A growing number of textile companies are facing the possibility of closure after decades of dominance by Irish companies, a report shows.
Key points:Irish companies dominate global production of garmentsSource:The Irish Times / The Irish Telegraph / ReutersThe report said that the world’s supply chain has changed significantly since the mid-1990s and that there was a clear need for change to improve the viability of the industry.
“The industry is being driven by a new breed of international manufacturers, but they are not doing enough to meet the requirements of local economies,” it said.
“As a result, the world is losing out on a valuable resource.”
The report by the Global Alliance of International Labour (GAIL), which is the umbrella organisation of global labour organisations including the United Nations, also highlighted the importance of working with partners in the supply chain to improve their efficiency.
“Working with a partner to improve supply chain efficiency is an essential part of any global business, particularly when there are issues around environmental, social, ethical and labour rights, as we have highlighted in this report,” it added.
“We are encouraged by the response from the Irish government and the global textile community to this important report.”
A number of global firms have already laid off workers in recent months, and the report said the sector is facing the “most significant labour shortage in decades”.
“There are over 8,000 garment workers in Ireland and many of them are facing redundancy, lay-offs and other consequences as the industry closes down,” it read.
“While some are still in employment, the vast majority have not received the pay they need and the jobs are not being filled.”
The Global Alliance for Industrial Policy and Research said that in the last decade, the number of garment factories in the world has grown by more than 70%.
“In addition to the global market for the garment, there are significant concerns around the sustainability of the Irish garment industry,” the report read.
It added that the Irish Government should also “reconsider” its policy on “non-residential use” of waste products in factories, which it is currently considering.
“It is not surprising that Ireland is a major source of foreign direct investment in the apparel industry, with a large proportion of the garments manufactured in Ireland being exported to the US, Europe and Asia,” the organisation said.
The report also highlighted how the global supply chain for garments is being affected by technological advancements.
“Over the last 25 years, the technology has changed dramatically.
The number of factories has increased by almost 30%, from a total of 4,000 to more than 16,000, and in some countries, the manufacturing capacity is now less than 1,000 employees,” it continued.”
Despite this, there is a clear demand for a more efficient and cost-effective supply chain.
In order to meet this demand, a number of international firms are looking to the supply chains of countries such as China, India, Brazil and Japan to help them meet the needs of the global consumer.”
However, in these increasingly fragmented supply chains, it is unclear what level of technology and infrastructure will be sufficient to ensure the sustainability and long-term health of the world-leading global textile industry.