Chapter 6: The role of multinational enterprises in the textile and clothing industry in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals: barriers and opportunities for the future
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The effects of human activities on the natural environment threaten the very existence of many industries. Environmental degradation, social inequality and uneven distribution of wealth are increasingly critical issues which impact everyone on the planet. Developed by the United Nations in 2015, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are one of the few holistic global initiatives and have been adopted by 195 nations across the world. The goals are a consensus-based agenda for economic, environmental and social development for the next ten years. The business community, particularly those belonging to the textile and clothing industry, is aware of the current challenges posed by their activities. Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) mostly agree upon this sustainable approach. They have accepted these pressing issues and have expressed their commitment to rethink their strategies and investments in the coming years. Many of these companies have sustainability initiatives in place. Nevertheless, they face rising challenges such as extreme levels of pollution, scarcity of resources alongside changes in consumer behaviour. Therefore, they must develop strategies which allow them to develop their activities over the long term without negatively impacting the environment. In this chapter, the authors explain where the opportunities lie for sustainable growth for MNEs in the textile and clothing industry and more specifically, how the SDGs might be attained. They also consider different sections of the value chain and their role in achieving the goals through collaboration with the various stakeholders. Finally, they present the barriers MNEs might face and how they might be avoided.

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