Contributed by Global Sources
More manufacturers jump on the 'green' wagon amid stricter export regulations, growing alternatives and rising demand.
|QC personnel inspect cutting, stitching and ironing processes as well as finished products to ensure compliance with the Oeko-Tex Standard 100.
Treading the "green" path is on the rise among manufacturers in China, albeit at different levels of adoption. Be it in the garments, jewelry, stationery, paint or consumer electronics industries, more companies are adopting ecologically safe materials, including recycled substitutes.
Suppliers are motivated by two main factors. Most are compelled to do so because of increasingly stringent product regulations in their key export destinations, namely the EU and the US. RoHS, for example, curbs the use of elements and compounds that are perilous to the environment. Among these are lead and cadmium. Although the EU directive applies only to electrical and electronic products, makers in other industries such as fashion jewelry are taking heed and dispensing with these substances.
A few are tapping the eco trend as a marketing tool to help them move to upscale manufacture and break away from cutthroat competition in the low end. Because there is a premium attached to green models, companies can charge 5 to 50 percent more for these items.
Natural, sustainable alternatives
Apart from ensuring components are free from toxins, many companies are incorporating materials that are grown with as little impact on the environment as possible.
Cotton farmers are the leading users of insecticide globally, accounting for 16 percent of total consumption. Organic cotton that is cultivated without toxic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers promotes healthier products, biodiversity conservation and reduction of noxious chemicals seeping into the environment.
Tencel, which is a brand of regenerated cellulose fiber made from dissolved wood pulp, is another eco-friendly material that is often used in pants and coats. It is normally mixed with cotton at a ratio of up to 1:3.
Rayon from bamboo is also incorporated in the production of garments. Aside from being biodegradable, it is one of the most efficient among all types of natural fibers in terms of moisture absorption and breathability.
Other natural materials that makers are turning to are silk, bamboo charcoal, and soybean and milk protein fibers.
Apart from the textile application, bamboo is being employed as an alternative to wood, which is currently in short supply. Some makers have even found ways to reshape the naturally hollow and cylindrical plant by processing it in high-pressure machines.
Bamboo's short maturity cycle, wide availability, and proven strength and durability make the material not only an ecologically safer option to wood, but also a more profitable one.
Wood pulp, the most common material for paper making, has been linked to a number of environmental issues, including deforestation, and air and water pollution. This has prompted suppliers to turn to earth-friendly alternatives, which are becoming increasingly available. Among these are nonwood pulp paper, including cotton, bamboo and reed pulp, and bagasse and stone variants.
Recycled paper such as the kraft type is also a green option. In terms of quality, recycled paper holds up against conventional versions. It has some usage limitations, however, including unsuitability for color printing.
"Although products made of eco-friendly paper are priced higher, the acceptance of customers is high. Both our old and new customers place orders actively for such products," said Wang Hao of Zhejiang Guangbo Group Co. Ltd, a stationery maker.
Toy makers cited recycled sawdust, which was merely discarded as a wood byproduct, as a suitable substitute material. Apart from yielding environmental benefits, it improves crack- and heat-resistant properties in toys such as role-play sets. Being easier to process than wood, this alternative also has a shorter production time and simpler molding procedures.
In the beauty and cosmetics line, the trend is reflected in the simpler and recycled or recyclable packaging being adopted by many makers. Refills are likewise more gradually being promoted.
Read the rest of the story at Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.
Learn the Ins and Outs of Exporting
Since 1964, the Export Institute of the United States has brokered US$80,000,000 in sales between U.S. exporters and foreign buyers and established more than 300 successful agents and distributors for U. S. companies in 60 foreign countries.
In 1987, the Institute decided to share its extensive experience in international trade and became actively involved in teaching businesses and individuals how to export profitably. It introduced the Export Sales & Marketing Manual, the first step-by-step "how to export" manual available in the United States. The export manual was an immediate success. It has been updated annually for 23 consecutive years and is currently being used throughout the United States and in 76 foreign countries. It is referred to worldwide as the "Bible of Exporting".
In 2003, the Institute was the first to offer Online Export Classes. Like the export manual, these online classes became the standard of the export industry! As an example, they are the only online courses that update the content on a daily basis to ensure that the information is always current and ready for immediate use. Students throughout the United States and in 47 foreign countries have earned a Certificate in Export Management.
The Export Institute has always been ahead of its competitors in quality and customer service. As evidence of its leadership, the Institute's Export Sales & Marketing Manual and Online Export Classes are endorsed and recommended by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).
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Export Institute of the United States
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Assembly Member William Monning Keynoted 'The Importance of Agricultural Exports in our State Economy'
March 19, 2010 - Salinas, CA
Over 70 participants attended the successful luncheon seminar hosted by MBITA and the Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce in Salinas on March 19th. The ‘keynote’ speaker was
Assembly Member William Monning.
Candy Hansen-Gage, Director of the Center for Int'l Trade Development – Fresno, discussed how the California Agricultural Export Training Program or "CalAgX" benefits the producers, processors and marketers of California grown or processed specialty crops. This successful program is starting its 5th consecutive year and is offered statewide. Also, she discussed current agricultural trends, emerging markets, and export services available through the California Centers for International Trade Development (CITD) network.
This seminar also featured Robert Tse, Deputy Secretary of Trade Development for the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), who provided a comprehensive overview of the past history and future opportunities for California agricultural exporters including information on a USDA's 2010 forecast.
During the lunch portion of the event, Paul V. Oliva, Founder and Principal of Oliva Global Communications opened the luncheon with a presentation on how food products are getting caught in a "spaghetti bowl" tangle of bilateral trade agreements in the Asia-Pacific where officials are now discussing further rules on food safety, food security, and public health. Additionally, Mr. Oliva discussed how Europe is embarking on a grand experiment with paper-free import and export shipments."Northern California has some of the world's richest land, a history of innovation in food and agriculture, and strong international growth potential. I'm excited to see how growers, packagers, and ag technology suppliers can be a force for meeting President Obama's export expansion goals," Paul Oliva declared.
The ‘keynote’ speaker for the luncheon was Assembly member William Monning, of the 27th Assembly District who spoke about how California's economic revival is dependent on international trade expansion and promotion.“California’s budget crisis continues to unfold as we face a $20 billion projected deficit through the 2010-11 budget year. This projected deficit comes on top of a $41 billion budget gap last year and a combined $60 billion deficit over the past 18 months," Monning stated.
It is precisely because of the recession and the global economic crisis that Assembly Member Monning is a supporter of expanding California’s trade promotion and opportunities to create good paying jobs. As the former Director of the International Trade and Commercial Diplomacy Master’s Degree program at the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS), Monning is well aware of the critical role of international trade to our state and nation’s economy."I will continue to be a strong proponent of export promotion, especially for agricultural products that are vital to the economic health of our region and the state, and I believe that the road to California's economic recovery must include an expansion of exports and promotion of our region's products and services," Monning concluded.
To see the speakers' presentations, visit the agenda of this event at www.mbita.org/events/calagexports-seminar.html.
|L-R: Tony Livoti, MBITA President and Assembly Member William Monning, 27th Assembly District.
Congressman Sam Farr Keynotes 'The Monterey bay Marketplace - A Model for the World'
May 10, 2010 - Monterey, CA
The Monterey Bay of California is truly a unique region on the global map. Its rural population of 600,000+ people stand tall in the global marketplace as leaders in agriculture, marine biology, clean-tech, advanced education and information technologies, in addition to being the ‘language’ capital of the world. The Monterey Bay region is also a center for entrepreneurs who ignite innovative concepts and business models that can be followed by other business communities located throughout the world.
President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI) is pledging to double exports in the next 5 years and it will be the topic of the day for the MBITA's Monterey Chapter seminar/luncheon on May 10th in partnership with the Monterey County Business Council (MCBC). The event will feature experts in export promotion with a special presentation by Congressman Sam Farr on the NEI.
Starting with a seminar at 10:00am, Chris Damm, Director of the Monterey Bay Export Assistance Center – U.S. DOC Foreign Commercial Service, will discuss the National Export Initiative's Export Promotion Strategy. The Commercial Service of the Department of Commerce is the leading government agency for the NEI. The NEI will provide more funding, more focus and more cabinet-level coordination to grow U.S. exports. The NEI represents the first time the United States will have a government-wide export-promotion strategy with focused attention from the President and his cabinet.
Leslie Levy August, General Secretary of Trade Bridge International, Inc, will provide an overview of current available resources to develop an export strategy, before the NEI will take action. The right combination of export assistance can get an export marketing program up and running with or without the President Obama’s pledge to double exports in the next five years. Two handy export services that are a mouse-click away and can help jump-start your export program and they are the ATA Carnet International Customs Document and Export Cargo Insurance. Special focus will be on the needs of small and medium companies and how export service providers can be an integral and trusted extension of their staff and export programs.
Maurice Kogon, Director of the Center for Int'l Trade Development – El Camino College, will cover two federally-funded grant projects of the El Camino College Center for International Trade Development (ECC/CITD) that provides significant benefits to the California trade community: the International Trade Compliance Institute (ITCI) and the 7-Step Green Export Enabler Program.
“In the competitive environment we are all in, we need to continually educate our region’s companies and their workforce on the tools and assistance available through partners like MBITA. This is a must attend for anyone wanting to expand their business sector”, says Mary Ann Leffel, President of the Monterey County Business Council (MCBC). Ms Leffel will be giving a presentation on her unique economic development program for Monterey County that is a model that can be followed by other regions in the world with similar business environments to the Monterey Bay.
“The increased support from Washington D.C. to increase exports for small to mid-sized companies under the NEI is something the Monterey Bay region can take full advantage since the world looks to us for innovation and technology in marine biology, clean-tech, IT and agricultural industry sectors”, states Tony Livoti President of MBITA.
The ‘keynote’ speaker for the luncheon will be Congressman Sam Farr, of the 17th District. Congressman Sam Farr will speak about the National Export Initiative (NEI), Free Trade Agreements and how they will affect our region. He will also provide a general overview of the latest initiatives from Congress as it pertains to our local business climate.
Further details and registration for this seminar/luncheon can be found at www.mbita.org/events/samfarrluncheon2010.html
|Ayse Oge is a published author and global trade marketing expert. Ayse's Corner will be a new periodic feature for the World TradeWinds eZine'
Global Cultural Diversity
by Ayse Oge
In a recent Ernst & Young survey it was stated that the majority of U.S. companies lack cultural understanding and diversity of thought to properly manage global business. Almost half of the companies operating in 25 or more countries indicated that they had at most only a few directors from outside the company’s home territory. Yet they agreed upon the fact that a globally savvy staff was essential in conducting business effectively abroad.
World leaders focused on the three themes, Rethink, Redesign and Rebuild, in their discussions at the last Davos, Switzerland Economic Forum meetings held on January 26, 2010. The pressing need for new ideas, global cultural diversity and practices came to the forefront in the Summit to get ahead in the interconnected world.
The new global and cultural diversity-oriented leaders need to take into account three essentials:
- Global Mindset: The ability to see the world as a whole, ready to contribute and compromise when needed. Recognizing global opportunities around the world and interpreting diversity beyond race and gender. Seeing differences in culture, educational background skills, using generation as an advantage to bring in innovation and creativity. Integrating new information without compromising core values.
- Recognize cultural values and biases: A great example of developing strong relationships is the story of Microsoft in China. When Microsoft first entered the Chinese market in 1980, it suffered huge losses due to the pirating of its products and not having the cooperation of the Chinese government to stop it. Once Microsoft started to partner with China in building local research and development labs, hiring Chinese engineers for its global operation and promoting China as a research and development partner, a highly profitable and mutually beneficial relationship was established between them.
- Continuous learning: The ability to have an open mind, learn from new information and perfect the best practices to build strong relations.
Leaders need to adopt a global mindset and see diverse perspectives as an opportunity to survive and excel in these tough economic times.
Ayse Oge is President of Ultimate Trade, International Trade Consulting, Speaking and Training and Training and Counselor at SCORE. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org