Going Green

The textile sector is critical to the Indian economy – it contributes 14% to industrial production, 4% to GDP, and 17% to export earnings. It also provides direct employment to over 35 million people including large numbers of marginalised groups such as tribals and women. However the sector is fragmented with large numbers of individual artisans who are both economically and socially vulnerable, with high levels of poverty and poor access to basic services such as health, water, housing and sanitation. The textile industry is also known for its excessive water use and pollution, and this is expected to increase as demand for textile products grow. The main challenges relate to: degradation and depletion of natural resources; use of toxic chemicals/processes leading to pollution and health problems for artisans; and insufficient policies/incentives to adopt environment friendly practices or their ineffective implementation. Despite the highly negative environmental impact of SMEs there is a lack of support and incentives for them to adopt more eco-friendly processes to reduce the damage caused by textile production. There is also a lack of resources to implement eco-friendly solutions to address these issues.

Supported by the European Union’s ‘Switch Asia’ project, this project is therefore targeted at SMEs/artisans in the textile sector. It will directly contribute to economic competitiveness and poverty reduction in India by reducing the economic, social and environmental costs of the textile industry.


January 2014-December 2017


Uttar Pradesh- Varanasi, Lucknow; Rajasthan- Jaipur, Churu, Kota, Udaipur

Project Area

  • Lobbying and advocacy for policy change to support sustainable production processes in textile clusters/districts
  • Implementing environmentally-friendly technologies with textile SMEs and artisans in target clusters.
  • Building the capacity of textile SMEs and artisans to access resources (including financial and technology)
  • Developing and marketing an eco-friendly line of ‘green’ textile product.

Expected Outcomes

  • Textile SMEs and artisans have increased bargaining power/representation at national level.
  • Increased use of efficient eco-friendly processes by textile SMEs and artisans
  • Textile SMEs and artisans (particularly women) have finance and services to build efficient eco-friendly businesses (including access to relevant finance, technology and services)
  • Increased demand for ‘green’ products in domestic and international markets.