Time to deliver on the promise of traceability

Governments and companies are increasingly committing to climate action. Yet significant challenges stand in the way, not least the scale of economic transformation that a net-zero transition would entail and the difficulty of balancing the substantial short-term risks of poorly prepared or uncoordinated action with the longer-term risks of insufficient action. Fashion brands try to keep up with changing tastes. These days that means showing consumers – and investors – that they are doing their part to fight climate change. To find out what consumers know about and look for in sustainability, a big company (LYCRA) commissioned an online study on consumer attitudes related to a variety of sustainability topics. The top three responses were: reduce the amount of harmful chemicals used in the manufacturing process, reduce the amount of carbon emissions during the manufacturing process, and make clothes that are durable and last longer (50 percent). Circularity will need to become an integral part of the business model for companies in the textile industry. A shift away from the current linear system will create endless opportunity while simultaneously creating industry resilience.

2022 December, 2nd update

Time to deliver on the promise of traceability. Fashion brands have a new problem: committing to sourcing leather from verified “deforestation-free” supply chains by 2030, if not sooner. In this Sourcing Journal report, as Textile Exchange and the Leather Working Group (LWG) launched this challenge on Thursday 17/11 at the 2022 Conference in Colorado Springs.  [Textile Exchange Wants Fashion to Take a Second Look at …  – SJ]. (Read more)

COP27: 1.5° climate target is dead but climate finance agreement allows us to focus again on cutting emissions.

The COP27 conference agreed that rich nations will pay poorer ones compensation for the damage caused by climate change. That was seen as a breakthrough, but many nations were left frustrated by the lack of progress on cutting carbon emissions. The summit came close to collapse after host Egypt refused to allow discussion of phasing out fossil fuels, and European Union ministers threatened to walk out. More fights await: Not least over whether China, now the biggest greenhouse gas emitter, contributes to the fund. [UN climate summit ends in discord after agreeing help for poor nations (FT)] [Climate target of 1.5C died at COP27 – but hope must not – Guardian]. (Read more)

2022 November, 26th update

Sustainability was also on the ballot in U.S. midterm elections. Two significant climate bills were proposed in the US midterm elections, though only one passed. Experts are looking for more policy action that specifically addresses fashion. [Climate wins at US midterms fail to address fashion’s impact – voguebusiness.com]. (Read more)

Carbon-negative certification for Brazilian tannin producer  TANAC. The certification body Bureau Veritas has certified plant-based tannin producer Tanac as a carbon-negative company. Leatherbiz explains that a forestry expansion programme and an increase specifically in its planting of black wattle trees has meant that for every tonne of CO2-equivalent of greenhouse gas that Tanac emits, its forests are removing seven tonnes.. [Bureau Veritas Certification Holding SAS – Tanac]. (Read more)

Efforts to avoid catastrophic climate change are failing, as COP27 climate summit reports show. What it means for fashion. The world has no credible path to avoid climate catastrophe, and greenhouse gases will exceed agreed limits by 2030.  Extreme weather, high temperatures and rising sea levels threaten raw material production, workers’ rights, and supply chains. Some of the largest fashion manufacturing centers, including Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, are among the countries most vulnerable to climate deterioration [What Are Fashion’s Climate Risks| BoF]. (Read more)

2022 November, 18th update

World leaders are racing to fund the shift to clean energy and reduce developing countries’ dependence on fossil fuels. The United States wants major businesses to help fund developing nations’ efforts to decarbonize. President Joe Biden’s climate envoy John Kerry hopes to unveil the carbon-credit program at COP27 this week, the @FinancialTimes reports. (Read more)

Taiwanese Footgearmex fires workers in Vietnam blamingf “draining up of orders and financial issues”. Taiwanese shoemaker Footgearmex Footwear Co Ltd is preparing to lay off two-thirds of the workforce at its Ho Chi Minh City plant, @reuters announced, citing a company announcement to employees, blaming a “drying up of orders and financial issues”. [Taiwan’s Footgearmex Footwear to lay off workers at Vietnam … – Reuters]. (Read more)

2022 November, 3rd update

Indonesia’s energy boost to decarbonize value chains. Jakarta hopes a new financing mechanism can help Indonesia reach net zero ahead of schedule. According to @NikkeiAsia, the Asian Development Bank would bring outside investment to pay for the purchase and decommissioning of coal plants, and their replacement with renewable sources. [Indonesia’s new SOE scheme puts focus on coal phasedown– Nikkey]. (Read more)

Eco-labelling in fashion is not adequate. In the ecological controversy that emerges from the sustainability indices in calculating the PEF (Poduct Environmetal Footprint), the absence of three important indicators plays a key role improperly against leather and natural textile fibers: microplastic release, plastic waste and circularity.  The Sourcing Journal explains. [After Higg Came Under Fire for Greenwashing, Now This …– SJ]. (Read more)

2022 October, 28th update

Egypt announces ambitious hydrogen strategy COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh from 7 to 18 November. Egypt will present a new energy vision for green hydrogen at the upcoming climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh this November. Its diversified approach could strengthen Egypt’s geopolitical position and EU attempts to push for more steel production with green hydrogen could provide new opportunities for H2 projects in Egypt [Egypt to announce ambitious hydrogen strategy – DW]. (Read more)

2022 October, 21st update

It’s hard for fashion to get rid of plastic. Big brands, from Adidas to Patagonia, are on track to eliminate virgin polyester from their products, but almost all the recycled polyester available on the market today comes from plastic bottles, not old clothes. And once it’s turned into textiles, that plastic is much harder to keep in circulation than if it were left a bottle that could be recycled again and again.  [Fashion’s Plastic Addiction Is Harder to Shake Than it Seems – BoF]. (Read more)

2022 October, 3rd update

Marine microorganisms found to feast on new polyurethane materials used in sustainable shoes. Plastics, now ubiquitous in the modern world, have become a rising threat to human and environmental health. Around the planet, evidence of plastic pollution stretches from grocery bags in the deep sea to microplastics in our food supplies and even in our blood. Shoes make up a large percentage of plastic waste that ends up in the world’s oceans and landfills. [A Sea Change for Plastic Pollution: New Material Biodegrades in Ocean Water – ucsd.edu]. (Read more)

2022 September, 26th update

It is Plastic not “Vegan Leather”. Fuzzy definitions and bad data have left fashion consumers facing an array of claims and counterclaims as new and established materials jostle to market their sustainability credentials. [Vegan Leather’ or Plastic? A Materials Marketing Battle Heats Up – BoF]. (Read more)

2022 September, 23th update

Climate change: new rules for EU companies to help limit global deforestation. To fight global climate change and biodiversity loss, Parliament demands companies ensure that products sold in the EU do not come from deforested or degraded land. .[Press Release by @Europarl_EN]. (Read more)

Traceability for sustainable garment and footwear. Improving transparency and traceability has become a priority for the garment and footwear industry to increase its ability to manage the value chains more effectively. [Managing Risk for Post-Pandemic Trade: UNECE and ITC launch a Guide for Border Regulators – Recommendation n°46: Enhancing traceability and transparency of sustainable value chains in the garment and footwear sector (ECE/TRADE/463)  English]. (Read more)

2022 September, 5th update

Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and sustainable production are the ingredients of Vietnamese export success. Leather and footwear exports +13%, to over $14 billion in 7 months, thanks to FTAs and the increase in the localization rate of industries (from 40-45% to 55%) which, thanks to ecological innovation, are now able to supply almost 80% of components for footwear nationwide. These are the conclusions of the survey of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Vietnam (VCCI), carried out by Huong Ly. [Opportunities for Sustainable Exports from New-generation FTAs – Vietnam Business Forum-VCCI] . (Read more)

2022 August, 25th update

Ecological transparency of industries: what the EU is doing. The EU may be forced to water down its ambitions for corporate transparency on climate change to keep the U.S. on board with a global deal. The idea is to require large companies to disclose green information with the same rigor and external checks as they do for financial disclosures. [EU’s ambitions on climate disclosures run up against US wall – Politico]. (Read more)

Energy and ecological transition: high-quality, reliable and comparable gauges are needed to avoid greenwashing. Climate change is transforming the global investment landscape, creating new risks and opportunities. For this it is important to know if a company’s resources are physically vulnerable, the volume of greenhouse gases it emits and its plans to reduce emissions. @IMFNews proposes the  Network for Greening the Financial System directory that assesses available climate data, identifies gaps and offers practical and concrete ways to fill these gaps.  [Achieving Net-Zero Emissions Requires Closing a Data Deficit – IMF]. (Read more)

2022 August, 2nd update

Zalando, Yoox Net-a-Porter and About You launch climate platform for brands. Working with sustainability consultancy Quantis, the three online fashion retailers will offer a free service to help brands they stock measure greenhouse emissions, set reduction targets and submit them to the Science Based Targets (SBTi) for approval. (Read more)

2022 July, 27th update

U.S. legislation to limit PFAS in industrial wastewater will broaden the very definition of PFAS. The American Chemical Society@C&ENargues that plastic manufacturers will be among the first industries to meet PFAS pollution limits in wastewater under legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. Textiles and makers of electrical and electronic components follow, then paint formulators, companies that mold plastics and leather tanneries. The measure will increase the number of chemicals for which manufacturers must supply data to the EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency. (Read more)

Review on the “Heat Apocalypse“. The “Heat Apocalypse” is sweeping Europe and the UK. [Europe’s heatwave moves north… – Guardian]. In Gironde, an area equal to the extent of the whole of Paris has gone up in smoke.  [En Gironde, la surface de Paris partie en fumée… – Libération]. The west of France hit by completely new temperatures. [Au pic de la canicule, l’ouest de la France… – Le Monde]. The fierce heat in Europe heads north. [Heatwave: Ferocious European heat heads north – BBC]. Because Europe is becoming an epicenter for heat waves. [Why Europe Is Becoming a Heat Wave Hot Spot – NYT]. (Read more)

2022 June, 29th update

Water scarcity is the most serious problem we have: it is an epochal challenge for agriculture and livestock and therefore for textiles and leather. An unprecedented water crisis is underway in Italy: (As Po dries up, Italy’s food and energy supplies are at risk – WP). Agricultural water scarcity is expected to increase in more than 80% of the world’s cropland by 2050. For the “future of water” (see Report) the agricultural techniques that retain rainwater in the soils and the reduction of consumption in industry are relevant. A single cotton shirt requires over 2500 liters of water. Leather, for bags and shoes, needs 160 liters per kilo. Machine and plant engineering suppliers can play a key role as producers of sustainable energy and water systems (i.e. Green Label). (Read more)

2022 June, 23rd update

Behind the Higg Materials Sustainability Index (Higg MSI) hides a large Greenwashing operation. The Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act, introduced in the New York State Assembly in October 2021, obliges all fashion companies that generate more than $100 million to track at least 50% of value chains and disclose environmental impacts. However, the Higg MSI index used seems to favor the use of low-cost net fibers derived from fossil fuels. [industry-linked sustainability standard allows clothing giants to ramp up emissions – The Intercept.com]. (Read more)

2022 June, 8th update

Namibia, public tenders to invest in green industrial programs downstream of agriculture and livestock. Namibia, as stated by the Minister of Agriculture Calle Schlettwein has chosen to offer investment opportunities in 11 green project schemes in the agricultural and livestock sectors to local and international investors through a process of assignment by public tenders. Opportunities also abound in the activities of the livestock value chain, such as meat processing and the leather subsector, tannery and leather products. (Read more)

2022 May, 30th update

Growing Urgency of Transparency in the Fashion Industry. The Roadmap to Net Zero report, published by the World Resources Institute and the Apparel Impact Institute, commented by Material Exchange. One of the main takeaways of the report is the estimated emissions produced by the fashion sector. (Read more)

REPowerEU. The European Commission has today presented the REPowerEU Plan, a plan to rapidly reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels and fast forward the green transition. It is the response to the hardships and global energy market disruption caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (Read more)

2022 May, 18th update

Overcoming environmental risks and human rights violations in value chains. A proposal for a European directive obliges large companies to introduce systems to identify and prevent environmental risks and violations of workers’ human rights along the supply chain. It is a breakthrough that fills a regulatory gap. [Nelle filiere globali arriva l’obbligo di due diligence sui diritti umani – lavoce.info]. (Read more)

2022 May, 9th update

Fashion’s sustainable journey on Fall/Winter 22-23 by eco design. A new report by retail analytics firm Edited examined the steps designers took to lessen their environmental footprint, from using botanical dyes (Gabriela Hearst) and biodegradable materials (Stine Goya) to repurposing sets like Prada, which plans to resell the carpeting it used. [On the Runway, Innovation Trails Upcycling Deadstock Fabrics – Sourcing Journal]. (Read more)

2022 May, 4th update

AAFA does join the “Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action” to bring emissions to net zero by 2050. The fashion industry has engaged in and remains fully committed to enhancing sustainability and social responsibility within the apparel, accessories, and footwear industry’s supply chains, the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) said in a statement published on Earth Day (Friday 22 April). [AAFA says apparel sector must align with global efforts on climate change – Just Style]. (Read more)

2022 April, 27th update

Takapas, a registered trademark that recycles safety shoes. Vincent Bia, manager of Bia Supplies in Calais, a company specialized in the sale of personal protective equipment, has registered the Takapas brand, specialized in the recycling of safety shoes. In France it is the only one to have faced this market. [Takapas, une marque déposée qui recycle les chaussures de sécurité – La Gazette Nord-Pas de Calais]. (Read more)

2022 April, 11th update

Tougher rules for fashion industry under new EU strategy. The Commission is presenting the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles aimed at making textiles more durable, repairable, reusable and recyclable, to tackle fast fashion, waste and the destruction of unsolds, and ensure their production takes place in full respect of social rights. Here the link to the “Press statement by Commissioner Sinkevicius on the adoption Circular Economy package (Ecodesign for Sustainable Products and Textiles)”. (Read more)

EU Circular Fashion Directive would harm Cambodia’s clothing-footwear sector. According to the Khmer Times, the new EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles harms Cambodia’s largest export sector, Garment Footwear and Travel Goods (GFT). (Read more)

2022 March, 29th update

Relocation of tanneries in the Sialkot Tannery Zone (Pakistan) is under implementation. Sialkot: Tanneries have begun to move from the city to the tannery industrial zone, which should greatly reduce environmental pollution. [Tanneries shifting to Sialkot tannery zone to help improve environment’- app.com]. (Read more)

2022 March, 23rd update

KEEN Footwear’s new slip-on line is made with recycled leather car seats. The fashion industry is notoriously polluting. KEEN makes shoes with recycled leather from car seats. This is reported by Green Matters. In addition to upcycling waste, KEEN operates with Gold Certified tanneries from the Leather Working Group.” Fashion is increasingly rich in recycling. Clothing with recycled deadstock and shoes with recycled plastic. (Read more)

2022 March, 21st update

Fashion isn’t becoming more sustainable, but next-generation materials can help. Using data from the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and Textile Exchange, the World Resources Institute (WRI) has estimated that emissions from the garment industry will be 1,025 gigatons of CO2e in 2019, or 2% of global emissions. On Forbes, fashion insider Brooke Roberts-Islam presents an overview of next-generation materials to reduce the environmental impact of textile and leather. (Read more)

2022 March, 8th update

Promoting circularity in the Tamil Nadu leather clusters for solid waste management. SDGS (Sustainable Development Goals): Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation, Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth, Goal 9: Industry innovation infrastructure, Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production. Key partners: (i) Solidaridad Regional Competence Centre, India (ii) PISIE, Italy [Promoting circularity in the Tamil Nadu leather clusters for solid waste management – SWITCH-Asia -European Union]. (Read more)

OECD Forum on Due Diligence in the Apparel and Footwear Sector. OECD Deputy Secretary-General Yoshiki Takeuchi explained from Paris how the fashion, apparel and footwear industry can recover from the COVID-19 pandemic in a way that protects the environment and vulnerable workers in the supply chain. (Read more)

2022 February, 26th update

Argentina, 30 tanneries will be transferred from Riachuelo so that they do not continue to pollute They are about half of those dedicated to activity in the basin. They are taken to a new industrial area that is almost finished in Villa Jardín, Lanús. [Medium environment. Sacan a 30 curtiembres del Riachuelo para que no sigan contaminando – Clarìn]. (Read more)

2022 February, 9th update

Thanks to Fashion Act Fashion is increasingly turning its gaze to legislation on restricted substances and more, as the news focuses on environmental and human rights. “A number of countries around the world are increasingly sensitive to ‘greenwashing’ and want transparency in the supply chain,” Neri Karra Sillaman told WWD. These criteria are applicable to each “priority” sector, including tanneries and textile industries. (Read more)

2022 February, 3rd update

New York targets the fashion industry with a proposed legislation on sustainability and social responsibility, the Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act, presented in The National Law Review on January 24, 2022. (Read more)

The Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC), has planned to build three leather industrial areas, according to The Business Standard. These include complementary areas for mechanics, with the aim of creating more than four million jobs over the next five years. (Read more)