level of recycled content, recyclability and repairability in the products they procured. This would involve the identification of suitable suppliers.

In terms of government’s role, Jenkin believed that the challenge of waste reduction needed to be better addressed in the R-CTFL masterplan.

Moreover, the government needed to facilitate the development of a design for recyclability and longevity guidelines, as well as better incentivise recyclability.

“Recyclability and longevity guidelines already exist overseas; could they maybe be adapted?” Jenkin asked   EN

Tribunal releases public reasons for approving Foschini, Tapestry merger

The Tribunal’s reasons for conditionally approving the large merger whereby The Foschini Group Limited (“TFG”) intends to acquire Tapestry Home Brands (Pty) Ltd (“Tapestry”) have been released. Upon the implementation of the proposed transaction, TFG will exercise sole control over Tapestry. The reasons are available at https://www.comptrib.co.za/case-detail/19935. In summary:

The Tribunal approved the proposed merger subject to conditions including a three-year moratorium on any merger related retrenchments. In addition, the conditions stipulate that there will be no downward variation of wages and conditions of work in relation to employees of the merged entity, as a result of the proposed transaction. Furthermore, provided it is economically feasible to do so, the merged entity will (within a specified period) establish new retail stores across the Tapestry Brands and create new positions to service the new stores.


The Tribunal concluded that it is unlikely that the proposed merger will result in a substantial prevention or lessening of competition in any relevant market. Among others, the Tribunal considered the market shares; closeness of competition between the parties; and competitive constraints posed by alternative suppliers. The merger parties will continue to face competition from other established players in the market and it is unlikely that the merger will grant the merged entity the ability to price unilaterally post-merger.

Public interest

The proposed transaction will not result in any job losses and is likely to result in the creation of new jobs throughout the TFG value chain, according to the merger parties. In addition, the Tribunal has imposed a three-year moratorium on merger-related retrenchments.

Post-merger, a HDP shareholder will be introduced within the Tapestry Group, and this will have a positive effect on the spread of ownership. Having considered this and the conditions relating to expansion commitments and employment, the Tribunal is satisfied that the public interest concerns are adequately addressed.

The merger parties

The TFG Group is an independent chain-store group with a diverse portfolio of fashion retail businesses offering clothing, jewellery, cell phones, accessories, cosmetics, luggage, sporting apparel and equipment, homeware and furniture. Of particular relevance to the proposed transaction are the activities of TFG in the broader homeware sector. TFG controls numerous firms including Prestige Clothing, Foschini Stores, Cotton Traders and Markhams.

Tapestry is a manufacturer and retailer of household textiles, furniture, bed sets and mattresses. The Tapestry Group also offers a portfolio of popular home furnishing consumer brands such as Dial-a-Bed, the Bed Store, Volpes and Coricraft.

South African Clothing Retailers Reducing Reliance on Chinese Imports

By Linda Givet

A model presents a creation by local designers during a fashion show in Durban, South Africa, July 2, 2022.

The South African flag is increasingly decorating labels on garments at major retail chains across the country. It’s an effort to bolster the country’s clothing and textile sector.

More than half of the textiles sold by South African retailers are imported from abroad, according to the government, and nearly 60% of those imports come from China.

Retailers signing on to a master plan by the government to support local businesses say there are more benefits than just job creation.

Hazel Pillay, general manager of retailer Pick n Pay Clothing, said, “Being able to have the product made locally means that you can actually respond to what the customer needs more efficiently, which is really what every retailer wants — to move towards more fast response.”

Pick n Pay Clothing is among the retailers such as Woolworth’s, Mr. Price and Truworth’s increasing their supplies of locally sourced products from 28% in 2019 to 40% today. The shift is now gaining momentum on the heels of global trade disruptions due to the coronavirus pandemic, as well as record unemployment.

Katekani Moreku, a young designer recruited to aid in the effort,” said, “It gave me a lot of attention and gave me a lot of publicity. In the times that we live in when there’s a very high rate of unemployment, I think that it will have a very large impact that will create more jobs for all generations.”

Moreku estimates his collaboration with Pick n Pay in 2020 created about 1,000 jobs, from manufacturing to digital marketing.

That’s what the South African government wants to see, with a target of 121,000 new textile jobs by 2030.

More investment needed

But retailers, including Pick n Pay’s Pillay, say it will require investment in skills training and support for entrepreneurs.

“Before the 2000s, yes, the skills were readily available,” Pillay said. “And as [production] moved to China, investment in skills development, the investment in machinery all disappeared. But I think if we reviewed where the local business is in another 10 years, we’re certainly going to see a recovery in some of that style of product being manufactured locally.”

That growth is necessary as the retailer aims to have 60% of all textile goods sourced locally in the next five years.

But economists warn that setting quotas and targets alone won’t be enough to rebuild the industry.

Dawie Roodt, chief economist for financial services firm Efficient Group,” said, “What you need to do if you want to get more investments in textile and more localization in textile, or any industry for that matter, is for the government to become much more efficient. Like, for example, make sure that infrastructure works properly, make sure that it’s safe to invest in South Africa and things like that.”

Regular power cuts and decaying railways are impeding local manufacturers from producing and transporting goods.

And there are other practical barriers to closing the $3 billion trade imbalance between China and South Africa.

“Keep in mind that they’ve got economies of scale,” Roodt said. “South Africa as compared to China is a relatively small country. So I don’t think it will be possible for us to really compete in a big way.”

But for budding designers, even a small boost in the local industry gives hope for success in the future.  voanews

The most talked about Oscars dresses of all time

Charlize Theron, 2016

Tabloids called the Mad Max: Fury Road star “a vision in red,” and we couldn’t agree more. The perfect complement to that plunging neckline? A Harry Winston diamond necklace, which hit almost at her waist.

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