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Slide Today, sustainability is a business imperative.
Mission critical even.
We are just starting to learn.
And we invite you to join us.
CIFF, August 2020

Slide Textile production is responsible for 1.2 billion tons of CO2 emissions each year – more than maritime shipping and international flights combined. Ellen MacArthur Foundation 2019

Slide What is BCI-cotton? Who is SAC? And what is a Life Cycle Assessment? OPEN GLOSSARY

Slide Have you secured your future sales channels? See if you are compliant with leading retailers' minimum requirements. START TEST

Slide One kilogram of traditional cotton takes 20,000 litres of water to produce
- equivalent to a single t-shirt and pair of jeans.
World Wildlife Fund (WWF) 2020

Slide COVID-19 presents a unique opportunity for fashion to rebuild. How? SIX STEPS TO RECOVER

Slide This is just the beginning...
Stay tuned...
Back to CIFF.DK


Slide play_circle_filled

No doubt. COVID-19 is a challenge you as fashion leaders have never before faced. But this challenge also holds a unique opportunity to rebuild the industry, more sustainable, more resilient and more economically durable.

The renown international think-tank, Global Fashion Agenda, has identified six opportunities for fashion executives to rebuild a resilient and sustainable fashion industry. During Elevated Order Days by CIFF (9-12 August 2020) you can explore a video installation presenting these opportunities and deep-dive into sessions from Copenhagen Fashion Summit touching upon some of the most pressing issues in fashion.

Download the CEO Agenda 2020 COVID-19 Edition HERE.

Read more about Copenhagen Fashion Summit HERE.



| ac·​count·​abil·​i·​ty |

As defined by the UN accountability is an aspect of governance that requires everyone to take responsibility by their actions and impacts. This means that every company in the fashion industry must identify, assess, and measure the impact of all their activities on people and planet, and this extends beyond minimum legal requirements.

Reference: United Nations Global Compact

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Animal welfare

| an·i·mal wel·fare |

Animal welfare refers to the treatment of animals involved in the fashion supply chain, and it is one of the key ethical concerns of the industry. According to several NGOs, the fashion supply-chain contain unlawful killings and widespread mistreatment of animals across the fur, leather, exotic leather, down feather, mohair, angora, silk and wool industries.

Reference: International Fund for Animal Welfare and PETA

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Apple leather

| ap·​ple leath·​er  |

Apple Skin is a leather alternative obtained through particular methods of recycling and processing of skin and core waste recovered from the food industry. The material contains a minimum of 50% apple fibre and is created in Bolzano, Italy. The apple skin is used for the production of clothes, shoes, luggage and leather goods, but also furnishing accessories, sofas, company gadgets, coatings and much more.

Reference: Eco Age

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I bam·​boo I

Bamboo is a natural fibre that can be processed either as a naturally occurring bast fibre (bamboo linen) or a regenerated manufactured fibre (bamboo rayon/viscose or lyocell).
Bamboo is often advertised as a more sustainable fabric, but this is not necessarily the case. What is more sustainable about bamboo is that it is a fast-growing, renewable grass that often has beneficial impacts on soil and air. Unfortunately, the processing of bamboo grass into a textile fibre can be chemically intensive with seriously harmful impacts.

Reference: CFDA Material Index

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Better Cotton Initiative (BCI)

The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) promotes a comprehensive set of production principles and criteria for growing cotton in a more sustainable manner: socially, environmentally and economically. It is a member-based organisation made up of players from the entire cotton supply chain. BCI currently has a system in place to trace Better Cotton from the farm to the gin. The organisation’s goal is to catalyse the mass-market production of cotton produced more sustainably, by creating demand on a global scale. BCI is complementary to other initiatives like Certified Organic, Fairtrade cotton and Cotton made in Africa (CmiA).

Reference: Better Cotton 2020

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Bio-based synthetics

| bio bas·ed syn·the·tics |

A biosynthetic fibre consists of polymers made from renewable resources, either wholly or partly. Biosynthetics are emerging as a potential alternative to conventional synthetic products. The main difference between biosynthetic fibres and conventional synthetic fibres lies in the raw materials used. Conventional synthetics, such as polyester, nylon and acrylic, use raw materials derived from fossil fuels – petroleum, natural gas and coal. Biosynthetic fibres can be made from 100 % biobased as well as partially biobased resources.

Biosynthetic fibres that are commercially available today come from starches, sugars, and lipids derived from corn, sugar cane, sugar beets, and plant oils. These feedstocks are derived from crops and are sometimes called “1st generation”. Various technologies are under development to produce biosynthetic fibres from a broader range of raw materials including biomass and waste from agriculture, forestry, and even food waste. There are also early examples of biosynthetics derived from biotechnology, sometimes referred to as novel feedstocks, such as algae, fungi, enzymes, and bacteria. While many of the alternative feedstocks have been piloted at a concept level, they are not yet commercially available.

Reference: TextileExchange

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Biodegradable materials

| bio·​de·​grad·​able ma·​te·​ri·​als |

Biodegradable materials are materials that can be reduced to simpler substances or can completely break down to minerals through natural processes catalysed by microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi.

Reference: ScienceDirect

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| bio·​di·​ver·​si·​ty |

Biodiversity is defined by the United Nations as “variability among living organisms from all sources including, among other things, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are a part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems”.

According to The Fashion Pact, fashion is a major contributor to a rapid decline in biodiversity. It is estimated that the earth has lost 60 per cent of vertebrate animal populations since 1970, and less than 20 per cent of the world’s ancient forests remain large enough to maintain the biological diversity that’s there.

Reference: United Nations and The Fashion Pact

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| bleach·ing |

Bleaching is used to remove natural impurities in fibres when either a white finish is desired or if a light dye is to be applied. Two alternative chemical routes may be employed to achieve a whiter fabric – sodium hypochlorite and hydrogen peroxide. Both can be toxic to aquatic life and cause severe skin, respiratory and eye irritation or burns.

Reference: Greenpeace

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| block·chain |

Blockchain is a decentralised, distributed database, or ledger, that stores transactions sequentially. It can be thought of as a database that is shared across a network. Each user on the network has a copy of this shared database, which makes it impossible for a malicious user to modify or change the contents of this database. This database, or ledger, is append-only; you can only add to it but not modify anything after the fact. Thanks to a blockchain’s decentralised nature, it can provide a peer-to-peer network that does not involve any intermediaries or governing authorities, such as a bank or a government.

Using blockchain networks, fashion brands can verify where the product has travelled, as well as gather information on transition points, enabling higher scalability and automation of tracking process. Hence, blockchain can help fashion’s transparency problem and help brands reshape supply chain sustainability and enhance transparency across their business.

References: and

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bluesign® is a common certification given to textile manufacturers who are producing in a way that is safe for both humans and the environment. They take into consideration everything from water waste to dye toxicity to worker and consumer safety and more.

Reference: bluesign

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| cel·​lu·​lose |

Man-Made Cellulosic (MMC) fibre comes from plants, most often trees, that are processed into pulp before being extruded into a fibre.

To transform the wood pulp into a fibre, the pulp undergoes several steps of intensive water, chemical, and energy use in the manufacturing process. Highly toxic emissions can end up in the environment and harm not only factory workers but also local communities and animals.

Viscose is the most common MCC, making up around 90% of MMC production. Other MMCs include Lyocell, Modal and Cupro.

Preferred Man-Made Cellulosic (pMMC) is sourced from non-endangered, certified forests and are manufactured more sustainable. This means less toxic chemicals are used and/or the manufacturing technologies used aim for a closed-loop process, where not only water but also chemicals are re-used to avoid pollution and human exposure. pMMC include Lyocell, PreferredModal and Preferred Viscose.

Reference: Textile Exchange

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Circular economy

| cir·cu·lar econ·​o·​my |

A circular economy is one that is restorative and regenerative by design and provides benefits for business, society, and the environment. In such a system, clothes, textiles, and fibres are kept at their highest value during use and re-enter the economy after use, never-ending up as waste. To ensure a circular fashion industry one must develop new business models that increase clothing use, make sure inputs are safe and renewable, and lastly, innovate solutions to used clothes are turned into new.

By moving to a circular system the industry can unlock a USD 560 billion economic opportunities.

Reference: Ellen MacArthur Foundation 2020

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CO₂ dyeing

| c·​o·​2 dye·ing |

CO₂ technologies have been proven to be a game-changer in technology development and innovation within many industrial sectors, but particularly the textile industry. In textile printing and dyeing processes, clean water is used as a dyeing medium. However, dyeing procedures consume large amounts of water and depend on various classes of dyes and additives, and the consumption of water and high energy is also needed in the cleaning process. CO₂ dyeing technology has the advantage of high uptake rate, short dyeing process, recycling of dyes and CO₂, zero discharge, and is it anhydrous (water-free).

Reference: Journal of Engineered Fibers and Fabrics (JEFF)

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| cot·​ton |

Cotton is the most widespread profitable non-food crop in the world. Its production provides income for more than 250 million people worldwide and employs almost 7% of all labour in developing countries. Approximately half of all textiles are made of cotton.

The global reach of cotton is wide, but current cotton production methods are environmentally unsustainable – ultimately undermining the industry’s ability to maintain future production.

WWF estimates that it takes as much as 20.000 litres of water to produce one kilogram of cotton; equivalent to a single t-shirt and a pair of jeans.

Reference: World Wild Life 2020 

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Cotton made in Africa (CmiA)

| cot·​ton made in Af·ri·ca |

Cotton made in Africa is an initiative of the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) that helps African smallholder cotton farmers to improve their living conditions. Growers must meet minimum environmental and social requirements for their cotton to qualify as CmiA.

References: Textile Exchange 2020, Cotton Made in Africa

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| cus·​tom·​er |

Customers have a big role to play in reducing the carbon, water and waste footprints of clothing. Consumer education around the optimum ways of buying, caring for, and disposing of clothes is key to supporting this.

New research by Global Fashion Agenda and Mckinsey & Company shows that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated consumers’ focus on sustainability:

  • Two-thirds of consumers state that sustainability has become a more important priority to combat climate change following COVID-19;
  • More than 80% of consumers agree that workers in poor countries need support during this crisis, while 45% value brands that have made meaningful contributions towards resolving the social and medical impacts of the crisis; and
  • 71% of consumers are indicating a shift towards investments in higher-quality garments and a deepened interest in circular business models such as resale, rental or refurbishment following COVID-19.

Reference: CEO Agenda 2020 – COVID-19 edition

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| cus·​tom·​isa·ti·on |

Customisation in the apparel industry refers to producing a personalised style by adopting individual consumer taste.

Mass customisation adds customisation is done at the right time and at the right cost enabling unique items are produced for individual customer desires for a relatively large market, yet with efficiency comparable to mass manufacturing. Mass customisation is also described as a technology-assisted production process where customers are given the opportunity to modify the traditional mass production process to produce their preferred design and fit.

Mass customisation is a promising approach to overcome some of the sustainability challenges inherited in the mass-manufactured business model as this can help reduce excess production, overconsumption, extending product life, and minimising waste generation.

Reference: Does Mass Customisation Enable Sustainability in the Fashion Industry, Kanchana Dissanayake, University of Moratuwa, 2019

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| de·​growth |

Sustainable degrowth is a vision for downscaling of production and consumption that potentially increases human well-being and enhances ecological conditions and equity on the planet.

Sustainable degrowth calls for a future where societies live within their ecological means, with open, localised economies and resources more equally distributed through new forms of democratic institutions. The idea is that material accumulation will no longer hold a prime position in the population’s cultural imaginary. The primacy of efficiency will be substituted by a focus on sufficiency, and innovation will concentrate on new social and technical arrangements that will enable us to live convivially and frugally.

Degrowth is challenging the centrality of GDP as an overarching objective and proposes a framework for transformation to a lower and sustainable level of production and consumption, a shrinking of the economic system to leave more space for human cooperation and ecosystems.


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| du·​ra·​bi·​li·​ty |

Durability is often linked to quality. For a consumer, the durability of a product is measured by how long the product provides a useful service to them.

Usually one will distinguish between two types of durability:

Physical durability considers garment design and construction in order to create products that can resist damage and wear. It is impacted by a number of factors including:

  • Garment construction. This might include raw material choices; style, cut and fit choices; and manufacturing processes;
  • Resistance to surface abrasion, odour and staining, including choices of raw materials and finishes;
  • Colour fastness, including a selection of appropriate colouration techniques and dyes; and
  • Communication with consumers, including the sharing of information about care, as well as available repair and re-use options.

Emotional durability takes into account relevance and desirability to the consumer. For example, does the item still fit; is it still to the customer’s taste? It is impacted by factors related to how the wearer feels about their clothing, including:

  • Comfort, including raw material choices; cut, fit and size choices;
  • Ageing, including the way that the surface and colour age over time with washing and wearing, and the ability for the garment to resist odour and staining; and
  • Style, including whether the item is of a style that transcends trends and fashions across seasons.

Reference: WRAP

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| eco·​sys·​tem |

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) define an ecosystem as a functional unit consisting of living organisms, their non-living environment and the interactions within and between them. In other words, an ecosystem is a system of all living organisms within an area and the way in which they interact with their environment and with each other.

Reference: IPCC

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End of life

| end of life |

Concepts, technologies and processes associated with product once it has come to the end of its first lifespan. This area focuses on diverting textile waste from landfill for as long as possible, and creating higher values for waste when it has reached the end of its intended life.

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Enzyme based textile finishing

| en·​zyme bas·ed tex·​tile fin·​ish·ing |

Enzymes in the textile industry is an industrial biotechnology, which can be used in order to develop environmentally friendly alternatives to chemical processes in almost all steps of textile fibre processing. There are already some commercially successful applications, such as amylases for desizing, cellulases and laccases for denim finishing, and proteases incorporated in detergent formulations.

From the 7000 enzymes known, only about 75 are commonly used in textile industry processes, hence a considerable potential for new and improved enzyme applications in future textile processing.

Reference: Rita Araújo et al, Biocatalysis and Biotransformation

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Fairtrade cotton

| fair·trade cot·​ton |

Fairtrade cotton was launched in 2005 to offer cotton producers an alternative to the conventional market. Producer organisations are audited against Fairtrade Standards, which provide a framework for a sustainable approach to production. The Standards include a guaranteed minimum price for seed cotton and the additional premium payment for farmers to invest in strengthening their organisations, developing their businesses and improving the infrastructure of their communities.

Fairtrade Standards include core requirements which must be met by all producer organisations (e.g. training in handling pesticides) and development requirements, which are a process for making continuous improvements within realistic timeframes (e.g. reducing the use of herbicides).
There are now 26 Fairtrade certified cotton producer organisations representing almost 60,000 farmers across nine countries – Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Egypt, India, Kyrgyzstan, Mali, Nicaragua and Senegal.

Reference: Fairtrade Foundation

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Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)

The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), launched in 2006, is a certification that verifies the organic status of textiles across the supply chain, from raw materials to processing, manufacturing, packaging, labelling, trading and distribution. To obtain the certification, products must contain a minimum of 70% natural organic fibres. GOTS includes stringent social and environmental requirements, including chemical use and inputs, additional fibre inputs, wastewater treatment facilities, employment rights and working conditions.

This officially and internationally recognised standard is currently one of the most trusted organic textile certifications. Compliance is verified by independent auditors.

Reference: Global Organic Textile Standard 5.0

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Higg Index

The Higg Index is a suite of tools (the product tool, the facility tool, and the brand and retail tool) that enables brands, retailers, and facilities to measure social and environmental sustainability performance. Developed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, the Higg Index is the leading assessment for standardised supply chain sustainability assessment.

The Higg Index delivers a holistic overview that can help businesses to make improvements that protect the well-being of factory workers, local communities, and the environment.

Reference: and

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Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change. It provides assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation.

Reference: IPCC

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| ir·​re·​vers·​ibli·ty |

Irreversibility refers to a point when the recovery of a disturbed system to its original state takes significantly longer than the time it took for it to get into its disturbed state. At the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting in March 2019, the leaders were warned that “just over a decade is all that remains to stop irreversible damage from climate change” that could result in a catastrophe.

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| ir·​ri·​ga·​tion |

Irrigation is the process of applying controlled amounts of water to plants at needed intervals. Irrigation helps to grow agricultural crops, maintain landscapes, and revegetate disturbed soils in dry areas and during periods of less than average rainfall. Irrigation of crops for textile production, especially cotton, puts high demands on water use.

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Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty that commits industrialised countries to limit and reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions in accordance with agreed individual targets. The Convention itself only asks those countries to adopt policies and measures on mitigation and to report periodically. The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 December 1997 and entered into force on 16 February 2005.

Reference: United Nations Climate Change (UNFCCC)

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Laser technology

| la·​ser tech·​nol·​o·​gy |

Laser technology in textiles industry has established a new innovative solution, which successfully prevents some of the weaknesses in the conventional technologies. Lasers are mainly being used in Laser Marking (only the surface of fabric is processed, fading) and Laser Engraving (controlled cutting to depth). It has been used extensively as the replacement of some conventional dry processes like sand blasting, hand sanding, destroying, and grinding etc., which are potentially harmful and disadvantageous for the environment.

Reference: Yordanka Angelova et al, Environment Technology Resources Proceedings of the International Scientific and Practical Conference

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Life cycle assessment (LCA)

| li·fe cyc·le as·sess·ment |

LCA is a globally used and accepted method for assessing environmental impacts of a product’s life cycle from cradle to grave, including life cycle phases such as raw material extraction, material processing, product manufacture, distribution, use, disposal and recycling.

Reference: Mistra Future Fashion

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| lon·​gev·​i·​ty |

The longevity of clothing is influenced by many things.
The best opportunity within the clothing lifecycle to increase longevity is at the product design stage, where changes to design practices can have a significant impact on how long individual items remain wearable. The fundamental reason for consumers to discard clothing is that it no longer looks good – which is an issue designers can directly influence.

WRAP has found four fundamental areas where changes to design practices can help ensure items look good for longer, and so extend their usable life. These are:

  • Size and fit – one of the primary reasons for discarding undamaged items is that they no longer fit. By designing clothes that can be easily adjusted to allow for reasonable variations in an individual’s shape, designers can help increase longevity.
  • Fabric quality – higher-quality fabrics are more likely to withstand wear and tear over a prolonged period. Clearly, the nature of that wear and tear depends on the way the item is worn; there are different expectations of childrenswear and occasionwear. But even within these different categories, fabric quality can have a significant impact on how well an item endures.
  • Colours and styles – while there will always be a higher turnover of fashion items, designers can help extend the longevity of many garments by using ‘classic’ or timeless styles and colours, that are less likely to go out of fashion.
  • Care – longevity is directly affected by how garments are cared for. Designers and retailers have an opportunity to influence this by ensuring consumers are given appropriate advice on care and on opportunities for re-use and recycling.

Reference: WRAP

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| mi·​cro·​silk |

Microsilk is a silk-like biosynthetic fiber made by the company Bolt Threads. Microsilk is made through a process of fermenting water, yeast and sugar with spider DNA.

Reference: Bolt Threads

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The Oeko-Tex Standard 100 is a globally uniform testing and certification system for textile raw materials, intermediate and end products at all stages of production. The certification covers multiple human-ecological attributes, including harmful substances, which are prohibited or regulated by law, chemicals which are known to be harmful to health but are not officially forbidden, and parameters which are included as a precautionary measure to safeguard health. Textile products may be certified according to Oeko-Tex Standard 100 only if all components meet the required criteria without exception.

Reference: Oeko-tex

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Organic cotton

| or·​gan·​ic cot·​ton |

Organic cotton is cotton that is produced and certified to organic agricultural standards, including OCS (Organic Content Standard) and GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard).

Its production sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people by using natural processes rather than artificial inputs. Importantly organic cotton farming does not allow the use of toxic chemicals or GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Instead, it combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote a good quality of life for all involved.

Reference: Textile Exchange

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Ozone finishing

| ozone fin·​ish·ing |

Ozone is a strong oxidant agent, which can be produced synthetically, as well as is being naturally available in the atmosphere.

Ozone technology harnesses the natural bleaching capabilities of ozone gas to give a range of overall and speciality bleach effects with substantially reduced environmental impact, processing costs and processing time. The use of ozone in textile manufacturing is not common in practice, and it is only commercially common in denim and garment washing.

Reference: Ayşegül Körlü, Use of Ozone in the Textile Industry, Textile Industry and Environment

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| pack·​ag·ing |

In the EU, total packaging waste in 2016 amounted to nearly 87 million tonnes or about 170 kg per person. Much of it is plastic, which is often not recyclable and can take a significant toll on the environment. An estimated 42 per cent of all plastics produced, outside of those used as fibres, are used for packaging.

There are various, complementary strategies to reduce environmental harm of packaging including compostable packaging (made from plant-based or fossil fuel materials and can break down at the end of its life), recycled packaging options, reusable packaging tactics, as well as simple packaging reduction as orders (including supply chain orders) often are packaged in far more layers than strictly necessary.

Reference: Eurostat

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| poly·​es·​ter |

Polyester is the most widely used fibre in the world, accounting for roughly half of the fibre market overall and about 80 % of all synthetic fibres. Derived from petroleum, it first emerged in the 1970s and was considered revolutionary for its long-lasting, wrinkle-free, easy-to-clean qualities.
But polyester also has a number of negative impacts. For one, virgin polyester is made from oil, a non-renewable resource, using an energy-intensive process. It is usually not biodegradable, and so will end up in a landfill for years unless recycled. Polyester also sheds microplastic fibres when it is washed, which end up in our waterways, oceans and eventually our food chains after being consumed by fish and other aquatic creatures.

References: TextileExchange

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Recycled nylon

| re·​cy·​cl·ed ny·​lon |

Nylon was the first fabric made entirely in a laboratory. A synthetic material derived from petroleum, it first became available around World War II and was used for military products and as a silk replacement for items like stockings. The production of nylon is similar to that of polyester, with similar environmental consequences. Like polyester, nylon is made from a non-renewable resource (oil) in an energy-intensive process. It sheds microplastic fibres that end up in our waterways and oceans every time it is washed, and because it is not biodegradable, it will end up sitting in a landfill at the end of its product life cycle.

Recycled nylon is usually made from pre-consumer fabric waste, though it may also come from post-consumer materials like industrial fishing nets. There are several “chain of custody” standards that track recycled nylon through the supply chain, including the Recycled Claim Standard (RCS), Global Recycled Standard (GRS) and SCS Recycled Content.

References: TextileExchange

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Recycled Polyester

| re·​cy·​cl·ed poly·​es·​ter |

Recycled polyester uses mainly plastic bottles, packaging or textile waste as its raw material. At the end of its life, it can be further recycled through either mechanical or chemical processes. There are several standards that track recycled polyesters through the supply chain, including the Recycled Claim Standard (RCS), Global Recycled Standard (GRS) and SCS Recycled Content Certification.

References: TextileExchange

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REEL Cotton

| r·​e·e·​l cot·​ton|

REEL Cotton Code is a three-year agricultural programme providing farmers with training on sustainable cotton farming practices. The programme is proven to increase yields and farm profits; while reducing environmental impacts. REEL Cotton can be fully tracked from farmer to store.

Since its creation in 2010, the REEL programme has trained more than 20,000 farmers, predominantly in subsistence economies in India, China, Pakistan and Peru. Our goal is to reach 50,000 farmers by 2020. The REEL Cotton Programme is independently verified by a code of conduct developed with Fairtrade International certification.


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Risk assessment

| risk as·​sess·​ment |

A risk assessment is used to identify potential failure points. The risk assessment should cover all aspects of the manufacturing and supply chain, both internal and external, taking into account design; materials; manufacturing processes and capacities; suppliers and dependencies; and consumer use, as well as results from performance and durability tests, washing trials and consumer wearer trials.

References: WRAP

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Established by Social Accountability International (SAI), SA8000 is a social certification standard for factories and organisations across the globe. Standards are in line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions and include things like child labour, forced labour, health and safety, discrimination, working hours, and more.

It is not the product itself that can get certified, but the factories and organisations that make the goods.

Reference: Social Accountability International

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Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC)

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) is a global alliance for sustainable production in the apparel, footwear and textile industry. Its membership includes 250+ brands, manufacturers, NGOs, academic institutions and governments, working together to reduce the environmental and social impacts across the fashion industry.

SAC is responsible for the Higg Index, a set of tools that enable businesses to measure and score their sustainability performance.


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Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a blueprint for global sustainable development. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are a call for action by all countries – developed and developing – in a global partnership. It is recognised that e.g. ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.

Reference: United Nations

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Soil degradation

| soil deg·​ra·​da·​tion |

Soil degradation is the physical, chemical and biological decline in soil quality. It can be the loss of organic matter, decline in soil fertility, and structural condition, erosion, adverse changes in salinity, acidity or alkalinity, and the effects of toxic chemicals, pollutants or excessive flooding.

Cotton cultivation severely degrades soil quality. Despite the global area devoted to cotton cultivation remaining constant for the past 70 years, cotton production has depleted and degraded the soil in many areas. Most cotton is grown on well-established fields, but their exhaustion leads to expansion into new areas and the attendant destruction of habitat.

Reference: NSW and WWF

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Textile recycling

| tex·​tile re·​cy·​cl·ing |

Textile recycling begins with the collection of garments from consumers. This can be through a number of routes including charity shops, bring banks, door-to-door collections or local authority recycling centres. Many retailers also offer consumers the option to donate their used clothing in store.

When collected, clothing is usually manually sorted into different groups. The best quality garments are generally resold and re-used either locally or abroad. Lower quality garments undergo a recycling process and where garments are heavily soiled they may then go for incineration or to landfill.

Reference: WRAP

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United Nations (UN)

The United Nations is an international organisation founded in 1945. It is currently made up of 193 Member States. The mission and work of the United Nations are guided by the purposes and principles contained in its founding Charter.

Each of the 193 Member States of the United Nations is a member of the General Assembly.  States are admitted to membership in the UN by a decision of the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.

The main organs of the UN are the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, the International Court of Justice, and the UN Secretariat.  All were established in 1945 when the UN was founded.

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United Nations Climate Change (UNFCCC)

The UNFCCC secretariat (UN Climate Change) is the United Nations entity tasked with supporting the global response to the threat of climate change. UNFCCC stands for United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Convention has near-universal membership (197 Parties) and is the parent treaty of the 2015 Paris Agreement. The main aim of the Paris Agreement is to keep the global average temperature rise this century as close as possible to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The UNFCCC is also the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The ultimate objective of all three agreements under the UNFCCC is to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system, in a time frame which allows ecosystems to adapt naturally and enables sustainable development.

Reference: UNFCCC

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United Nations Global Compact (UNGC)

The United Nations Global Compact is a non-binding pact to encourage businesses worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies and to report on their implementation.

The UN Global Compact is a principle-based framework for businesses, stating ten principles in the areas of human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption. Under the Global Compact, companies are brought together with UN agencies, labour groups and civil society.

Today Global Compact has 13.000+ corporate participants and other stakeholders over 170 countries.

Reference: UN Global Compact

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Water stress

| wa·​ter stress |

Water stress occurs when the demand for water exceeds the available amount during a certain period or when poor quality restricts its use. Water stress causes deterioration of freshwater resources in terms of quantity (aquifer over-exploitation, dry rivers, etc.) and quality (eutrophication, organic matter pollution, saline intrusion, etc.)
World Economic Forum argues that water crises are within the top-ten risks to society. 90% of the world’s natural disasters are water-related. 2 billion people live in countries exposed to high water stress – population growth, increased water demand, and climate change are likely to exacerbate this.

The apparel sector is particularly vulnerable to water-related risks because water is used throughout the production of raw materials like cotton and manufacturing processes such as dyeing, tanning, printing and laundering. The Global Leadership Award in Sustainable Apparel has reported that the global apparel industry uses over 5 trillion litres of water as a whole and 20% of freshwater pollution comes from textile treatment and dyeing.

Cotton is currently estimated to be the most widely used material in the apparel industry. It is a very thirsty crop, with just one pair of jeans and one t-shirt comprising one kilogram of cotton and requiring an estimated 20,000 litres of water to produce.

Viscose also uses a great deal of water, mostly in preparation of the fibre (pre-spinning). Synthetic fibres affect the water footprint mostly during dyeing and finishing because a high amount of dye and processing is needed for synthetic fibres.

Reference: World Economic Forum,  European Environmental Agency, and WRAP.

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| w·​r·​a·p |

WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) is a British registered charity. It works with businesses, individuals and communities to achieve a circular economy, by helping them reduce waste, develop sustainable products and use resources in an efficient way.

WRAP was established in 2000 as a company limited by guarantee and receives funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Northern Ireland Executive, Zero Waste Scotland, the Welsh Government and the European Union.

WRAP is leading the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP), an EU supported programme focusing on new business models, design for longevity, fibres, consumer behaviour, and re-use and recycling.

Reference: WRAP 2020

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