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Norden maps sustainable textile initiatives
Jul '15
Courtesy: Norden
Courtesy: Norden
A mapping of sustainable textile initiatives by Norden – a regional partnership of Nordic countries – shows that many different perspectives and stakeholders are now working with environmental impacts associated with textile production and consumption.

The mapping shows that increased involvement has not resulted in actions with consequent reductions of these impacts. Currently the focus is on incremental improvements in the supply chains, Norden said.

According to the survey, the quantity of textiles imported into the Nordic region is not only increasing, but accelerating. The amount of waste follows as a consequence. And with increased quantity of textiles, the volume of chemicals, CO2, energy and water consumption also increases.

The mapping found that the textiles industry is an international business with few global policy regulations and consumers have little knowledge about textiles in general and the products sold in Europe do not contain information about basic characteristics (durability, quality, etc) enabling the consumer to make informed choices. It says part of the reason why the high level of engagement has not generated greater actual impact, is that the instruments for actual change are lacking.

Norden says harnessing the enthusiasm and driving change is possible through better coordination and cooperation with exiting initiatives in the mapping, but in order for a Nordic Roadmap to be truly innovative there is a need for further research and more nurturing in the less developed of the four regions identified.

The mapping found that discussions surrounding the environmental consequences in the textile sector, easily ends in some quagmires like blaming someone else for the problems; consumer, producers or government, etc.

It says attention is often channeled into relatively simple questions that provide little environmental impact but create attention such as fibre or brand choices.

According to Norden, the Roadmap should give particular attention to the on-going initiatives with high level of innovation – such as using the transformative initiatives to pull the development.

The mapping concluded that in order to succeed with the turn-around required for the production, sale and consumption of clothing and textiles, the efforts need to be set in a larger context. So far, attention has been mostly focused on aspects of the production. The use-phase of textiles has to a lesser degree been addressed and when this has been done, the knowledge base is lacking. Alternately, textile waste has received increasing attention.

The Roadmap could show the way to produce fabrics that can be used longer, more intensely and with love will be at least as challenging as designing textiles that can be recycled, but both the environment-saving potential and added value will be greater. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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