COPENHAGEN - Scientists in Denmark claim they have developed a new process for dyeing blue denim which reduces the environmental impacts associated with indigo by as much as 92%.
Researchers at the Technical University of Denmark used indican, a natural precursor to ...
LONDON - Ultra fast fashion giant Shein is reportedly exploring the option of a public listing in London amidst concerns its initial public offering (IPO) bid in New York will be blocked over its ties to China.
UK chancellor Jeremy Hunt had "productive" discussions ...
SAN FRANCISCO - The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) is rebranding as 'Cascale' to reflect its expansion into areas beyond apparel and footwear as it continues its mission to reduce industry impacts through its Higg Index suite of tools.
It comes less than a year ...
SPONSORED CONTENT - TESTEX is a globally operating and independent Swiss testing and certification institute. Our expertise lies in testing, analysing and certifying textiles and leather, and we are one of the official OEKO-TEX® representatives. From the raw material to the finished product – we set standards and support brands, retailers and manufacturers in achieving their environmental, social responsibility and quality goals.
OEKO-TEX® certification enables consumers and companies to protect our planet by making responsible decisions. With its modular system, OEKO-TEX® offers independent certifications and services to have products tested for harmful substances, to protect the environment and to ensure fair working conditions for people working in the textile and leather supply chain.
OEKO-TEX® RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS: a step ahead of regulatory requirements
OEKO-TEX® RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS is a management tool to meet due diligence requirements in the textile and leather industry. It certifies the management system of a company with a step-by-step approach to integrating human rights and environmental criteria into their management processes, allowing them to fulfil their due diligence obligations along their supply chains and identify risks at an early stage.
The RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS certification fulfils the requirements of the new German Supply Chain Act (Lieferkettengesetz), which aims to protect the rights of people who produce goods for the German market, including garments and other textiles. The bill also covers environmental protection. To guarantee better human rights protection, companies must ensure human rights along their entire supply chain and set up grievance mechanisms and report on their activities.
SPONSORED CONTENT - The LYCRA Company and Qore® join forces to create next generation bio-derived LYCRA® fibre with QIRA®
The global apparel industry is responsible for 8% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions and the industry is mostly reliant on hard coal and natural gas to generate electricity and heat. Without significant changes, the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the industry are expected to rise by almost 50% by 2030.*
However, recent data from the Rodale Institute shows that if farmers can improve soil health, through regenerative agricultural practices, then more than 100% of the global annual CO2 emissions could be sequestered into the soil. That’s roughly 52 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide every year!
The purpose of Regenerative Agriculture is that farmers promote healthy soil practices and biodiversity including low or no tilling, planting cover crops, managing fertilizer use, and improving nutrient management. All of these practices are designed to increase soil organic matter and reduce GHG emissions by sequestering more atmospheric carbon into the soil. This in turn helps promote biodiversity - as well as improving water quality and reducing soil erosion.
In a ground-breaking collaboration, The LYCRA Company has joined forces with Qore®, a joint venture between Cargill, an expert in agricultural fermentation technologies, and HELM, a German chemical company. Next year, Qore® will be producing QIRA® - an ingredient derived from Iowa field corn. QIRA® will be the key component in renewable LYCRA® fibre, bringing the same comfort and fit as from traditional LYCRA® fibre, now with a reduced environmental impact.
When Cargill receives the harvested corn from the farms, part of the process involves separation of the kernel into discrete parts, ensuring each gets used where it can deliver the most value. For example, while the protein typically gets used to create animal feed, the starch portion can be found in a myriad of applications - including ethanol for gasoline, food uses such as corn syrup, and now, fibres for clothing. Steve Stewart, Chief Brand & Innovation Officer of The LYCRA Company, says “By adopting QIRA®, we’re making a significant commitment to reduce our reliance on fossil-based resources and to enable our customers to reduce their carbon footprints.”
Steve Kuiper (pictured left), whose family has been farming in Iowa for more than a century, speaks to its benefits. “Iowa has some of the most productive farming ground in the nation, excellent infrastructure for transporting goods, and the support of organizations like Iowa Corn Growers Association and Iowa Corn Promotion.”
Iowa is also home to Cargill’s biotechnology campus and corn refining operation in Eddyville, Iowa. The Qore® facility for manufacturing QIRA® is also located here, tapping into Cargill’s expertise, R&D and network of farmers. The Qore® facility will run mainly on wind power, reducing energy GHG emissions, and will source field corn from within a 100 mile radius - reducing transportation emissions and providing local farmers, like Kuiper, with a reliable market for their crops.
SPONSORED CONTENT - Slow and steady wins the race, says the International Wool Textile Organisation.
We all know the Aesop fable about the hare and the tortoise. It comes to mind when looking at EU’s ambitious textile strategy and its aim to put fast fashion out of fashion with a plethora of policy measures.
If the aim is to win the race against climate change, should we bet on the hare or the tortoise?
Rewriting the old fable, we can equate the hare with technological innovations such as fibre measurement tools to make projections about durability, longevity and repairability. These are ingredients in many EU policy instruments, including the EU’s Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCR), Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), the Ecodesign Directive and Green Claims Directive.
The tortoise, on the other hand, represents the slow and the steady, processes that stand the test of time.
Meet the hare
Most tools in the EU’s Textile strategy and the underpinning policy currently favour synthetic-based fabrics.
During a recent Lasting project seminar (see lasting.world), Ingun Grimstad Klepp, Professor of Clothing and Sustainability at Consumption Research Norway at Oslo Metropolitan University, said: “If we are demanding more durable products, using standard tests for strength, pilling, colour-fastness and abrasion, this means more plastic in apparel.
“If we are looking at regulation of waste, eco-modulating fees based on weight, we favour plastic apparel, as synthetics in general are lighter.
“If we are looking at recycled content as a policy tool, synthetics win again, even though this will mainly be from recycled bottles.
“And, last but not least, if we use LCAs to dictate what are preferred fibers, synthetics come out ahead.”
Research shows us that consumers prefer natural fibers over synthetics.i
Meet the tortoise
The tortoise takes a different tack. Rather than projecting what products will have a long life, the tortoise urges consideration of one factor: how long an item of fashion has been used.
Actual use means the reality of use, regardless of how durable, repairable, or recyclable the apparel item is projected to be.
We can understand actual use through a very simple technique: the humble waste audit.
The biggest hurdle in this race: overproduction
The main problem in the fashion sector is overproduction. Images of clothing-clogged beaches and textile mountains, from the Atacama Desert in Peru to the beaches in Ghana, should haunt us. The OR Foundation has started its own waste audits, which will give us valuable data that can feed into the EU’s policy tools. The revised EU Waste Framework Directive proposes that biannual waste audits take place in all EU Member States.
If all apparel and other textile labels include the date products go to market, these audits will show the actual Duration of Service.
Research shows that the majority of clothing is not thrown out because it is worn out, but because it no longer fits, or we have grown tired of itii. Looking at durability for clothing the way we would for a toaster or a battery simply does not capture the true picture.
In the meantime, one waste audit pilot study, completed earlier this year in Norwayiii, showed that 80% of the brand and care labels in diverse waste streams were intact, offering sufficient data to pinpoint which brands and what products have had a long or a short life; and what the fiber-composition is. The study also revealed a number of items were discovered with the price-tag still intact, having never been used at all.
A similar study in Holland had many of the same findingsiv; 75% of labels were intact. As in the Norwegian study, a few brands dominated the findings, ones identifiable as “fast fashion” (albeit a term that requires more precise defining).
The real winner: climate neutrality by 2050
The real winner of this race is neither the tortoise nor the hare. The real winner is the planet, in the form of climate neutrality by 2050.
To get there, a just transition is required that safeguards better use of our natural resources. Natural fibres, such as wool, are worthy of attention and should be rewarded for their contributions as renewable, biodegradable resources.
There is no silver bullet; slow and steady will be part of winning this race.
i Schytte Sigaard, A. & Laitala, K., 2023, Natural and Sustainable? Consumers’ Textile Fiber Preferences. Special Issue Natural Fiber and Competitiveness. https://www.mdpi.com/2079-6439/11/2/12