Textile Processing Guide: Pre-treatment, Colouration and Finishing
Machinery and Chemistry Innovations
There are opportunities to reduce GHG emissions by switching to renewable energy as well as implementing process efficiency improvements, including better insulation, heat recovery and metering. The Apparel Impact Institute focuses on implementing these improvements through their Clean by Design Programme. A recent case study from a facility who had implemented the Clean by Design Programme showed up to 10% CO2 reduction (10% includes 4% reduction in natural gas, 5.8% in electricity, 5% in coal and 8% in steam use) can be achieved10. An advantage of this approach is that the projects are low risk, meaning the workflows of the textile mills are not disrupted and the performance of these technologies has already been proven.
A significant amount of effort from all supply chain stakeholders has been put into phasing out harmful chemistry. Many brands have implemented restricted substances lists (RSLs) defined by organisations like ZDHC and AFIRM and chemical manufacturers have developed chemistries that are non-hazardous and less harmful.
Certifications from organisations such as Bluesign and OEKO-TEX help verify the content of these products and are often a requirement of brands. Alongside this compliance with REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals) legislation (European Union’s legislation on chemicals) is required in order to be able to sell products in Europe.
However, there is still a long way to go to phase out all harmful chemicals as innovations need to also meet the necessary performance requirements. In order to achieve a real step change, the industry needs the disruptive innovations discussed later in this report.