The textile and clothing supply chain starts with fibres and, as such, the environmental sustainability of the supply chain depends on the way those fibres are grown or manufactured and the raw materials used. Cotton growing can consume large amounts of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides and huge amounts of water. The manufacture of cellulosic man-made fibres can involve the use of harmful chemicals, and the polymers used in the manufacture of synthetic fibres are derived mostly from unsustainable fossil fuels. In this edition of "Talking strategy", Robin Anson analyses the environmental impact of various fibre manufacturing processes, examines the environmental impact of different fibre types during wet processes such as dyeing, bleaching, finishing and laundering, and describes some of the measures being taken to improve environmental sustainability in these areas. Also, he compares the environmental sustainability of different fibre types, describes some of the steps being taken to improve environmental sustainability in fibre manufacture, and comments on the growing number of fibre, textile and garment recycling and "re-engineering" initiatives.
SETTING THE SCENE
FIBRES AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Which fibres are more sustainable to produce? Natural or man-made?
Which fibres are more sustainable to process? Natural or man-made?
Which fibres are more sustainable in relation to customer care? Natural or man-made?
ARE SUSTAINABLE FIBRES INCREASING IN IMPORTANCE?
WHAT STEPS CAN BE TAKEN TO INCREASE SUSTAINABILITY?
Improving the sustainability of cotton growing
Better Cotton Initiative (BCI)
Cotton made in Africa (CmiA)
Fairtrade certified cotton
Improving the sustainability of man-made cellulosic fibres
Improving the sustainability of synthetic fibres
Improving the sustainability of textiles and garments
RECYCLING AND RE-ENGINEERING
List of figures
Figure 1: Trends in fibre production volumes by fibre type, 2000-16
Figure 2: Trends in fibre production shares by fibre type, 2000-16
Figure 3: Trends in US apparel import shares by fibre type, 1990-2016