Posted on: May 7, 2020
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Responsible Manufacturing has become an obligation to the environment and to society itself, enforced primarily by customer perspective and governmental regulations on environmental issues. This is mainly driven by the escalating deterioration of the environment, such as diminishing raw material resources, overflowing waste sites, and increasing levels of pollution.
Responsible Manufacturing related issues have found a large following in industry and academia, which aim to find solutions to the problems that arise in this newly emerged research area. Problems are widespread, including the ones related to the lifecycle of products, disassembly, material recovery, remanufacturing, and pollution prevention.
Below find a helpful infographic with with a following description of some of the new trends, inventions, and strides taking place within the clothing and footwear manufacturing industry.
Textile fibers are mainly classified into natural fibers and man-made (chemical) fibers. Natural fibers are obtained from natural sources such as plants, animals, or minerals. The origin of the natural fibers affects the subclassification of natural fibers. Plant fibers such as cotton, flax, jute, hemp, and so on are cellulosic natural fibers. Animal fibers (wool, mohair, silk, and so on) are protein fibers, which are obtained from different animals such as sheep, goats, camels, rabbits, caterpillars, and so on. Mineral fibers are another natural fiber class, which includes asbestos. Man-made fibers are subgrouped into regenerated fibers and synthetic fibers. Regenerated fibers are produced from a natural base material such as cellulose or protein. Viscose, modal, lyocell, casein, and soybean fibers are examples of regenerated fibers. Synthetic fibers are produced entirely from chemical substances, unlike regenerated fibers derived from natural substances. Synthetic fibers are mostly petroleum-derived fibers. Polyester, polyamide, polypropylene, and acrylic are examples of this fiber class.
Global Organic Textile Standard
GOTS defines specific environmental and social criteria for the complete manufacturing stages (spinning, weaving, knitting, pre-treatment, dyeing, printing, finishing, etc.) of textiles that are made from organic fibers, including the cultivation of cotton. GOTS states specific requirements and limits for organic fiber production, product labeling, textile production stages, accessories, environmental management, waste water management, quality assurance system, end products, residues in accessories, textile dyes and pigments, textile auxiliaries, storage, packaging, transportation, and social compliance.
Sustainable Textile Production
Sustainable textile production (STeP) by OEKO-TEX is a certification system from the International OEKO-TEX® Association to help brands and 16 Responsible Manufacturing: Issues Pertaining to Sustainability retailers evaluate and choose the sustainability of their suppliers. The certification is available for enterprises operating in all stages of textile production, from fiber production, weaving mills, and knitting mills to finishing facilities and manufacturers of ready-made textile items. STeP certification provides a reliable and comprehensive analysis of the sustainable management system provided by a manufacturing facility through modular analysis of all relevant areas, such as chemical management, environmental performance and management, work safety, social responsibility, and quality management.
The Higg Index is another sustainability tool, which focuses on measuring water and energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, waste, chemicals, and toxicity, aiming to assess the environmental and social impact of production. The Higg Index was developed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), which aims to enhance the sustainable and social performance of the clothing and footwear industry. This tool is being used to identify risks and opportunities for sustainability and to get the best outcomes, to learn about sustainability impacts, to assess the company’s position among companies of the same type, and to provide communication and business alliances and roadmap opportunities for possible improvements.
Learn more with a free chapter download from Responsible Manufacturing! Access your free chapter here.