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Editorial: Time to reassess the environmental sustainability of natural fibres versus man-made fibres?
published in Issue 193, August 2018
Most consumers will say that natural fibres are better for the environment than man-made fibres. But the reality is that natural fibres fall short of consumer perceptions when it comes to environmental sustainability. It is said that 8,500 litres of water are needed to grow enough cotton to make a T-shirt and a pair of jeans, and most cotton growers use artificial fertilisers and pesticides which can be harmful to human health. Wool growers use a toxic "sheep dip" to eliminate parasites, and manure generated from livestock accounts for more than 90% of greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand. A lot more energy is consumed when bleaching, dyeing, printing and finishing textiles and clothing made from natural fibres than is consumed when processing similar items made from synthetic fibres as the latter dry more quickly. Similarly, laundering items made from natural fibres consumes more energy than laundering items made from synthetic fibres. But most synthetic fibres are made using chemicals derived from fossil fuels, and there is growing concern that synthetic microfibres are polluting streams, lakes, rivers and oceans and may be entering the food chain. The optimal choice when it comes to environmental sustainability may prove to be lyocella man-made cellulosic fibre. Lyocell fibre is biodegradable, and is made from renewable resources such as wood pulp, cotton linters or cotton production waste using an environmental friendly sustainable solvent spinning process in which the solvent is recycled. In this report, Robin Anson deliberates on the sustainability of natural fibres and man-made fibres, and presents the pros and cons of each. Topics discussed include: the use of genetically modified cotton; water consumption; the risks associated with synthetic microfibres; and production methods used in the manufacture of man-made cellulosic fibres.
Six times a year, Textile Outlook International provides up to 200 pages of expert comment and analysis. A subscription provides an overview of the global fibre, textile and apparel industries. It is essential reading for senior executives in the fibre, textile and apparel industries and for anyone who is not involved in the industry, but needs to quickly gain an understanding of the key issues.
Reports in Textile Outlook International include:
country profiles providing a comprehensive guide to the textile and clothing industries in a range of countries and regions. The reports include an economic and political profile together with a comprehensive overview of the main issues, plus an outlook for the future.
company profiles giving you the opportunity to learn from strategies employed by others. Companies profiled recently include retailers, manufacturers, innovators and sourcing companies involved in textiles and apparel as well as smaller companies which illustrate the opportunities for firms which are interested in selected sourcing locations.
trends in world textile and apparel trade and production taking into account current issues facing the industry such as global fibre prices; competition from China and other low cost countries; the elimination of quotas and imposition of selective new ones; relocation of production operations; the impact of economic factors affecting trade; international trade agreements; trade promotion agreements (TPAs); and much more.
trends in EU and US imports of textiles and clothing providing comprehensive statistical data and analysis of the top ten supplying countries to the EU and US markets. These reports are updated each year and contain value and volume data as well as average prices and analyses of trends for up to 15 product categories.
innovations, technological developments, business development opportunities, individual sector analysis and political implications which affect players in the global fibre, textile and apparel industries. Some of the topics which have been covered in recent reports include: new innovations in the textile and clothing industry, such as environmentally friendly textiles, plant based fibres, and developments in textile colorants; innovations in textile machinery; and overviews of the European swimwear, hosiery and lingerie markets.
So whether you are involved in fibres, textiles or clothing in manufacturing, spinning, weaving, knitting, sewing, import/export, retailing or if you are in education or consultancy or investment or finance, a subscription to Textile Outlook International will tell you what you need to know about the key trends in the industry.
Textile Outlook International is available on subscription either in printed format only, or in printed and electronic format. If you choose the printed only option, you will receive 6 printed publications a year, containing a total of 30 reports plus editorials written by Robin Anson, our editorial director and in-house industry expert.
Electronic supplement If you choose the printed and electronic option, you will receive an extra service. You will still receive each issue in printed format, delivered to you by traditional post.
In addition, you will be able to download PDF files containing the same information but the PDF files will be available immediately on publication, so you dont have to wait for the printing and mailing. You also have all the benefits of electronic files: instant access even when you are away from the office; convenient storage in your PC or laptop; portability; electronic search facility; and copy/paste facility.
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"In 1987 I was working as a graduate-trainee in the buying teams at Marks & Spencer in London. I was asked to prepare a paper on the textile and clothing industry in Italy. In my search for information I discovered Textile Outlook International. The quality of information that this publication provided was nothing short of excellent. As I look back over the past 25 years, there have been several times that I've turned to the publications of Textiles Intelligence. They have always been of the highest quality and provided me with the opportunity to talk with confidence about the global textile & clothing industries. Today, I'm the Chief Supply Office for Umbro, a wholly owned subsidiary of Nike Inc. As I look back, of course there are many factors that have helped me to get to where I am today. I've no doubt that the information provided by Textiles Intelligence has been a contributory factor."
(Peter G Allison; Chief Supply Officer; Umbro International Limited)