Social Business Ideation in the Ethiopian Textile Sector

Together with Yunus Environment Hub we have conducted a feasibility study to explore the Ethiopian textile industry. The study has been financed by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) with the support of GIZ and sequa and in our role as founding members of CE4Africa e.V. The aim of the study is to develop innovative social business solutions that address the problem of unutilized textile wastes that are produced within the textile production processes.

The textile industry in Ethiopia is rapidly growing and has been declared as one of the priority sectors with high job creation potential. However, as history has shown, a strong textile sector doesn’t necessarily come along with an improvement in working or living conditions. Violations of social standards or even human rights have repeatedly proved to be part of the practices in global textile supply chains. Similarly, environmental damage remains a serious issue in the largely fast-paced textile sector, including leakage of microfibers in the ocean, landfilling of textiles or leakage of toxic substances used in manufacturing processes.

As part of the feasibility study we have conducted many interviews with local stakeholders on site in Ethiopia, as well as interviews with international experts from the field of textile and fashion with the objectives to gain further insights into the local ecosystem and to develop concrete social business concepts that can subsequently be implemented in the most efficient and impactful way.