Measuring & Reducing the environmental impact of textiles
What's your impact along the supply chain?
For any piece of apparel, the first step is to produce the fiber that is used to create the product. 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.
Sustainability in Textiles
Sustainable fashion starts with controlling your supply chain.
Start your measuring journey today.
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.