Sustainable Textiles Debate @ E2expo

The E2Expo Debate provides an interesting and.unique platform for all stakeholders to engage in productive discussion on key themes and topics in the context of textile and fashion sustainability

90% of accelerated GHG abatement for textiles can be done below $60/ton of GHG - McKinsey

Around 90% of accelerated GHG abatement can be delivered below a cost of US$60/ton of GHG emissions and 55% of actions could lead to cost savings, says a McKinsey report.

This is extremely encouraging. If indeed a large number o...

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Sustainability energy measures could deliver upto 1 billion tons of GHG savings for textiles sector

For the textile industry, implementation of energy efficiency and sustainable energy could deliver upto 1 billion tons of GHG emissions savings by 2030, across the entire textile value chain, according to a McKinsey report.


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Low cost loans available for textile sustainability efforts

IFC’s PaCT - Partnership for Cleaner Textiles - will provide access to easy and low cost loans for textile industry stakeholders investing in clean energy projects.

Just what the doctor ordered, we feel. If a transition to...

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Women represent about 80% of textile industry workforce in some countries

Women represent the vast majority of textile and apparel industry workforce - up to about 80% in some manufacturing countries (Source: BCG/GFA)

This is a powerful stat indeed - 80% of workforce being women.

In parallel...

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Textiles exports are 10% of GDP for some countries

For Vietnam and Bangladesh, their textile exports are about 10% of their total GDP (2017)

Both these countries export textiles in the $25-30 billion/year range. That’s an awful lot, given that their national GDPs are in th...

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EU imports almost 40% of textiles globally

The EU imports almost 40% of all global textile and apparel imports (by value, 2017)

That’s massive. This region can pretty much make or break a country’s or region’s textile sector, and thus hold significant l...

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Nike uses 16000 materials for its products

Nike uses about 16,000 distinct materials across all its products (2019, WRI report)

While one would have indeed assumed that a large global leader such as Nike would be using a plethora of materials, 16,000 is still far beyond ...

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Apparel producers have only limited control over their supply chain

Textile and apparel producers have strong contractual and business relationships, as well as access to data, with suppliers one tier away; such influence and data access beyond this tier might be little or none.

This could be a ...

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Use phase could contribute to up to 35% of a jeans’ GHG footprint

Use phase could contribute to up to 35% of a jeans’ value chain GHG footprint (based on a report from Levi Strauss, 2018)

While the immediate solution to reduce this footprint appears to be customer education, we feel it i...

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Use of CHP boilers in textiles could reduce carbon emissions by upto 40%

Some studies of using cogeneration (CHP) boilers on textile factories are reporting up to 40% carbon emission reduction compared to separate heat and power systems (based on 2018 and 2019 data points)

A 40% reduction of CO2 emis...

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Cotton production accounts for 16% of world’s pesticide use

Cotton production accounts for 16% of world’s pesticide use

As organic cotton contributes only about 1% of the total cotton production worldwide - a number unlikely to zoom much higher in the next few years - one wond...

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Biodiversity impacts of cotton production in India are five times that of global average

The impacts on biodiversity per ton of cotton production in countries such as India are almost five times as high as the global average (CISL, Cambridge, 2020)

It is not clear what are the real reasons behind such a disparity, a...

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Using clothing twice as many times results in 50% reduction in environmental footprint

Twice as many uses per garment life cycle eliminated almost 50% of impact, regardless of impact category (RISE, Chalmers Univ of Tech)

This may not be surprising - twice the extent of use of the same garment should logically mea...

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Supima cotton could last twice as long as regular cotton

Supima cotton, a long staple cotton reportedly lasts much longer than short staple cotton, could be twice as long.

Special attention is given to many aspects of Supima cotton production. The Supima cotton web site says "Fro...

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Over 50% of a T-shirt’s CO2 emissions occur during use

52% of T-shirt’s CO2 emissions occur during use - (BCG & Carbon Trust)

This is a stat that should worry apparel and fashion manufacturers. If a large part of an apparel’s carbon footprint happens during the use p...

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Mentions of sustainability in social media grew about 30% faster than social media itself

Mentions of sustainability in social media grew a third faster than overall social media growth between 2015 and 2018 (GCA/BCG/SAC 2019)

So here's another estimate that only strengthens the hypothesis that there’s a re...

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China’s Xintang province alone produces 300 million pairs of jeans a year

In China’s Xintang province, a hub for denim, 300 million pairs are made annually (Fashion Revolution, 2019).

This region is called the denim capital of the world, and why not! 15% of the 2 billion pairs of jeans produced ...

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In 2018, 95% of cotton sourced by H&M could be considered sustainable

In 2018, 95% of cotton sourced by H&M was sustainable - organic, recycled or cotton sourced through Better Cotton Initiative (Source: H&M).

This is certainly impressive. If a large firm is able to get close to 100% of it...

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Cottonized hemp is gaining momentum

Cottonized hemp - Hemp has a much lower environmental impact during cultivation but the quality and characteristics of hemp fiber do not match those of cotton. As a result, there are efforts to cottonize hemp

Hemp, by all accoun...

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Real denimers don’t wash

Real denim lovers wash their jeans a lot less than mere mortals!

Raw denim aficionados don’t wash their jeans for about 6 months after purchase in order to allow the jeans to develop a natural fade. Raw denim jeans also ne...

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EU’s real price of clothing fell 36% in 16 years

The real price of clothing for Europeans fell by 36% between 1996 and 2012.

According to an EEA (European Environmental Agency) estimate, between 1996 and 2012, the price of clothing increased by 3% but consumer prices in genera...

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All that’s good about polyester

Polyester has some useful properties that lends itself to sustainability.

Polyester, though synthetic and non-biodegradable, has a lower water footprint, can be washed at lower temperatures, dries quickly, needs much less ironin...

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Over 1900 chemicals used in textile production, with 165 of them considered harmful

More than 1900 chemicals are used in apparel production, of which over 165 are classified by EU as hazardous to health or environment (EU Parliamentary Research Service, 2019).

While one would like to use very few chemicals in a...

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Mechanical recycling degrades fibers

Mechanical recycling of textiles, the dominant form as of 2020, involves cutting and shredding, which means that the fibers are shorter, are of lower quality and hence lose 75% of their value.

As a result, these recycled fibers ...

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EU average textile reuse/recycling rate is less than 20%, within that of Germany’s is 70%

In the EU, on average, about 15-20% of disposed textiles are collected for reuse or recycling (rest or landfilled or incinerated). But there are significant variations in this - in Germany, 70% of disposed textiles are collected for reuse or r...

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$500 billion value lost per annum owing to underutiilzation and poor recycling

Over $500 billion of value is lost each year due to clothing underutilization and lack of recycling (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2018).

Underutilization clearly is a big challenge to be tackled and if tackled well, it is obvious...

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Cotton production alone accounts for 7% of employment in some countries

Production of cotton alone accounts for some 7% of ALL employment in some low-income countries.

India for instance has about 6 million people in cotton cultivation and about 50 million people involved in cotton processing and tr...

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Extent of garment utilization decreased 36% in 15 years

Worldwide garment utilization (# of times a garment is worn before it is disposed) has decreased by 36% compared to 15 years ago (Euromonitor Apparel & Footwear Edition, 2016).

The above timeline seems to coincide with the t...

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Less than 1% of material used for clothing production is recycled back to clothing

Less than 1% of material used to produce clothing is recycled into new clothing (2016, multiple sources).

This stunning statistic perhaps has a lot to do with the current ways of recycling - which is dominated by physical recycl...

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Innovation moonshots for textile sustainability

Innovation moonshots for textile sustainability

What could be the innovation moonshots needed to make textiles sustainable?

In May 2016, Nike announced its ambition to double its revenue while cutting environmental imp...

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Americans wear an apparel only a quarter as long as global average

In the US, clothes are worn around a quarter as long as global average (2016).

Is it a case of Americans being more wasteful or the rest of the world being less imaginative? Either way, it doesn’t take a genius to figure o...

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Plastics for textiles uses 350 million tons of oil a year

Producing plastics based fibers for textiles used about 350 million barrels of oil every year (2015 Nordic Fashion Assn).

The world produced about 30 billion barrels of oil in 2019. Synthetic textile fibers thus consume just ove...

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Cotton harvesting in the US is over 200 times as fast as it in countries like India

A study revealed that in the US, cotton harvesting took 2.5 hours per hectare vs 1408 hours (cotton association of India estimates this to be 465 hours/ha) and 2458 hours for India and China respectively... (Source: Study by Cotton Incorporate...

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Recycling 1 ton of textile waste could save 10 tons of GHG emissions

Optimal recycling of 1 ton of textile waste could save 10 tons of CO2 emissions equivalent (Journal of Industrial Ecology, 2015)

The global apparel and footwear purchases are expected to reach 100 million tons by 2030.

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Emissions due to fertilizer use account for a major portion of cotton cultivation GHG emissions

Emissions from fertilizers are the major determinants to overall GHG emissions in cotton cultivation; better fertilizer management is thus crucial for GHG abatement [But only 15% seem to be under irrigation in this this data true fo...

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