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Going green: policies to promote environmentally sound activities in apparel
published in Issue 2, 2nd Quarter 2008
Environmental issues arise at all stages of the textile and apparel supply chain. The expansion of textile production and consumption has contributed to increasing pollution, water shortages, fossil fuel and raw material depletion, and climate change. Production of polyester fibre, the most widely used man-made fibre, consumes non-renewable resources and high energy levels, and generates atmospheric emissions. Modern automated textile plants consume large amounts of energy. Textile finishing consumes large amounts of water and energy and often produces harmful effluent. Apparel production is more environmentally friendly, but sourcing from low cost countries consumes more fuel for transportation. Among consumers, the trend towards fast fashion and cheaper clothing has led to a throw-away mentality.
Environmental issues are being addressed, however. Although recycling activity remains at a low level—for economic and quality reasons—Marks & Spencer and others are promoting recycling schemes. Some retailers are also voluntarily attaching "eco-labels" to garments to provide environmental information. Although these have met with varying levels of success in the marketplace, they can encourage "best practice" in manufacturing. Some labelling schemes, such as the EU Ecolabel Scheme and its associated flower logo, adopt a full life cycle or "cradle to grave" approach while others, such as Öko-Tex, focus on a single aspect of an item such as its environmental attributes, social attributes, or individual phases of its life cycle. Other initiatives include REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) legislation which aims to encourage safe and eco-friendly chemical production. In the USA the Toxic Substances Control Act (TCSA) enables the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to track industrial chemicals produced in or imported into the country. Some man-made fibres, such as Lenzing’s lyocell fibre Tencel, have a minimal impact on the environment. Also, organic cotton production is growing rapidly but still accounts for only a small fraction of global cotton output. Nonetheless, organic cotton is being adopted by high profile companies such as C&A, Coop, Nike, Wal-Mart, and Woolworths. And a growing number of brand and manufacturing companies are pursuing environmentally friendly strategies. Such companies include American Apparel, Gap, Interface, Patagonia, and Wal-Mart in the USA as well as Rohner Textil in Switzerland, and a small knitwear company in India, MaHan, which was founded by an exteacher from the Netherlands.
Global Apparel Markets provides intelligence, analysis and insight on the global apparel and fashion industries.
What's in it? Each issue contains data and expert analysis on key industry topics, including: artificial intelligence (AI); augmented reality (AR); consumer expenditure; corporate social responsibility (CSR); cotton; denim; environmental sustainability; fibres; imports and exports; key geographical markets; labour law; product innovations; regulation; retail; sourcing; strategy; supply chains; and trade and trade policy.
A single issue of Global Apparel Markets includes:
practical and strategic advice from an industry expert a report on a key geographical market a round-up of the latest product innovations a feature on trade and trade policy comprehensive coverage of the latest business news
An annual subscription to Global Apparel Markets is a cost-effective way to keep informed about trends and developments in the global apparel and fashion industries. Subscriptions are available in printed and/or digital formats. Printed and digital subscribers receive each issue in printed format in addition to a digital PDF file, which is available immediately on publication. Subscribers also receive a complementary digital subscription to Global Apparel Update, delivered directly by email once a month. This free supplement contains essential information on business news and the latest product developments.
Like all Textiles Intelligence publications, Global Apparel Markets is a reliable source of independently sourced business information, and it does not carry advertising.
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"Running the largest online global sourcing marketplace and platform in the world for the Textiles and Apparel industries means I need to keep up with movements everywhere. I find the Global Apparel Markets report from Textiles Intelligence to always be full of great information that confirms to me what I know to be true and tells me what I need to be aware of in the global markets that I might not be. I always look forward to getting it in the mail."
(Tony Forcucci; Global Director, Textiles & Apparel Sourcing P; MFG.com)