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A Sustainable Apparel Industry Starts with Science-Based Metrics

June 29, 2017 |

This article was originally published on Ecotextile

“Sustainability in the corporate context has evolved to the point where the mere presence of sustainability objectives is not enough. This is increasingly apparent in the fashion industry, where stakeholder demand for transparency is on the rise.

In order to truly initiate change and remain competitive in a changing fashion landscape, sustainability goals must be aligned with and informed by a brand’s core sustainability issues. This requires the assessment of environmental impacts, risks and opportunities across the value chain. The data collected from this process can then be used to identify hotspots, set realistic and meaningful goals, define strategic roadmaps and communicate credibly about sustainability.

…The collaboration between Hugo Boss and Quantis then lead to the next step: to apply the Natural Capital Coalition’s Natural Capital Protocol to monetize the LCA data. The protocol facilitates the conversion of ecosystem services into a common unit that can easily be measured and compared. Monetizing eco-system services makes hotspots more visible and also helps organizations define priorities and tangible mitigation programs based on scientific facts.

In the case of both cotton t-shirts and shirts, ecosystem quality impacts, such as land use and toxicity, were identified as critical for cotton cultivation, while energy type and chemicals used during the refinement process were pinpointed as priorities for dyeing and spinning.

After prioritising impacts, it’s time to begin setting goals to address your company’s most pressing sustainability challenges. Moving a step beyond benchmarking, science-based goal setting offers companies a way to align their sustainability strategies with what the planet can support, rather than what other industry players are doing. Data collected during the LCA stage provides the key to determining specific and measurable targets to be monitored over time.

Drawing on the results of the LCAs and their subsequent monetization, Hugo Boss has developed a sustainable cotton strategy designed to tackle issues such as land use change and resource depletion through the consideration of local conditions and the use of advanced technologies. Additionally, the apparel company will mitigate impacts across scopes 1, 2 and 3 of the refinement process with the application of renewable energy and new technologies. A leather commitment is expected to follow…”

Read on at: Ecotextile.

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