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Posted by on in Uncategorized

The Norwegian EPA is concerned about micro-plastics and has commissioned a report from the consultancy firm Mepex on measures that could be taken in order to address this serious problem. As Norway is a country where fisheries and the sea always have been an important part of the economy – the reports that there now is more micro-plastics than plankton in the oceans has brought on a political willingness to take action.

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Once again the idea that the solution to problems in agriculture is increased production (by 50%) is being discussed, even as an HSBC report on China is suggesting that the country may need to stop cotton production to grow food to compensate for shortages (if true, good news for cotton farmers elsewhere, although this report also propagates a fallacy, namely that cotton is necessarily water intensive).

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The 25th anniversary of the Nordic Swan was celebrated with the Crown Prince of Norway, Haakon Magnus, opening the annual Swan conference and the addition of two new licenses for textile companies – one of the sectors that has been a hard nut to break for the label.

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Posted by on in Sustainable Design

The next edition of functional textiles fair Performance Days, held 28–29 April in Munich, has adopted the tagline 'a responsible approach to wool.' "Merino is booming – in sports and in fashion," says the show's organizers. "At the same time, critical voices are getting louder and hardliners are demanding the abandonment of wool in clothing while denouncing its production and processing."

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It seems clear to me following a lot of experience and investigation on the ground that there should always be an economic assessment of suitability before farmers enter an organic cotton initiative. The same applies to environmental and social aspects, and of course this is relevant for developing country contexts, rather than California. Markets are also a decision making factor here. Too often what is done is determined by donors and promoters and not by actual context, need, suitability and opportunity (market).

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When I followed Textile Exchange’s recent webinar for Natural Capital Accounting (NCA), it hit me that things which make a difference are often things which actually do not make sense. The webinar presented a hypothetical example, which showed a textile company using perhaps 55 per cent cotton, 30 per cent Tencel, 5 per cent polyester and 10 per cent linen (roughly) – a rather odd blend.

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Posted by on in Sustainable Design

Why is so much wool labelled “hand wash only”? I’ve read fashion guides that claim wool cannot typically be laundered and should be dry-cleaned. Firstly, wool can be laundered in the washing machine. It can even be boiled. How else does wool get dyed? It can also be centrifuged, which surprises a lot of people. But the machine has to centrifuge at top speed immediately, not “rock” back and forth, which some machines do. And if the wool clothing is centrifuged properly – it does not need to “dry flat”, which is another stupid pre-conception that makes people think wool is hard to care for.

Tagged in: IWTO Wool
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A recent Ecotextile News investigation which found that around 10,000 hectares of virgin land in Ethiopia have been bulldozed to make way for an organic cotton farm has generated more interest than any other story since I began writing for Ecotextile News. Responses have ranged from shock and disbelief to anger and disgust (not to mention blind panic from those brands with alleged links to this particular project). How could this be allowed to happen? How could land be cleared and habitat destroyed, all in the name of appeasing foreign investors and fostering economic development?

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Posted by on in Retail and consumption

Patagonia has a new project: Truth to Materials. One of these is reclaimed wool, actually meaning recycled wool. So from the outset, there is some bending of the truth.Tone Tobiasson discusses.

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Posted by on in Cotton & sustainability

We often refer to cotton as a drought tolerant crop, and it is, despite what some critics say. However, we rarely think about what this means in practice. In Malawi, along the banks and inland from the Lower Shire River, cotton grows in one of the most hostile environments possible.

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Signe Århus from Oleana – a Bergen-based knit-company which produces garments ‘wholly made in Norway’ – pulled me aside after Kate Fletcher’s speech at the Textile Panel meeting in Oslo last week. The theme had been “Local: A new paradigm for fashion?” and Fletcher – the professor of sustainability design from London School of Fashion, had spellbound an audience of around 100. Heads of businesses as well as design students sat upright and completely still for her half-hour talk, which was also live-streamed to Trondheim.

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Posted by on in Supply chain transparency

In early June I reluctantly left my family, and less reluctantly the mosquitoes of rural Quebec, to fly to Europe for a couple of weeks of digging deep into down, visiting thevarious sites covered by the Responsible Down Standard. The standard aims to drive positive change throughout the down supply chain, including improved animal welfare and increased traceability.

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Checking my Twitter feed on the morning of 28th July 2014 left me feeling pleasantly surprised after finding that the top worldwide trends weren’t inundated with the latest One Direction scandal, football transfer news, or even birthday wishes to UK pop star Cher Lloyd (yes, her birthday was on this day).

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Posted by on in Retail and consumption

I was recently in contact with a global fast fashion brand about its decision to source from an up and coming textile manufacturing destination where, low and behold, wage rates just happen to be among the lowest in the world.

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It's great to 'celebrate' the wonderful world of sustainable textiles and fibres and its growing number of options, or is it?

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Posted by on in Metrics and tools

I’ve recently returned from the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s semi-annual Member meeting in Vietnam.  In seemingly the blink of an eye, it’s been six months since the Higg Index 2.0 and corresponding Web Tool were released.

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Posted by on in Sustainable Design

The recent Launch Nordic event in Copenhagen provided an excellent environment for delegates from the United States and Scandinavia to look at new and radical ideas in sustainability for the industry.

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The ludicrously short time-frame for much of today’s fast fashion on the market means that much of the eventual output is DDT: Design Destined for Trash, argues Tone Skårdal Tobiasson.

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