Posts tagged ‘sustainability’

Wal Mart – Jolly GREEN Giant?

Not long ago Wal-Mart announced their global commitment to sustainable agriculture in which they aimed to help small and medium sized farmers expand their businesses, get more income for their product and reduce the environmental impact of farming.  Wal-Mart pledged to make it’s Faded Glory brand  100% more sustainable.  Now, just a few months later, reports from India indicate that the retail giant may be cutting back on it’s use of organic cotton.

Anil Jain of Venus Garments stated, “We had a considerable good order for organic garments from Wal-Mart last year which is has not continued for this year.”  Although sizeable orders continue to come in from Wal-Mart, it’s Spring 2011 line is made up of a mixture of both conventional and organic cotton as opposed to 100% organic cotton.

According to one advisor at Ecotextile News, the most likely reason behind Wal-Marts decision to cut back on their sustainability commitments has something to do with the record high costs of cotton.  Five years ago, organic cotton was selling 20 – 25 cents per pound more than conventional cotton, whereas today organic cotton is 5 – 7 cents more per pound.

Some industry leaders have suggested that any cut backs by Wal-Mart may last only a short while until the prices return to reasonable rates.  Either way, downsizing of Wal-Marts organic cotton commitment will be a disappointing blow to Indian organic cotton farmers.

19/10/2010 at 10:13 am Leave a comment

Shaping Tomorrows Industry

This years RITE Group Conference takes place on October 6th at Central Hall Westminster in London UK.  Organizers have confirmed that exhibition space has been sold out and that a line up of notable figures from the fashion and textile industries will be speaking.  Speakers include;

This years theme, “Shaping Tomorrows Industry”, focuses largely on sustainability touching on subjects such as;

  • Fashion Futures 2025: Making Sense of Uncertainty.  Scenarios for the Future of the Industry
  • Reducing the Impact of Textiles on the Environment – A Chemical Manufacturers View
  • Consumer Attitudes and Behaviours Around Textile Purchasing, Use and Disposal.
  • Global Cotton Production: Trends and Challenges in sustainability
  • Sustainability in Textiles – Progress and Next Steps?
  • Ethical Sourcing Issues

The goal and vision of RITE Group as stated on their website is to develop and provide advice and fact based information to reduce the negative environmental effects of the production, use and disposal of textiles and to drive forward the sustainable and ethical production of textiles and apparel throughout the global supply chain.  They provide a forum for different sectors of the textile industry to share views and best practice and our success is based on the facilitation of discussions between industry, retail, academia, media, scientists, designers and government.

30/09/2010 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

The Buzz on Bamboo

BambooDue to its luxurious softness, smooth hand, flowing drape and easy price – bamboo has gained entry into the apparel and fashion industry.  It’s being touted as the latest and hottest sustainable eco fabric but some are starting to question this.

There’s no denying that bamboo is wonderfully beneficial for the planet.  It does not require the use of chemical pesticides,  requires very little water to grown and it does not require replanting after harvesting because its vast root network continually sprouts new shoots.  It’s not until we begin to look at the manufacturing processes that the “eco friendly” luster is tarnished due to the use of heavy chemicals, many of which are toxic.

Bamboo is pulped using traditional kraft pulping technology which is notoriously toxic.  The bamboo fibre is ground up and treated with chemicals that turn it into a liquid pulp.  The liquid is then pressed through a spinneret. The extruded streams of liquid harden into fibers that are then woven together to make bamboo fabric.  Rendering bamboo from a plant to a yarn involves a chemical process – the same process that is being used for conventional rayon and viscose which are a ‘regenerated cellulose fiber’s made by man.  This process is highly polluting and involves carbon disulfide emissions.  Breathing low levels of carbon disulfide can cause tiredness, headache and nerve damage and it has been linked to neural disorders in workers at rayon manufacturing facilities.

The Federal Trade Commission recently sued four small bamboo-clothing manufacturers earlier this year, citing them for false labeling.  The companies had used language such as “natural,” “biodegradable,” and “antimicrobial.”  The FTC said, “Bamboo fabric isn’t natural since it’s a textile developed by chemists.”  The agency also stated that the biodegradable and antimicrobial qualities of the plant don’t survive the manufacturing process.  The FTC released the following article based on their findings – “Have You Been Bamboozled by Bamboo Fabrics?”.

CRAILAR Advanced Materials provides an alternative to the pollution caused by traditional cellulose pulping for the textile market.   The CRAILAR pulping process is a much gentler process when compared to Kraft pulping and produces a pure cellulose with properties that exceed those of the best pulps on the market.  The processing chemicals used, while not certified organic, are almost completely recycled.  In fact, over 95% of the chemicals we use are recycled and reused while the balance is consumed during the process.  Unlike many of the so-called eco fibers (bamboo and soy for example) which rely on dirty technology to process them, our patented CRAILAR Advanced Materials process is not only gentle on the fibre itself, but is also a much cleaner and sustainable approach to regenerated cellulose yarn.

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20/11/2009 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

A Radical Industrialist: Profits, People, Purpose

Ray Anderson

America’s “Greenest CEO” continues to inspire with the release of his new book, Confessions of a Radical Industrialist.

Ray Anderson is more than just the founder of Interface, the worlds largest manufacturer of modular carpeting, he is also a pioneer and hero of corporate sustainability.

For years, Anderson’s company had manufactured carpets using a toxic, petroleum-based process, releasing immense amounts of air and water pollution and creating tons of waste. It wasn’t until 1994, after reading the book, The Ecology of Commerce, that Anderson had an epiphany – “I read it, and it was a spear in the chest, an eye-opening , earth-shaking, life-changing experience.”

Soon after, Anderson became know for his advanced and progressive stand on industrial ecology and sustainability.  Anderson’s company cut greenhouse gas emissions by 82 percent, eight of ten Interface plants have achieved the 100 percent renewable energy mark, and the company uses 100 percent recycled yarn for carpets. While implementing these green initiatives, the company increased sales by 66 percent, doubled earnings, and raised profit margin.

Ray Anderson has been named one of MSNBC Top 15 Green Business Leaders in 2007, one of Time Magazine’s Heroes of the Environment and he’s been featured in two groundbreaking documentaries – The Corporation and The 11th Hour.

Don’t forget to grab a copy of his new book!

06/11/2009 at 7:30 am Leave a comment

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