Textile Industry Boosts Green Credentials Via Certification

by | Jul 22, 2009

textilesThe textile and garment industry is boosting its green credentials through industry and supplier-driven certifications that ensure the safety of their supply chain. These certifications include Oeko-Tex, bluesign, EU Flower and EcoLabel. In addition, textile manufacturers are moving ahead with environmental initiatives targeted at energy efficiency, renewable energy, waste recycling and other green technologies.

Here’s a quick rundown of some eco-certifications from fibre2fashion.com.

Oeko-Tex Certification Body (USA) lists substances typically found in Restricted Substance Lists (RSLs), as well as skin-sensitizing substances. Oeko-Tex has issued 73,000 certifications to manufacturers in more than 80 countries since its introduction in 1992.

The bluesign standard regulates more than 600 restricted or banned substances. The “Input Stream Management” requires the advance testing of all components and processes involved in manufacturing the product instead of only examining the manufacturers’ final product, according to fibre2fashion.

The Ecological and Toxicological Association of Dyes and Organic Pigments Manufacturers (ETAD) member companies coordinate their efforts to minimize adverse impacts of organic colorants on health and the environment, reports fibre2fashion. Member companies must adhere to the ETAD Code of Ethics, based on the principles of responsible care, and they must also comply with all national and international chemical regulations.

The European Eco-label is a voluntary scheme designed to encourage businesses to market products and services that are kinder to the environment. The “flower” label is awarded only to those products with the lowest environmental impact in a product range, based on studies analyzing the impact of the product on the environment throughout its life-cycle, starting from raw material extraction in the pre-production stage, through production, distribution, and disposal, reports fibre2fashion.

Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) certifies compliant manufacturing and service facilities to a 12-point labor and environmental code. The program looks at RSLs as part of its certifications, especially as part of the new WRAPe program, which evaluates chemical use, restricted chemicals, and REACH compliance, according to fibre2fasion.

Textile manufacturers are also proactively looking at their own facilities and production processes to reduce their environmental impact in part by tougher regulations.

As an example, Kendall Tang, director of Richfield Tang Knits Ltd, known as RT Knits, a factory at La Tour Koenig, Mauritius, told allAfrica.com that the company has developed a new strategy based on green production to reduce costs and to improve the work environment.

The 800,000-square foot factory, built on 30 acres of land, has installed over 150 solar panels on the roof of the building with more planned after the dye plants start operation in a year, and wind energy is used for ventilation and dust evacuation, which reduces the company’s energy consumption by 30 percent, reports allAfrica.com.

Other factories in Mauritius are following in the footsteps of RT Knits, according to allAfrica.com. They are adopting energy-saving technologies; implementing environmental management programs; and introducing innovative concepts aimed at promoting sustainable development, reducing carbon emissions and clean manufacturing.

Industry minister Dharam Gokhool said in the article that Mauritius has no choice but to promote a clean textile sector as part of its national strategy for a greener economy. The government has implemented several initiatives that include industrial waste and effluent discharge regulations and standards scheduled to come into force as from Dec 1, 2008, reports the news site.

Green and clean textile and garment manufacturing is part of a greater concept called “Mauritius, a Sustainable Island” (MSI) launched by the government last year. This is a project aimed at making the small island an integrated system of energy production, distribution and saving, according to allAfrica.com.

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