Supporting sustainable production in the textile industry

Project description

Title: Sustainable textile industry in Cambodia
Commissioned by​​​​​​​: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)​​​​​​​
Country: Cambodia​​​​​​​
Lead executing agency: Cambodian Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF)​​​​​​​
Overall term​​​​​​​: 2021 to 2024

Workers at sewing machines in a production facility. Copyright: Roman Koenig


The textile industry is a major contributor to Cambodia’s economic and social development: it generates almost 70 per cent of export earnings and offers employment and incomes for around 800,000 textile workers, roughly 80 per cent of whom are women. However, production in this industry still uses basic technology and simple structures. In addition, the working conditions for employees are characterised by low occupational health and safety standards, low wages, and a lack of workplace codetermination. The people in positions of responsibility have not yet acquired the level of understanding of sustainability issues needed to drive modernisation towards sustainable production, which is both a competitive factor and a key to success.

A worker holding up garments she has ironed. Copyright: Roman Koenig


Public and private stakeholders make greater use of approaches which aim to bring about a socially, environmentally and economically sustainable transformation of Cambodia’s textile industry.


The project uses several approaches to promote the three dimensions of sustainability in Cambodia’s textile industry:

It seeks to create the necessary conditions for a holistic, sustainable transformation of the industry. This requires regular discussions using public-private dialogue formats, and strengthened management skills in companies.

In addition, optimised services, such as financial literacy training, are intended to improve textile workers’ living and working conditions.

To reduce the environmental damage caused by production processes, the project will, among other things, support technical dialogue formats that encourage knowledge-sharing, as well as a circular economy pilot project.

Employees sitting in groups as they work together during a training session. Copyright: Roman Koenig

Last update: September 2022

Additional information