Sri Lanka apparel industry urged to focus on consumer concerns

August 10, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lankan apparel exporters have been advised to focus attention on the industry’s impact on the environment or ‘footprint’ and the chemical composition of its products in response to rising European consumer demands. The industry’s decision to specialise in the manufacture of intimate wear, lingerie and underwear is paying off and its markets share in Europe increasing, said Michael Scheffer, a European Union consultant.

“Social accountability is becoming mainstream with issues like the use of child labour a concern for consumers largely because of media exposure,” he told a group of apparel exporters Thursday.

One trend in the European market was the rise of ethical brands, specifically targeting ethical audiences, Sheffer said in a presentation on recent trends on EU trade and trade policy.

Organic Jeans

For example this may result in a consumer preference for jeans that only use organic cotton and only from certified factories, explained Scheffer, who was hired by the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF), the apex body for the industry which is one of the island’s main foreign exchange earners and a big employer.

He advised the industry to be prepared to start reporting on the ch