China currently accounts for 71% of the world's silk production...
- this sector occupies some 20 million farmers, as well as 500,000 people in the silk processing industry. The annual turnover of the China National Silk Import and Export Corporation alone is US$ 2–2.5 billion;
- shipments of fabrics, garments and other finished products are growing by more than 30% annually;
- in 2002, China produced 547,600 tons of silkworm cocoons;
- in the first 10 months of 2003, China exported silk and silk products valued at US$2.036 billion, 10.93% higher than the same period of the previous year;
- China, where consumers are increasingly able to afford the lower price range silk products, is also experiencing an incredibly fast-growing local demand;
- it is worthwhile considering the environmental and social impact that such a rapid increase in production has caused;
- several stages of silk production including dyeing, printing and garment making may cause environmental pollution, mainly in the form of polluted water. Additives used in finishing and sand-washing may also contain harmful chemicals;
- however, China is trying to apply eco-labelling criteria for silk products based on the ‘cradle to grave’ approach, which set requirements for raw materials, production processes, and final products.