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Sustainability round-up October 2022

By Simone Preuss

11 Nov 2022

Business

Tree Girl. Illustration: Jackie Mallon

Much was happening in October in terms of sustainable efforts in the textile and apparel industry -- from regenerative cotton farming for denim and more sustainable materials to circular approaches. A new report revailed that the resale market tripled in just two years and an international sustainable design project brought together different European schools. Read on for more!

Grassroots

On the cultivation side, Italian denim manufacturer Candiani developed a plant-based stretch yarn from natural rubber to replace petroleum-based synthetic yarns in a first fully circular experiment. Over a period of seven weeks, partner Rodale Institute used the new Coreva yarn to fertilise the soil and grow regenerative Blue Seed cotton.

The non-profit group Better Cotton and several other partners meanwhile announced the launch of the Delta Framework, a new standard for “consolidated and consistent” sustainability reporting.

New York’s governor Kathy Hochul -- in the news last month for announcing 10 million US dollars in state funding towards a new Fashion Innovation Centre (FIC) -- has made headlines again. This month, she signed in the ‘New York Textile Act’ to help connect farmers of plant or animal fibres with the textile industry to drive local, sustainable development. This will particularly have an impact on New York-grown fibres like hemp, sheep, goats, alpaca and other sources, all of which fall in line with the local demand for textiles.

Global environmental non-profit Canopy was able to get 515 of the world’s leading fashion designers and apparel brands to commit to keeping products from vital forests out of their fabric supply chains and sourcing low-carbon production alternatives instead.

Innovative materials

On the product side, some brands and retailers thought out of the box: Swedish upcycling fashion brand Rave Review, for example, founded by design duo Josephine Bergqvist and Livia Schück, collaborated with Czech car manufacturer Škoda and came out with an exclusive clothing collection partly made from scrapped cars.

Danish clothing company Bestseller launched the first pants with Spinnova fibres for its Jack & Jones brand while pop star Rita Ora unveiled her sustainable activewear brand Humans Being that uses sustainable and recyclable materials with a circular lifecycle, including Ynviron from Antex, recycled plastic bottles and natural materials like organic cotton.

Circular fashion

Recyclable services specialist Texaid, together with spinning machine manufacturer Rieter, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts and partners from the public sector, retail and brands, completed the two-year textile recycling project "TexCircle", taking textile-to-textile recycling a step forward. The result is a range of product prototypes from sweaters, socks and curtains to carpets, upholstery and accessories designed with between 50 and 80 percent recycled fibres and yarns.

LanzaTech, a company dedicated to turning waste carbon into materials that has collaborated with brands like On and Zara, has announced a new funding partnership with Brookfield Renewable. The initial 500 million US dollar investment will go towards the co-development and construction of new commercial-scale production plants which will employ LanzaTech’s Carbon Capture and Transformation (CCT) technology.

Greenwashing

The topic of greenwashing was also considered this month, or rather how to counteract it. While French luxury group Kering presented new guidelines on this topic, the Norwegian and Dutch regulatory authorities published a guide on the use of the Higg MSI. A UK watchdog also proposed new rules to combat greenwashing. Better Cotton and partners, meanwhile, introduced a framework to report more consistently on sustainability indicators.

South Pole, a firm centred around supporting businesses with their sustainability goals, highlighted in the third edition of its annual report the “green hushing” trend. This refers to the rise in less public-facing communication of science-based targets (SBT), making these goals harder to scrutinise and potentially putting a limit on knowledge-sharing.

Also read:

Circular Fashion
Resale
SUSTAINABILITY
SUSTAINABLE FASHION
UPCYCLING