Apparel Industry: Starting a 'Go Green' Initiatives

AEPC

Textile and clothing industry is among the few industries contributing highest commercial contribution to the countries' economic growth with major supply base for global apparel brands; however the other fact is that it also has a large contribution in polluting the environment in several ways.


To save the earth with go green drive an event was organized by Apparel Brain Connect with the theme 'Sustainable Textile' to educate industry personal about going green.


Organic cotton in India


The fact is India is now the world leader in production of organic cotton. Organic cotton growth is very rapid but still represents small percentage of the total cotton market around 0.2% of the total cotton crop.


Organic cotton is grown using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment. India took over Turkey's long-standing position as the leader, seeing its production increase by 292 per cent to reach 73, 702 metric tonnes, or about half of world organic cotton production.


As a result, organic cotton production reached 145, 872 tonnes, equaling 668, 581 bales, grown on 161, 000 hectares in 22 countries. Other leading organic cotton producers are Syria, Turkey, China, Tanzania, the United States, Uganda, Peru, Egypt and Burkina Faso.


Country

2006-07

2007-08

Value in tonnes

India

18790

73702

Syria

2500

28000

Turkey

23152

24440

China

4079

7354

Tanzania

1662

2852

US

1918

2716


Source: Organic cotton farm and fibre report 2008


Organic Standards


Organic standards do not specify limits on water use and as we know cotton can use huge amount of water for irrigation. But supply chain transparency is still crucial. As is the ethical treatment of cotton workers. "Most of the cotton is not environmentally benign as one might expect. The consumers should ensure that whatever they wear or use is up to effective standards and certification processes and come from a transparent supply chain. Therefore, players need to understand the requirement for organic textiles or ecological textiles" said Ms. Anne Gillespie from Organic Exchange.


The continued research into the development of biodegradable and full recyclable raw materials for textiles and clothing production represents one of the best ways forward for the sustainable textile and clothing industries. Biodegradable textiles are a good idea in principle but rather more difficult in price. Demand for biodegradable polyester is said to be growing by about 30% per year, though from a relatively small base.


One of the most eco-friendly fibres which is currently available but often overlooked is wool. Wool is naturally renewable, biodegradable and does not use the huge amounts of water of pesticides that cotton does. It is not made from petroleum either. These are some of the qualities that retailers and brands are looking for their new eco-textile programmes. Wool has also a 'Wholesome image' which is often associated with animals but is difficult to describe or quantify very different than from a cotton plant.

 

Textile and clothing producers and designers cannot afford to ignore the new macro trends towards sustainability which is now here to stay. This is not a short-term fashion trend but a long term strategy for the planet and for business as a whole.


Indian textile and clothing manufacturers should look from where they source raw materials are fully transparent. This is very important for the customers in EU and the USA. Because they cannot afford brand damage and the costs associated in sourcing eco-textile products that are not what they claim.


Retailers and brands want to see the textile producers are educating their work force about environmental and ethical issues. Stay informed about new developments in terms of new eco textiles, raw materials, dyes/chemicals and how to minimize fabric waste during production.


Source: Sustainability of the Textile Fashion Industry Chain


Source: AEPC Weekly