In 2019, preliminary work done by The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), through the EU funded SwitchMed Programme, identified the potentials for improving the circularity of the textile industry in three key North African nations, namely Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt.
Studies found that the textile and apparel (T&A) industries in these three countries generate an estimated 326 ktons of post-industrial textile waste annually: 212 KTons from Egypt (Switchmed, 2022), 83,2 KTons from Morocco and 31,1 Ktons from Tunisia (Switchmed, 2021). Breakdown of this waste is below, taken from the same data sources:
In an effort to build an effective business case and to identify concrete business potential for this waste, an extensive gap analysis will be conducted using new and previous data that will help to determine the balance of supply in North Africa and demand in Europe for textile waste.
With the initial research conducted, Closed Loop Fashion (CLF) and Reverse Resources (RR) aim to expand the mapping on three fronts (1) the localised waste handling players in each country, (2) the potential buyers or market for said waste, and (3) the creation of localised job opportunities.
The demand for textile waste for processes like fibre-to-fibre (F2F) recycling is increasing, driven by market trends, and so international F2F recyclers search for material feedstock. Developing circular supply chain set-ups for these regions not only secures business potential and reduces waste, it helps the sector reach environmental goals and climate targets: currently, 70% of the fashion industry’s emissions come from upstream activities. Whilst assessment and analysis are the initial Work Phase, these will result in the development of concrete pipeline projects.
Publicly-available data and contractor knowledge and expertise will be used to draw up a current understanding of the required new data in Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt.
More widely, the analysis on current trends in Europe are essential in understanding the demand — which determines the potential of any followup projects. The contractors will thus research further on: trends in fashion brands when it comes to sustainable sourcing and circular economy targets, demand for textile waste material feedstocks, current and future EU regulations on circular economy to name a few points of interest.
This market analysis is key to understanding if there is indeed a business case for textile producers in North Africa to become a central point of supply for large European chemical recyclers. The mapping and analysis allows the contractors to develop preliminary project ideas with specific objectives and areas of impact.
This project “Circular Economy in the textile sector in North Africa: Sector Assessment & Identification of Cooperation Potentials for GIZ Special Initiative on Training and Job Creation” is conducted jointly by Closed Loop Fashion and Reverse Resources on behalf of the German Development Cooperation/ Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in the framework of the Special Initiative on Training and Job Creation “Invest for Jobs” – aiming to support German, European and African companies who invest and expand their business activities in Africa.