The Indonesia Textile Association (API) on Nov. 26 2020 organized an online symposium called Towards Responsible Supply Chain. Living up to its promise to highlight stakeholder cooperation, the event featured panellists from different backgrounds related to the textile industry, representing policymakers, think tanks, producers, suppliers and end-users.
According to data from the Ministry of Industry (MOI), the Indonesia textile & textile product sector contracted 8.37 percent in the second quarter of 2020 as a result of a decline in domestic consumption and exports. Yet in the third quarter, the sector bounced back to 2.97 percent growth.
The speakers included the Director of textile, lether and footwear MOI Elis Masitoh, PT Asia Pacific Rayon (APR) director Basrie Kamba, API chairman Jemmy Kartiwa Sastraatmaja, Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (INDEF) senior researcher Aviliani, Indonesian Convection and Textile Factory chief executive officer Michelle Tjokrosaputro, Asia Pacific Fibres president director Ravi Shankar and H&M Indonesia regional sustainability manager Anya Sapphira. The discussion was moderated by Royston Advisory Indonesia managing partner Affan Alamudi.
The first challenge is to bolster local rayon fiber production so that Indonesia can attain raw material sovereignty, all the while exporting the fiber abroad, instead of just importing less sustainable raw materials. According to Basrie, this is quite essential because the global textile and fashion industry is now demanding sustainable raw material alternatives, under the new circular economy model.
The ministry also recognizes the same trend. “The global demand for an ecologically friendly textile production process has become an inevitability. Thus, we must push for the development of biodegradable and renewable rayon fiber use,” wrote Industry Minister Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita in a keynote address for the event. The address was read by a ministry officer representing Agus.
Jemmy, meanwhile, urged stakeholders to address Indonesia’s high levels of textile imports. “To strengthen the domestic sustainable textile market, we also need to control our import of textile products. Our high textile imports have already impacted our textiles and textile products, as well as the overall trade balance quite negatively,” he said.
Agus continued in his note that the ministry had set its sights on substituting 35 percent of imported textile materials with locally produced ones by 2022, focusing on ecofriendly raw materials. “We are offering tax holidays for investors who inject the local textile sector with capital amounting to more than Rp 500 billion (US$35.5 million). We also offer other types of incentives for investors,” Elis said.
The ministry is also conducting a sustainable fashion campaign targeting both producers and consumers to demonstrate its support for the circular economy. The second challenge is to strengthen local textile and textile production bases, not only by using state-of-the-art machinery but also by training workers to be able to operate these machineries in keeping with the Industry 4.0 era.
Meanwhile, Aviliani reminded policymakers of some homework that they needed to do to push Indonesia’s sustainable textile industry even further. “I applaud the ministry’s incentive policies. Yet most of the incentive policies that the ministry has rolled out were formulated in consideration of the supply side only, without really targeting consumers on the demand side,” she said.
All the panelists in the symposium have agreed to intensify their interdisciplinary collaboration to push for a more sustainable textile industry going forward, recognizing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership as a great opportunity to link up with various business entities and stakeholders abroad who can support local players in their efforts.**