One of the major sporting events of the summer of 2014 was the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. While the island did not compete directly in the tournament, it did make a significant contribution – through high-tech sportswear.
Using innovative techniques, polyethylene terephthalate (PET – a material frequently derived from recycled plastic bottles) can be broken down into a fabric which is more comfortable and sweat-absorbent than cotton.
The method has been so successful that at the 2014 World Cup, the kits of 10 national football teams were products made on the island.
PET recycled clothing is also a big earner; FIFA estimated that profits from the World Cup would be more than US$ 40 billion, and that the island’s textile industry would be the main beneficiary of this. According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the island holds 70 per cent of the PET recycled sportswear market.
According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the island holds 70% of the PET recycled sportswear market
The island made a significant contribution to the FIFA World Cup in Brazil – the kits of 10 national teams were made from PET recycled clothing.
Leaders in recycling
The island is proud of its commitment to environmental sustainability and has been leading the green initiative in Asia since the 1990s – it was placed third in the 2013 World Competitiveness Yearbook sustainable development rankings.
And recycling is a particular success; the rate of recycling plastic bottles, for example, has now reached 95 per cent, higher than the 75 per cent achieved in Japan.*
This can be attributed largely to the authorities’ subsidy and incentive policy.
Having set up a fund to encourage recycling and waste reduction, the authorities now spend 6 billion New Taiwan dollars a year on subsidies paid to the recycling companies. Statistics show that this policy has proved increasingly lucrative; in 2011, for example, 193,000 tonnes of plastic were collected and converted into raw materials worth US$ 172 million.*
Since the technological island is home to several world-renowned electronics companies, such as Asus, Acer and HTC, finding an adequate solution for the huge volume of discarded electronic components has previously been a problem.
In response to demand, a number of electronic waste recycling companies have been set up. These companies have greatly enhanced the island’s recycling capabilities and it can now fully meet the challenge of recycling substantial quantities of electrical components, while also making a profit.
Spreading the word on green products
It is the awareness of sustainable development that is driving the green revolution of the island’s industry, along with the understanding of how green industries can strengthen the economy as a whole. According to the Taiwan External Trade Development Council, the island’s green exports accounted for 13.5 per cent of total exports in 2012, amounting to US$ 40.5 billion.
The authorities actively encourage the growth of “green business” through raising awareness, and there are a number of exhibitions and workshops that take place each year focusing on green industries and their business opportunities on the island.
One of these events is the Eco-Products International Fair, which in 2014 featured winners of the Taiwan Green Classics Awards.
The Awards recognise green products and services of the highest quality and innovation, and winners gain exposure through various marketing initiatives.
Also, the Bureau of Foreign Trade produces the Taiwan Eco Products Directory, listing products with environmentally friendly components, such as LED lighting applications, printing materials and environmental protection and pollution prevention products. The directory can also serve as a reference for green procurement.
For more information on green trade, visitwww.green.taiwantrade.com.tw
Case study: Taiwan Cooperative Bank
Taiwan Cooperative Bank (TCB) was founded in 1946 and its business ranges from banking, insurance and securities, to trusts and asset management.
Over many decades TCB has built up a solid customer base. As of 31 May 2014 the Bank had 287 domestic branches and 10 overseas outlets, creating the most extensive branch network of the island’s banks and positioning itself as a market leader in deposits and loans business – TCB boasts NT$2.41 trillion in deposits and NT$1.91 trillion in loans business.
To help customers increase their foreign trade in central and eastern Europe, TCB joined the TFP as a confirming bank. It will continue to provide its customers with a complete array of financial services, as well as striving to become a global bank and to fulfil its commitment to being the best financial institution for nationals around the world.
* Source: the Taiwanese Environmental Protection Administration.