Earth-Friendly Fashion: Embracing Sustainability! Gary Hsieh, Executive Vice President of UKL: Because We Believe, Each of Us Can Be the Source

July 03, 2024 – (SeaPRwire) – Founded in 1988, UKL, highlighted in a report by ‘The Icons‘, exemplifies Taiwanese business values under founder Judy Tsai’s leadership. Known for integrity, professionalism, and innovation, UKL has thrived as a key supplier of premium sweaters and knitwear to global brands in Europe and America. Under Executive Vice President Gary, Huan Chi Hsieh, UKL has emerged as a leader in sustainable fashion, marking a significant shift in recent years.

Gary Hsieh leads the UKL team and has consecutively won the SME award in the 2022 DBS Foundation Grant Program and two awards in the 2023 Taiwan Golden Pin Design Award. Recently, UKL’s brand, PALF, was selected as a highlight in the “THE GREEN BOOK Taiwan Sustainable Actions and Solutions Guide” by Good Loop Exchange and Business Weekly. UKL also won two design awards at the 2024 iF Design Awards in Germany, becoming an international leader in green fashion. Gary Hsieh firmly stated

“The path of sustainable fashion is full of challenges, but we can still move forward confidently and invite more like-minded partners to walk alongside us. Believing in doing what is beneficial for the environment and humanity will attract more partners to join the path of sustainability. ‘Believe, and you will see!'”

Gary Hsieh: Sustainability Should Be Boldly Practiced and Worn!

Gary pointed out that since the lifting of export quota restrictions on China’s textile industry, the global textile industry has been forced to rethink how to transform due to the reorganization of resources and changes in labor costs. It was during this challenging time that he started overseeing the company’s business development department.

“I realized that the company must transition from the traditional OEM model to ODM, allowing our clients to showcase greater design capabilities and even brand strength in the market.”

This transformation naturally brought a series of challenges to the company’s transition. However, it gradually cultivated new competitiveness for the company, including ample preparation for leading sustainable fashion in the future:

“Continuously launching one sustainable fashion product after another, all fully circular textile products, is what I aim to do. Sustainability should not remain in the heart or be mere talk on paper; it should be boldly practiced and worn! Moreover, I want everyone to wear it fashionably, leading the times not only in sustainability issues but also in aesthetics.”

Utilizing Local Materials for Circular Reuse: Paving the Way to Sustainable Fashion

First, the UKL team launched EVOPURE+, collaborating with the Chinese Professional Baseball League to introduce eco-friendly apparel like the “Fully Circular T-shirt.” This initiative, marking Taiwan’s first wide-fit, eco-friendly garment made from fully circular fabric, showcases UKL’s commitment to sustainability.

Beyond fashion, Gary identified pineapple leaves, a plentiful Taiwanese agricultural byproduct, as a resource for eco-friendly fiber production. This led to PALF (Pineapple Leaves Fiber), known for its biodegradability, breathability, and durability. ISO14067-certified for its low carbon footprint, PALF represents a sustainable alternative to conventional textiles. Gary believes in aligning business success with environmental stewardship, exemplifying this through UKL’s diverse product range—from fashion accessories to home decor—that promote a sustainable ecosystem. His journey underscores the transformative power of entrepreneurship in advancing global sustainability goals.

“Through the process of applying for international B Corporation certification, I gained a deeper understanding of the essence of business impact. Looking back on the journey to this day, I firmly believe that companies can contribute to the environment, society, and the planet while achieving profitability. The key question is whether you are willing to consider yourself as the starting point. Everything begins with your action!”

From National Pineapple Leaf Fiber Team to Global Pineapple Leaf Fiber Team

Taiwan generates 800,000 tons of pineapple leaf waste annually. Previously, 60% was incinerated, leading to air pollution and cleanup expenses. Burial renders land unusable for 3 to 6 months. Globally, textile waste totals 92 million tons annually. Despite increasing recycling efforts, results remain inadequate.

Gary Hsieh’s team not only innovates pineapple leaf fiber technologies but also partners with institutions like the Industrial Technology Research Institute and Keio University for practical applications and global collaborations. In Taiwan, they collaborate with the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Administration to develop comprehensive systems. Their modular plan involves industry, government, academia, and research, culminating in the “Taiwan Pineapple Leaf Fiber Production and Marketing Alliance” to unify local resources.

Furthermore, Gary Hsieh has integrated supply chain resources in Indonesia, Vietnam, China, and Cambodia and worked with the Taiwan External Trade Development Council to seek more like-minded international partners. Through media promotion and exhibitions, UKL showcases its achievements and establishes close partnerships with farms from Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Africa, Japan, and other countries around the world.

“In my previous role as head of business development, I put great effort into understanding market trends and customer needs, enabling us to create products that meet market expectations. Through numerous presentations, I convinced both government and private entities to become our partners, establishing the current National Pineapple Leaf Fiber Team. Moving forward, I aim to establish the Global Pineapple Leaf Fiber Team!”

Whenever You See Pineapple Leaves, Think of UKL!

Despite extensive media coverage and numerous achievements, Gary Hsieh remains driven by an ambitious vision. Recognized as a sustainable fashion leader, he sets higher standards for himself and his team. UKL aims to achieve 10% of its electricity from green sources and increase renewable energy to 25% by 2025. Their technical team is developing carbon-neutral pineapple leaf fiber products, targeting $8 million in revenue from green products by 2024. Since 2021, they’ve recycled over 60 tons of pineapple leaf waste and expanded collaborations across Taiwan. Hsieh plans to elevate PALF globally, starting with a new presence in California for entry into the USA market.

“Bio Base is a magical thing. Even with the same pineapple, the leaf fibers from different regions are completely different. If this is true for pineapples, how much more so for us as people? Don’t limit your own horizons. Believe in yourself, and you’ll see the road ahead. As you strive, the whole world will come together to help you succeed! Just remember one thing,” Gary Hsieh said:

“We are each the source of change!”


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