Women's Wear Daily

U.N. Report: Investors’ Sustainability Demands Spur Growth in Eco-Friendly Manufacturing

GENEVA — Increasing sustainability demands by enterprises and investors are spurring a growth in green Special Economic Zones in many developing countries with a focus in the new zones — including those manufacturing textiles and apparel — a U.N. report said. The report says a wave of industrial policies and competition for international investment has sparked a boom in the number of SEZs, which has increased to 5,383 worldwide (including 474 under development), up from 4,300 in 2014 and only 500 in 1995. More than 145 economies operate such zones today, according to the report. An additional 507 SEZs are in the pipeline, it said, of which 419 are in Asia — but none in China, the country with the most SEZs (2,543) — 53 in Africa and 24 in Latin America and the Caribbean. Besides China, other major apparel exporting countries with a large number of SEZs include India with 373, Turkey with 102, Bangladesh with 39 and Cambodia, 31. “There are many examples of SEZs that have played a key role in transforming economies, promoting greater participation in global value chains and catalyzing industrial upgrading,” said Mukhisa Kituyi, secretary-general of the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development. UNCTAD’s flagship “World Investment Report 2019

Follow WWD on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook.