SWITCH-Asia: Circular Development Finance

In order to support the further uptake of circular economy practices in the textile industry in the People’s Republic of China, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and the Transformative Actions Program (TAP) were assigned to the SWITCH-Asia Project to help mobilize sustainable infrastructure projects from small-to-medium sized enterprises and provide financing match-making opportunities.

Transitions to Circular Economy Practices in Textile and Apparel MSMEs Along the Lifecycle in Huzhou and Shaoxing

SWITCH-Asia Program

SWITCH-Asia is a program backed by the European Union (EU) and operational since 2007. The program aims to advance Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) in the region. The EU’s commitment to Sustainable Development Goal 12 and the Paris Agreement is reinforced by its 2019 EU Green Deal and Global Gateway initiatives, which facilitate the transition of countries in the region towards low-carbon, resource-efficient, and circular economy. Consequently, this has bolstered the knowledge foundation and momentum of the SWITCH-Asia program in assisting Asian countries in fulfilling their SCP obligations.


China’s Textile Sector

The People’s Republic of China is the largest producer and exporter of textile products in the world with an estimated export value of $323 billion in 2022. There are numerous enterprises of different sizes active within this sector,  among which the small-to-medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) seem to dominate. In fact, the small-to-medium sized enterprises account for more than 90% of the total number of enterprises in the country. The magnitude of the numbers and the scarcity of circular economy practices in the textile industry point towards the fact that reforms in the production processes of the small-to-medium sized enterprises could bring positive economic and environmental impacts.

The SWITCH-Asia projectTransitions to circular economy practices in textile and apparel MSMEs along the lifecycle in Huzhou and Shaoxing” aims to facilitate the transition to circular economy practices in the textile and fashion industry in respected cities by 2025. The specific objectives include:

  • Improved sustainable management, resource efficiency and adoption of circular economy principles by the local textile and fashion industry;
  • Conditions enabled for a conducive policy environment among key stakeholders for circular textile industry in Huzhou and Shaoxing; and
  • Increased access of textile and apparel industry to financing for eco-design, recycling investments and clean technology transfer.

ICLEI Circular Development

The SWITCH-Asia project, in transforming China’s textile sector, is guided by the Circular City Actions Framework and Circular Journey Strategy. The framework champions sustainable, resource-efficient practices at the local level, ensuring the project’s alignment with broader sustainable development objectives.


The role of TAP

The main role of the Transformative Actions Program (TAP) is to serve as a platform for mobilizing sustainable projects from small-to-medium sized enterprises, supporting them with business models, feasibility study designs and financing match-making opportunities. Using the world-wide local and regional government network, ICLEI and TAP can support the cities of Huzhou and Shaoxing and guide them towards faster transition to circular economy practices in the textile and apparel industry. The specific objectives are:

  1. Improve sustainable management and resource efficiency;
  2. Enable conditions for a conductive policy environment; and
  3. Increase access to financing for eco-design and recycling investments and clean technology transfer.

To meet this goal, the following three main activities will be implemented:

  • Mobilization and development of project concepts/interventions;
  • Technical assistance for further development with the goal to increase capacity and access finance for 5 shortlisted projects; and
  • Connecting projects with PPF providers and financial institutions.


Latest News


Awareness-Raising Event

Awareness-raising event will be held to initiate the activity. The participants of the event will have the chance to:

  • Find out multiple access to circular green financing mechanisms and opportunities in the textile sector;
  • Learn more on the Transformative Actions Program (TAP);
  • Engage TAP partners and other financial institutions in the “Circular economy practices in textile and apparel MSMEs along the lifecycle in Huzhou and Shaoxing” project;
  • Initiate the development of TAP project ideas; and
  • Establish contact between the project submitter MSMEs and ICLEI.

Lead Partner

China National Institute of Standardization (CNIS) is a national social service institution dedicated to standardization researches, it mainly addresses the global, strategic and comprehensive standardization issues in national economy and social development of China.


China Textile Development Center (CTDC)  is a national organization for the promotion of textile product development through its various functions such as information service, fabric trend forecast, developing new textile products, testing, quality assurance and marketing.

ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is a global network of more than 2500 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development. Active in 125+ countries, ICLEI influences sustainability policy and drive local action for low emission, nature-based, equitable, resilient and circular development.

The Regional Activity Centre for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP/RAC) is a centre for international cooperation with Mediterranean countries on development and innovation in the production sector and civil society, based on more sustainable consumption and production models.

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.