Vera Baumann has been in charge of communications on sustainable textiles and the ‘German Sustainable Textile Partnership’ at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development since 2016. Before that she headed the Department for Economic Cooperation at the German Embassy in Tirana, Albania, where textile production is one of the most important business sectors.
Too often we hear unidirectional demands, such as: ‘We just need stricter laws’, ‘non-sustainable clothing mustn’t cross EU borders’ or ‘We need to better educate consumers’. What is really needed, is a holistic approach. The German Sustainable Textile Partnership, initiated by Federal Minister Dr. Gerd Müller in 2014, represents one such approach and delivers critical mass. Roughly 150 members recently committed to implement specific measures by 2017 – among them the Federal Government, around 30 NGOs, labour unions and standardizing agencies, as well as over 100 textile companies which generate 50% of Germany’s textile retail turnover (e.g. Adidas, Aldi, C&A, H&M, Hugo Boss, KIK, Lidl, Olymp, Primark and Tschibo, but also sustainability innovators such as 3Freunde and Vaude). The Sustainable Textile Partnership is a historic chance! Never before there was such concentrated commitment for sustainale textiles in Germany.We need a long breath, then we can make sustainable textiles a normality.