TFCF - Textile & Fashion Carbon Focus guide - Decarbonisation for textiles
TFCF, Textile & Fashion Carbon Focus guide, is a detailed expert report that provides comprehensive insights, innovations, and case studies for decarbonisation of global textile and fashion industry.
The textile and fashion industry is responsible for over 2 billion tons of greenhouse-gas (GHG),about 4% of the global total. (2020 estimates)
Being an industry with a long value chain, contributions to
emissions happen from all along the value chain - from fiber cultivation to product end of use & recycling. However, a dominant portion (0ver 60%) of the emissions come from upstream and midstream - cultivation and fiber/fabric production.
Given the rapid growth of fast fashion and the middle class in many large nations such as China and India, these emissions could increase by over 60% by 2030, according to UNFCCC. That would put the GHG emissions from textiles and fashion sectors at close to 3.5 billion tons CO2eq. by 2030, an alarming estimate.
What is clearly needed for the industry is a large-scale transformation towards decarbonizing many components of its value chain.
The good news is that solutions are available today to bring about significant abatement in CO2 emissions for the industry.
Many of these solutions are industry ready, and quite a few of these could also be economically attractive. For instance, some energy efficiency solutions that we have suggested in TFCF can interestingly have payback periods of less than two years - implying that GHG reduction need not be considered a cost center, but it could actually be a profit center!
In spite of all these positives, the textile industry top management needs to make bold commitments to make carbon emissions reduction happen, simply because of the scale of reduction required. TFCF will help them with critical insights for them on their way to making these important decisions.
TFCF stands for Textile & Fashion Carbon Focus. It is a detailed expert guide that provides comprehensive inputs and analysis on the fashion industry’s GHG emissions and outlines avenues through which stakeholders can focus their efforts to reduce emissions and meet climate targets.
To gain a deeper understanding of the textile and fashion industry’s carbon emissions and identify additional abatement efforts the industry could pursue, our team examined the entire value chain from farms and factories to recycling & reuse, and has considered how key stakeholders such as fiber production professionals, textile manufacturing companies, big brands, retailers, investors, consumers and policy makers can contribute to reducing the GHG emissions from the areas corresponding to their activities.
Our analyses took a deep dive into each component of the fashion industry value chain, and we have provided insights and characteristics of the carbon hotspots and possible decarbonization solutions for over 20 different value chain components. Our team has reviewed in-depth processes by which fibres are grown (for natural fibers) or synthesised (for synthetic textile fibers), fiber spinning, fabric production and processing, garment design and production, logistics and warehousing, operations at retail units, a detailed look at the use phase of the apparel or accessory, and finally comprehensive review of the recycling mechanisms available today.
Our inputs and analyses show how there are solutions available right now for every part of the value chain and every stakeholder category to significantly reduce CO2 emissions. Based on our analyses and from insights and perspectives from other industry experts, we have provided recommendations to the textile and carbon industry top management which when implemented has the potential to significantly bring down the industry’s carbon footprint.
TFCF will be of exceptional value to the following stakeholder categories responsible for emission abatement efforts:
Based on the extensive research the team undertook to study and analyse carbon hotspots and solutions - which are presented in this comprehensive guide - following are the key takeaways for the textile & fashion spectrum:
Innovations are happening across the Textile value chain, in every possible component. Even components that are considered commodities are seeing significant innovations that are aligned to relevant value propositions. Several initiatives, such as ZDHC and Bluesign, aim to remove hazardous chemicals in the supply chain and reduce the vast quantities of water required to manufacture fabrics. These globally recognised standards enable sourcing agents and consumers to confidently make more sustainable decisions.
Attention must be paid at every stage of the textile supply chain including how fibres are grown or synthesised, how fabric is spun, treated and dyed, how the garments are constructed and delivered and then how they are used, washed and finally disposed of.
On the production side, the industry is notorious for its extensive use and depletion of natural resources including water, raw material, energy and chemicals. On the consumer side, next to food and beverages, clothing and accessories are purchased most often and replaced most frequently
Majority of companies tend to find their most carbon intensive phases within the production phases dyeing and finishing, yarn preparation and fibre production.
Significant reduction in carbon emission across the textile value chain requires true innovation and collaboration in the supply chain.
Beyond fiber production, the dyeing and finishing sector is the largest energy and water consumer in the whole textile chain and has the highest potential for energy and water savings and efficiency improvements. Once the size of a carbon footprint is known, a strategy can be devised to reduce it, e.g. by technological developments, better process and product management, changed Green Public or Private Procurement (GPP), Carbon capture, consumption strategies, and others. The mitigation of carbon footprints through the development of alternative projects, such as solar or wind energy, or reforestation, represents one way of reducing a carbon footprint and is often known as Carbon Offsetting.
The following are the key drivers for the carbon emission in the textile value chain:
The textile industry needs to adopt more energy efficient processes; such as innovative textile chemicals and processing technologies that contribute to eco-efficient processes for textile mills can save costs and help reduce the environmental burden.
Some Innovative products with smaller carbon footprints are:
The role of stakeholders is crucial in reducing the carbon footprint of the textile value chain.
Manufacturers and fiber producers could deliver 61 percent of the accelerated abatement we identified by decarbonizing material production and processing, minimizing production and manufacturing waste, and decarbonizing garment manufacturing.
The main contributions brands could make to emission abatement are to improve their material mix (for instance, through greater use of recycled fiber), increase their use of sustainable transport, improve their packaging (with recycled and lighter materials), decarbonize their retail operations, minimize returns, and reduce overproduction (only 60 percent of garments are currently sold without a markdown). If brands followed the measures we have identified, they could achieve 308 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent abatement in 2030.
All these actions call for collective action by a wide range of industry and cross-sector stakeholders to apply radical transparency to business operations.
The TFCF provides specific, actionable decarbonization recommendations for all the key industry stakeholders, with a special emphasis on recommendations for top and senior management.
Most of the emission impacts occur during the production phase and result directly from the value chains reliance on hard coal and natural gas for electricity generation and heat in processing locations such as China, India and Bangladesh.
Most textile innovations that come under the limelight are high-tech ones in developed countries - USA, France, Italy, South Korea, China etc. Innovations in the textile spectrum are becoming increasingly commonplace even in underdeveloped countries in Africa. Interestingly, the nature of innovation is significantly different when one compares developed (USA, France etc.), developing (India, Kenya, Philippines etc.) and underdeveloped (many African nations) countries. While developed countries have a dominant focus on technology as the key component in their innovation, many underdeveloped countries are in fact deliberately using low-tech.to drive innovations.
For companies investing in CO2 reduction technologies - to improve their environmental footprint - innovation has to be a necessary component of their strategy. But innovation alone is not sufficient. What is also important is a robust approach to innovation. Such an approach will require the firm to review the above aspects and weave the relevant ones into their innovation strategy to create a sustainable competitive advantage.
To gain a deeper understanding of fashion’s carbon emissions and identify additional abatement efforts the industry could pursue across the value chain from farms and factories to brands and retailers to policy makers, investors, and consumers, the industry needs to intensify its abatement actions and scale up existing decarbonization efforts
The guide offers a holistic perspective on the organisations as an operating system, taking into account a series of value-adding activities related to manufacturing, distribution, marketing, finance and investor relations, research and development, and supply chain partnerships, with aspects of production, quality, quantity and price being the most crucial elements for consideration.
The market intelligence, design, materials, suppliers and logistics, production, marketing, retail, and customer service are identified as the main areas in which technologies have the greatest potential for action.
TFC F has a heavy emphasis on providing specific and actionable recommendations on innovations and implementations for top management for decarbonizing key components of their supply chains and value chain components. These will be valuable for top management, operational heads, prominent investors, and senior corporate sustainability professionals.
TFCF has analysed carbon hotspots for many value chain components. The following list provides the various components for which hotspots have been provided:
Along the value chain
For specific products / materials
Based on the extensive experience our parent group EAI has in sustainable energy, TFCF analysed over 150 solutions - small and large - that can be used to achieve GHG reductions for the entire value chain. Based on these analyses, we have provided a list of 70+ solutions and avenues that have significant decarbonization potential, and can be implemented today.
Details and characteristics of each of these solutions as well as case studies for many of them, have been provided.
To obtain a sample of Textile & Fashion Carbon Focus Guide or to know more about purchasing it, please send a note to email@example.com or call Muthukrishnan +91-9952910083
Since 2008, EAI has been at the forefront of cleantech and sustainability consulting and research. Our management consulting and industry research has spanned the entire cleantech spectrum but with higher emphasis on solar power, e-mobility and the bio-energy sectors.
Our consulting and research reports have benefitted over 3000 clients globally, including 10 of the top Fortune 25 companies and 40 of the top Fortune 100 companies. Our consulting team has had the privilege of assisting some of the globally prominent companies and organizations such as GE, GSK, Exxon Mobil, Toyota, World Bank, Bill & Melinda Foundation, among others.
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Overview of CO2 emissions and efforts in the textile and fashion industry
Transportation and logistics
Storage and warehousing
Recycling, and Reverse logistics
End of life
Processing, Dyeing & Finishing
Retail & Use
End of use
End of Use
Transparency & Traceability