The Planet Textiles annual event on sustainability decamps to Canada this year and will feature a comprehensive plenary programme as well as three breakout sessions on finance, deforestation and water use and conservation in wet processing – a key theme of this year’s event will be the real science behind the growing issue of textile microfibre pollution.

Taking place on the 22nd May at the Sheraton Hotel, Vancouver, in partnership with MCL News & Media and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, it’s expected that around 400 delegates will hear from industry leaders and environmental experts on the issues of scaling up sustainable innovation, the problems of textile microfibre pollution, financing innovation, deforestation and raw material selection, and traceability and harmonisation of textile chemistry in relation to water.

The problem of textile microfibres will be a major focus of the event with at least two of north America’s foremost researchers on this issue revealing some of their latest findings. Dr Peter Ross from the Ocean Pollution Research Program at Vancouver Aquarium together with Asst Professor Chelsea Rochman, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto will give a scientific evaluation of the size of the problem and look at what textile fibre types are being found in oceanic environments.

Following this session, a panel will give a brief overview of existing, embryonic initiatives on how the textile industry hopes to solve this problem. Tackling the microfibre problem: speakers include Dr Katy Stevens, from the European Outdoor Group who is involved in an Industry Microfibre Consortium along with representatives from the cotton fibre industry that will detail a new study on fibre degradation. Test methods for evaluating fibre shedding will also be discussed.

Planet Textiles 2018 will also feature a special session on new innovations in collaboration with Fashion for Good and will includes 7 – 10 short pitches of unique, fledgling technologies that are designed to make a positive environmental impact to the global textile supply chain.

Confirmed participants so far include: Nanollose, Provavita, Leverage Lab, Bodyline (MAS), with more to follow.

After the event, Fashion For Good will select some of the most interesting Planet Textile pitches for inclusion in its priority review process for potential funding in order to scale-up innovation.

A special session on financing innovation will be led by Scott Miller at the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and is expected to feature companies such as HSBC, Bolt Threads and others to illustrate some of the ways entrepreneurs can access funding to scale up their innovations.

A special panel on scaling up innovation and harmonisation on chemical management in the supply chains will feature: Frank Michel, the CEO of the ZDHC; Xander Wessels, CEO, Archroma; Linda Greer, Senior Scientist, NRDC; Jill Dumain, CEO bluesign, among others. 

Meanwhile, Ruediger Fox, the CEO of Sympatex, which develops, manufactures and sells membranes, laminates, functional textiles, finished products for a range of apparel will outline how the company has implemented sustainability into its product range.

Elsewhere Nicole Rycroft, CEO of CanopyStyle will look at the challenges for the man-made cellulosic textile sector in terms of forestry management, climate change and biodiversity with reference to raw material selection, new, fledgling technologies that produce viscose from clothing; best available technology at scale and how the Great Bear Rainforest campaign in British Colombia moved from conflict to collaboration with the participation of the market. Speakers include Lenzing, Mistra Future Fashion, and an NGO as well as a leading brand.

Fundraising events from Canopy will also take place in aid of Vancouver Island’s Coastal Temperate Rainforests.

A third breakout session on scaling up innovation in the textile wet processing sector in relation to both innovation and transparency will be headed up by the ZDHC Foundation. Speakers so far include: Scott Echols, Product Sustainability ZDHC; Janne Poranen, CEO and Founder, SPINNOVA Ltd; and Dr Gary Selwyn, CTO, Greentheme International.

The Planet Textiles ‘Pod’

A special new innovation at this year’s event will be a media area where selected filmed interviews and podcasts will take place, which will then be available to delegates and the rest of the industry after the event closes.

Video interviews will explore a range of new technologies, innovations and strategies from both invited attendees and speakers based around the event themes.

This year the event is being supported by event partner Sympatex, leadership partners: Lenzing and the ZDHC Foundation; along with Kendor Textiles, Toxservices LLC, Fashion for Good and Proavita.

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