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Eco-friendly Sneakers!


468862Global fitness brand Reebok has announced its Cotton + Corn sustainable products initiative, which will bring plant-based footwear to the market later this year. The initiative is developed by the Reebok Future team to create shoes “made from things that grow.”The first release will be a shoe that has an upper comprised of organic cotton and a base originating from industrial grown corn (a non-food source). Reebok partnered with DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products which has developed Susterra propanediol, a pure, petroleum-free, non-toxic, 100% USDA certified bio-based product to create the sole of the Cotton + Corn shoes.


The Head of Reebok Future Bill McInnis says that with Cotton + Corn all phases of the product lifecycle has been taken into account. In other words, with product development materials which can grow and be replenished, rather than the petroleum-based materials, are employed without sacrificing the look and perfomance of sneakers. More importantly, they can even be used as compost after they’re worn out. Reebok states that the company’s ultimate goal is to create a broad selection of bio-based footwear that can be composted after use in order to to grow the materials for the next range of shoes.


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“Dilo-Isomation” paving the way for sustainable nonwovens

Kullan07Dilo needling linesIn accordance with the increasing costs for energy and raw materials, all the textile-manufacturing chains pursue for energy and raw material saving possibilities. So do the nonwoven manufacturers. As the premier builder and supplier of complete “made in Germany” nonwoven lines specifically engineered to customer needs “made in Germany” for staple fibre nonwoven production, Dilo Group concentrated on developing new equipment to improve operation efficiency, web quality and uniformity, with positive effects on all staple fibre bonding processes. Read the full story

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Turkish Chemical Industry & Textile Chemicals

In addition to the end products it provides such as plastic, cosmetics, medicines and dyes, chemical industry has an important role in economy as a sector providing byproducts and raw materials to many sectors.

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Top 10 “Green” celebrities

Megan O’Connell at Beliefnet features Top 10 “Green” celebrities who have dedicated themselves to a sustainable and green world by impressive and responsible actions. The list includes top celebrities Leonardo Di Caprio, Tom Hanks, Alicia Silverstone, Edward Norton and George Clooney.

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H&M again No.1 user of certified organic cotton

H&M is again topping the list of the world’s biggest users of certified organic cotton, according to Textile Exchange’s latest Organic Cotton Market Report 2013. With a 29% increase in the last year, H&M manifests its leading position. This is part of the company’s strategic target to use only more sustainable cotton by 2020.

“We congratulate H&M on its continued impressive demonstration of leadership. H&M is a wonderful example of a company making meaningful change in the textile industry. With its constantly increasing demand for organic cotton, H&M sends an important signal to producers and at the same time makes more sustainable fashion accessible and desirable to a broad target group.” says LaRhea Pepper, Managing Director at Textile Exchange.

In 2013, 10.8% of the cotton used for H&M was certified organic, a continued increase from 7.8% in 2012.

“We are very proud of this achievement and we have set a clear goal to further increase our usage of certified organic cotton. This is part of our strategic target to use only more sustainable cotton by 2020.” says Henrik Lampa, H&M’s Environmental Sustainability Manager.

H&M headed Textile Exchange’s annual ranking already in 2010 and 2011 and took the second rank in 2012. All organic cotton used for H&M is independently certified. All garments containing at least 50% certified organic cotton are clearly labeled with a dedicated hang tag.

“To achieve our ambitious target, we create a growing demand for certified organic cotton, while additionally investing in Better Cotton and pioneering recycled cotton. All together means major improvements for people and the environment and makes clear business sense.” Henrik Lampa continues.

Better Cotton is cotton grown in a way that aims to reduce stress on the local environment and to improve the livelihoods and wellbeing for farmers and their communities. H&M is very actively involved in the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI). Between 2011 and 2013 alone, H&M directly invested more than EUR 2 million in BCI’s Fast Track Program to equip farmers with the required know-how. So far, more than 300,000 farmers have been trained. By the end of the financial year 2013, Better Cotton represented 5% of H&M’s total cotton use.

Earlier this year, H&M launched the first products made with recycled cotton that had been generated from consumer textile waste. This came after H&M had launched the world’s first global garment collecting scheme, aiming to pioneer a closed loop for textile production.

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C&A warns of supply shortage for organic cotton

Despite an increasing demand in international markets, global production of organic cotton continues to decline. This development bears ecological, social and economic consequences for all in the worldwide supply chain for organic cotton. Measured against the global production of cotton, the share of organic cotton today is only 1 percent.

For C&A Europe, which has been dedicated to promoting organic cotton production for 10 years already, counteracting this step backwards is a special priority.

Thorsten Rolfes, Head of Corporate Communications Europe, explains, “We are now at a critical point in which the demand for organic cotton is exceeding the supply. The availability uncertainty tied to this threatens to endanger long-term investment in organic cotton.”

After worldwide production of organic cotton continuously rose up to the year 2011, crop yields subsequently sank by 8 percent in the following years. Regardless of the fact that, at the same time, 50 percent of the production countries increased their production of organic cotton. Reasons for this are e.g. lack of knowledge regarding organic cultivation methods and lacking cooperation between the communities.

To spread awareness of this problem, C&A is now publishing the informational brochure “Let’s take Bio Cotton to everyone every day.” This comprehensively explains the added value and current challenges of organic cotton production, and shows opportunities for all those in the global supply chain. Here, C&A sees garment industry companies as having particular responsibility.

“Brands play a key role in the development of organic cotton as a sustainable resource. Some brands are taking action, but the supply crisis shows that much more needs to be done. Collaboration is the key – working in partnership with experts, local communities and governments can enable organic cotton to realize its full potential,” says Rolfes. “But firms can make a difference not only in the production countries but also in the sales markets by making their customers aware of the subject of organic cotton. In our experience, it is possible to create awareness, fulfill the demand and be profitable.”

C&A is currently the largest buyer of organic cotton and sold over 100 million products made from organic cotton in the fiscal year 2013 – another significant increase in comparison to the previous year. The share of organic cotton against the total cotton collection is 38 percent. All cotton in C&A products labelled with Bio Cotton is 100 percent certified organic cotton – never blended. Seventy-five percent of the processed organic cotton, which is cultivated without the use of pesticides and artificial fertilizers, comes from farm projects supported by the C&A Foundation – around 60,000 farmers in India benefit from these projects. The social- and environmental programs place focus on the local communities in the production regions with the aim of improving the living conditions of the cotton farmers who work there. Examples of projects include drip irrigation and the provision of organic seeds, along with instruction for the farmers and other important partners in the organic cotton supply chain.

“CottonConnect” also adheres to these principles and is an independent company founded by C&A in partnership with Textile Exchange and Shell Foundation. The objective of “CottonConnect” is to more sustainably structure the global cotton supply chain through collaboration with 22 textile retail companies and fashion brands. All profits are exclusively reinvested.

C&A has set itself the long-term goal of procuring its entire cotton collection from sustainable production by the year 2020. At the same time, C&A Foundation is supporting a number of initiatives aimed at increasing organic production and improving farmer livelihoods. Recently, the foundation, in partnership with CottonConnect, held the first Organic Cotton Roundtable in India as a “Call to Action” for stakeholders to come together to address the decrease in production. You can find more information on organic cotton at C&A and the brochure “Let’s take Bio Cotton to everyone every day”

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M&S Strikes Landmark Deal To Buy Biomethane Gas Certificates

Marks & Spencer (M&S) has agreed a landmark deal with Future Biogas for the purchase of 35,000 Mega-Watt hours of biomethane certificates, a move which will reduce its carbon footprint by over 6,400 tonnes and source the equivalent amount of energy to heat 15 M&S Simply Food stores all year round.

Biomethane gas is 50 per cent more carbon efficient than average gas supplies and is generated by anaerobic digestion, fuelled by farm waste. The biomethane gas will be produced at the Vulcan Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plant near Doncaster using break crops (non-commercial crops used for soil regeneration) from farms across Yorkshire and the North East. The gas is then pumped into the national grid. M&S’ deal with Future Biogas funds the production and M&S benefits from the carbon reduction through the certification scheme.
It also provides significant revenues for farmers, giving break crops a commercial route to market not previously available.
Gio Patellaro, M&S Head of Energy Supply & Risk said:
“Over the past couple of years, M&S has worked tirelessly to improve its carbon efficiency and innovate in sustainability. As the first UK retailer to buy biomethane to use in this way, we are blazing a trail in the market place that we hope others will follow. With the help of Future Biogas, this deal takes us one step further in our commitment to ensure 50% of the energy used in M&S buildings comes from certified green biomethane sources by 2020.”
Since the inception of its “Plan A” programme, M&S has been a leader and innovator in supporting a renewable energy generation, including contracting directly with renewable generators under its award winning Price Guarantee Agreement structure.
Philipp Lukas, Future Biogas Managing Director said:
“We are thrilled to be working with Marks & Spencer on this exciting and new venture. We look forward to supplying biomethane to M&S to help them deliver their market leading commitment to carbon reduction.”

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Bayer MaterialScience and bluesign technologies enter into strategic alliance

Bayer MaterialScience and bluesign technologies are joining forces for a sustainable textile industry and want to advance their initiative globally. The two companies have agreed to enter into a strategic alliance for this purpose. The objective is to ensure safe production processes and working conditions along the entire value chain. 

Bluesign technologies is a global leader in evaluating the use of chemicals in the textile industry. The bluesign® system defines criteria for chemicals use, including the responsible use of resources, effective hazardous materials management and the elimination of all dangerous substances. 

Bayer MaterialScience recently set a milestone in innovative and sustainable textile coating with the introduction of INSQIN®, an integrated and complete package for the textile industry based on waterborne polyurethane technology. The package encompasses all aspects of materials development, right through to production by certified manufacturers. This approach redefines the idea of collaboration within the value chain.

Years of commitment to sustainability

“Bayer MaterialScience has been supporting its customers for a long time now in achieving goals of both innovation and sustainability,” explains Nicholas Smith, global head of Textile Coating at Bayer MaterialScience. “With our waterborne, totally solvent-free polyurethane raw materials, users currently can greatly improve industrial hygiene, cut energy consumption by 50 percent, and water use by as much as 95 percent.”

The new partnership with bluesign technologies fits in perfectly with Bayer MaterialScience’s comprehensive sustainability concept, which aims to improve people’s lives while at the same time conserving resources and minimizing the impact on mankind and the environment.

bluesign® database provides information on Bayer products

The company has had the waterborne polyurethane dispersions in its Impranil® line tested and certified under the bluesign® system. Textile manufacturers in search of chemicals with bluesign® certification can now find information on these products in the bluefinder database, that currently has data on some 5,000 chemicals used in the industry.

“We are very pleased to welcome a worldwide leading raw materials supplier like Bayer MaterialScience as a bluesign® systems partner,” says its initiator and CEO Peter Waeber. “The company increases the range of certified substances that customers in the textile industry can use to achieve production operations that are compatible with both people and the environment. Bayer also supports our goal of further establishing the bluesign® system as a global standard for a sustainable textile industry with the best possible consumer protection.”

The bluesign® system gives consideration to substance lists with restricted use and advises manufacturers on how to minimize hazards to people and the environment. By jointly using the system, participants can cut costs along the processing chain and meet new market demands more quickly. The “bluesign® approved” label is accepted by both brand owners and major wholesalers.

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Garment Printing expands its organic clothing product line by joining forces with Stanley & Stella

Garment Printing stocks a wide network of clothing brands such as American Apparel, Adidas, Fruit of the Loom, B&C, Nike, Continental Clothing and many more. The latest addition to expand the sustainable range is Stanley & Stella.

Sustainability is at the forefront of things. Garment Printing offers clothing companies the opportunity to be more responsible for their actions, and share the belief that fast fashion is not sustainable anymore. They offer a wide range of organic environmentally friendly clothing produced in sustainable ways, as well as environmentally friendly printing techniques such as water-based screen-printing.

The whole textile printing and fashion industry was shocked, when in April last year a textile factory collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh, killing over 1100 people that were working in the unsafe building. For many, this horrible incident lead to a change in mindset towards slow fashion and away from fast fashion, now focusing on sustainably produced garments, reducing environmental impact while offering workers safe working conditions and adequate remuneration.

This change of mindset has led to the initiation of the Fashion Revolution Day, in which Garment Printing participated to showcase its organic range and sustainable printing techniques.

To offer clients a wide range of products while remaining sustainable, the next step for Garment Printing was to join forces with Stanley & Stella. They work with sustainable fabrics such as organic cotton, Tencel, Lenzig Modal and Linen, and fabrication processes that have low energy consumption from renewable energies with alternative uses for all by-products and consequently no waste. Finally, the warehouses are 100% solar-powered and shipment takes place by sea, which is less polluting than air-road-shipment.

“With Stanley & Stella we can bring sustainable fashion to the Work wear, promotional clothing & t-shirt printing world for companies and brands that want to make a difference,” says Gavin Drake, Director, Garment Printing.

Garment Printing has printed for clients such as Unicef using organic clothing and sustainable printing techniques, however also other, smaller clients such as the restaurant Makamaka in Barcelona use organic Bamboo clothing for their work wear.

With organic clothing and sustainable printing techniques, we can all change the textile industry, one step at a time.

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First textile company receives certificate for sustainable textile production

The certification of Hermann Bühler AG was the debut of the new certification system “Sustainable Textile Production (STeP) by OEKO-TEX®”

The Swiss yarn manufacturer Hermann Bühler AG was the very first company worldwide to receive a certificate for sustainable textile production in line with the certification system “Sustainable Textile Production (STeP) by OEKO-TEX®”, which was developed by the International OEKO-TEX® Association.

Serge Rolle and Adrian Meili from the Swiss textile testing institute TESTEX AG presented the very first certificate to the team of Martin Kägi (CEO Bühler Group) and René Reichmuth (CEO Bühler AG) during a small ceremony on 4 July 2013. Martin Kägi is very happy about the certificate: “The issue of sustainability is more and more in the public eye. Our company has already been employing an integrated strategy for some time, taking into account the manufacturing of first rate yarns as a basis for high-quality durable clothing as well as environmentally friendly production conditions. The interactive STeP web tool assessment quickly and unbureaucratically recorded our modern, effective production methods and the initiatives of our committed employees on a process and product level. We were also able to use the assessment phase to verify our current position. The certification for sustainable textile production is a confirmation for our actions so far and acts as further incentive.” René Reichmuth adds: “We are also very proud of the fact that we are the first textile company in the world to have achieved this. Now that is really something! We made a conscious decision for this new certification system because it does not just query whether certain factors have been achieved but also to what extent.”

Sustainable Textile Production (STeP) by OEKO-TEX®

The International OEKO-TEX® Association, based in Zurich/Switzerland, have developed STeP “Sustainable Textile Production” as a new certification to provide modular analysis for environmentally friendly and socially responsible companies in the textile chain. It provides globally active textile brands, retail companies and manufacturers along the textile chain with an objective and transparent tool for communicating their sustainable production conditions to the public in a clear and credible manner. The heart of the new STeP certification is the modular analysis of all relevant company areas such as quality management, use of chemicals, environmental protection, environmental management, social responsibility, and health and safety. As the certification tool is specifically tailored to the situations in the individual processing stages of the textile and clothing industry, it can provide interested companies with targeted support for the continuous improvement of their production conditions. Precondition for certification is the successful auditing of the production facilities through one of the associated OEKO-TEX® institutes. The assessment in how far STeP certified companies are already working sustainably is made on the basis of a scoring system using a web-based process. Existing company certificates such as ISO 9000, ISO 14001, SA 8000 etc. are recognised for STeP certification and will be taken into account for evaluation of the individual modules.

Adrian Meili from TESTEX also believes in the advantages of the STeP certification system: “Textile and clothing manufacturers can make their production processes much more efficient on the basis of a STeP certification. With the scorings for the individual areas, our system helps them to determine their company’s positioning with regard to sustainability and identifies areas for improvement. This transparent assessment in the modules and in the questions is provided by the new, modern STeP certification system which has replaced the company-based certification system OEKO-TEX® Standard 1000 as of July 2013. The previous system only allowed the companies to achieve one step to certification after the assessment. The main focus is clearly on depicting all activities within the company.“

Hermann Bühler AG

The Swiss Hermann Bühler AG produces yarn for the most discerning customers at their factory in Winterthur. The company, whose tradition goes back 200 years, set standards with regard to innovative products, first-rate quality and prfect customer service. The extensive range of yarns is produced by 145 employees in the Swiss canton of Zurich. Numerous yarn qualities, which the company supply to many international circular knitting mills, weaving mills and warp knitting mills, are the basic material for a great variety of swiss+cotton® textiles. The yarn range of the company meets the highest requirements not only where product quality is concerned, however, but also in terms of production ecology. As one of the very first companies, Hermann Bühler AG have been documenting the human ecology optimisation of their yarns according to OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 to the public since 1993. And since 2007 the factory has been certified as an environmentally friendly and socially acceptable production facility in line with the requirements of OEKO-TEX® Standard 1000. With the new certification according to STeP by OEKO-TEX®, Hermann Bühler AG once again prove their comprehensive commitment to environmental protection and sustainability which is firmly rooted in the company philosophy.

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