Sustainability in the apparel industry
What's impact along the supply chain?
For any piece of apparel, the first step is to produce the fiber that is used to produce it. This could be synthetic fibers, cellulose, cotton, or other natural fibers.
Cotton is sometimes referred to as the dirtiest fiber in the world – more than 16% of global insecticides are used for its production. Growing cotton for one jeans and one t-shirt takes 20.000 liters of water.
Organic cotton and other natural fibers might be a solution, but they account for less than 1% of global cotton industry.
Processing the raw fibers to yarn is a process that requires a lot of energy. A lot of different machines are involved to process the unstable, irregular fibers and filament to a durable yarn.
The knitting and weaving of yarn into fabric is a step in the production chain that takes a comparably little amount of energy. However, almost 10% of the impact of the apparel industry occurs by producing the fabric.
Dyeing & finishing
Dyeing and finishing accounts for more than a quarter of the footprint of the apparel industry. It is the most energy intensive stage, as dyeing has a high energy demand due to wet processes which require large amounts of heated water. Many chemicals, such as bleach, are used in this step.
Assembling apparel accounts for only 5% of the footprint of the apparel industry. It is labor intensive, but a lot of the labor is still conducted manually, and the energy requirements of the machines are more moderate. However, the social implications of manufacturing clothing are a prominent subject of dispute.
The distribution and retail of the clothing we wear accounts only for 1% of the total footprint.
The consumer use phase is where the product is handled, washed, repaired, and possibly passed on. The magnitude of this phase’s impact involves assumptions about consumer behaviors, which vary widely in the real world. The main drivers are the energy and water consumption from washing, as well as energy-intensive drying.
End of life
The recycling rates for textile vary regionally. But overall, not enough gets recycled! Still, the footprint of the apparel industry does not significantly get affected by the waste created.
Sustainability in Apparel & Fashion
Green fashion starts with controlling your supply chain.
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Customer Success Story
How a Dutch fashion brand is becoming more sustainable with Ecochain
One of our clients – a Dutch female fashion brand – signed the Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garment and Textile. This meant they needed to define reduction targets for 2023 and create transparency within their supply chain.
The fashion supply chain is extremely complex. But how can an international fashion brand with thousands of products set goals if they don’t have insights into their supply chain?
Together with Ecochain, the brand modeled different user scenarios to investigate the environmental hotspots in its supply chain. The company was able to identify 3 key areas in which it could significantly reduce their environmental emissions. The result? A clear roadmap to create clear reduction goals and reach them.
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Ecochain complies with the following norms and standards
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European OEF compliance
ISO 14021/25 compliance
ISO 14001 data framework
ISO 50001 data framework
GRI data framework environment
EU Energy Efficiency Directive EED
Ecochain: Product Overview
An introduction to Ecochain
Gain insights into impact flows
Take a closer look at the materials and processes that contribute to the environmental footprints of your products.
Control your full portfolio's Footprint
Conduct LCA Life-cycle Assessments across your entire product portfolio at once and easily compare the footprint of individual products.
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Understands the impact of product lines within the context of production numbers.
Analyze the environmental impacts of scope 1,2 and 3
Gain insights into the full scope of your impact across your value chain. Identify hotspots that point out opportunities for sustainable returns. Collaborate with value chain partners to optimize your environmental performance.
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Zoom into the details of your footprint and break it down into 32 different environmental categories – from CO2 to water toxicity – or display your footprint as an Environmental Cost Indicator (ECI) score.
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These are your six steps to reduce your emissions, increase your efficiency and unlock business opportunities.
- Schedule a Demo
- Attend a tailored, in-depth presentation (45 minutes)
- Receive our tailored offer – the offer includes the implementation of Ecochain through our environmental specialists.
- Receive easy and self-explanatory templates to prepare the company data. Kick-off meeting with Ecochain specialists.
- Ecochain’s specialists help you with implementing the software, deliver actionable insights and train your team.
- Ecochain provides ongoing support and expert hours.