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New tech tools driving companies’ sustainability goals

Growing consumer awareness on eco clothing is forcing companies to take the sustainable route. The proof is the various initiatives taken up by associations and companies such as Fashion Positive, a part of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, and the H&M Foundation, through its Global Change Award that honors apparel innovation in the areas of waste, digitisation and climate positive advancements, have nurtured a burgeoning interest in conscious design that considers all aspects of apparel’s impact while investigating new ways to create clothing from alternative materials.

New tech tools driving companies

Growing consumer awareness on eco clothing is forcing companies to take the sustainable route. The proof is the various initiatives taken up by associations and companies such as Fashion Positive, a part of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, and the H&M Foundation, through its Global Change Award that honors apparel innovation in the areas of waste, digitisation and climate positive advancements, have nurtured a burgeoning interest in conscious design that considers all aspects of apparel’s impact while investigating new ways to create clothing from alternative materials.

New tech tools driving companies sustainability goals

Meanwhile, Eileen Fisher, Gap, Guess, Levi Strauss, Nike and VF Corporation also signed the Science Based Targets. The effort is to establish emission reduction targets consistent with global efforts to limit warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius. Moreover, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition has attracted numerous high-profile apparel retailers, including Target, with its Higg Index that empowers companies to measure their sustainability performance. The coalition launched the Apparel Impact Institute, which made its first project focussing on improving the impact of textile mills in partnership with the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Clean by Design program.

Taking cue, VF Corp., denim producer Orta Anadolu and Danish mattress and bedding company Auping, have now tied up with Circle Economy to develop a tool to help fashion companies reduce their environmental footprint and build more sustainable business models. The effort is supported by C&A Foundation, which focuses on building a more sustainable cotton production model, improving on-the-job conditions for garment workers, strengthening communities where garment factories are located, and eradicating slavery and child labour from apparel supply chains.

Positive aspects

This digital resource will guide fashion brands as they consider a garment’s end-of-life options, cradle-to-cradle means of reducing textile waste, and the methodology to compare the practical, economic and environmental impact of each of its options. It will provide insights into a brand’s waste levels and help to set appropriate benchmarks, so it can measure its achievements over time. The Circle Fashion Tool can also connect brands to industry partners that will help them transform ideas into action.

Anna Maria Rugarli, Senior Director, sustainability and responsibility, VF Corp.’s EMEA region points out VF believes in the linear system of production, as it works today, is not sustainable for a planet with a growing population and limited resources. For this reason, they are exploring new Circular Business Models to build better products, extend product life, transform transactions into deeper relationships, and turn waste into value. For example, the US alone generates 15 million tons of textile waste, which has doubled annually over the past 20 years. Orta Anadolu also feels collaborations and partnerships generate transformational outcomes and this tool will create a platform for the type of circular solutions that the industry is searching for.

New technologies

In another initiative, Circle Economy reported its Fibersort technology, which auto-sorts large batches of mixed post-consumer textiles based on fibre composition, has officially started. It will reduce the need for sourcing virgin materials by creating more viable fabrics from textile-to-textile recycling. Cyndi Rhoades, CEO of closed-loop textile recycling and design company Worn Again, says the Fibersort will enable suppliers of post-consumer textiles to meet the feedstock specification for its process more efficiently. This innovation will help provide advanced sorting capabilities for the new generation of textile to textile recycling technologies and help the industry on its way to circularity.

 
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