CEO and Founder, SmartNews
Under the leadership of Ronna Chao, Hong Kong-based Novetex Textiles is making big steps to tackle the issue of waste in the fashion industry.
Since joining the family-owned business in 2010, following several years working at Goldman Sachs and Tommy Hilfiger, Chao has been driving initiatives to challenge and improve industry standards. Key to this has been the development of the Billie system, a waterless method for upcycling textile waste.
To house the system, Chao opened a new facility — the first textile mill to open in Hong Kong in over half a century — which recycles fibers that are then delivered for textile production at Novetex’s plant in mainland China. The Billie system has already been recognized at numerous global innovation and sustainability awards.
Chao accepts that Novetex’s efforts are just a beginning, pointing out that its facility tackles barely 1% of the textile waste produced in Hong Kong alone.
"The Billie system provides a solution to only one part of a much larger textile waste problem. We see this as the beginning of many initiatives and innovative concepts that are set to change industry standards for the better,” she tells Business Insider.