Textile industry is well known for consuming large amount of energy, water and natural resources. The high impact on environment has forced the textile industry to take the path of sustainability. Today, the consumers are aware about the greenhouse emission, global warming and increasing carbon footprint, which is caused due to textile pollution. Hence, there has been an increase in the demand for sustainable textiles.
The production process, from manufacturing fibre to finished garment poses great risk to the environment. Production and processing of sustainable textiles not only help to reduce the negative impacts to the environment, but also support millions of workers to earn fair wages and ensure proper working conditions.
In the past decade textile companies, apparel brands and consumers at large have taken the problems like climate change and development of sustainable textiles more seriously. As a result, consumers are demanding textiles that have been produced in an ethical manner. This, in turn has increased the demand of sustainable and eco-friendly textiles. Today, sustainability has become the highest priority for most companies dealing in apparels and textiles.
New sustainable solutions need to be explored to meet the growing demand of sustainable textiles. Considering the textile industry in China, many mills have been closed due to implementation of strict laws to tackle the problem of water scarcity and textile pollution. Implementing such laws increase awareness among the consumers to buy textiles that use less water, energy and chemicals and lowers the environmental impact.
A sustainable method that uses natural and neutral cellulases can actually combine four steps (bleaching, cleaning-up, dyeing and bioblasting) in one single bath. As this method eliminates few steps, which is normally used in conventional bioblasting, it significantly saves water and energy and is gentle on the environment. This development will be of great help for the textile manufacturers who are trying to reduce the water consumption.
Similarly, for leather production, using enzyme is an effective and a sustainable alternative to chemicals used to remove the grease. The enzymatic degreasing method can effectively remove large amount of fat. It also saves good amount of energy, time and eliminates the use of harmful chemicals like tensides and solvents. There is no doubt that sustainable processes will benefit the business and add goodwill to the company. Also, it will benefit the environment and society.
Since long, the fashion industry has been striving to embrace the sustainable approach so that it becomes a priority for the brands and the customers. The fashion industry of UK is estimated to be worth more than 21 billion pounds. The people are eager to pick the ramp fashion from the retail stores. In the midst of fashion trends and availability of cheap and stylish clothing, the concept of eco-fashion sometimes gets neglected by the designers as well as consumers.
However, this scenario is gradually changing. Many young industrialists, in the first decade of the 21st century, considered sustainable fashion as an important aspect of their business. Due to this, big brands were pressurized to incorporate sustainability in their business. Even, international fashion shows are encouraging designers and brands to showcase their sustainable clothing line.
Today, eco-brands and green clothing have become a common thing and are found in retail garment stores to mainstream fashion. While consumer awareness regarding sustainable clothing has grown considerably, they want to avail it easily. Therefore, more number of companies are joining the sustainability campaign and manufacturing sustainable textiles. At the same time, fashion brands can propagate and persuade people to buy sustainable clothing and still remain fashionable.
Some consumers do not wish to spend more money on sustainable fabrics or garments. In contrast, there are many consumers who want information regarding the garments or textiles they buy. Hence, it is important to bring transparency and traceability into sustainable clothing, which will enable consumers to gather information about the products they buy and compare the sustainability of different brands.
In the last few years man-made fibre industry has witnessed a global growth. More than 60% of fibres consumed in the world are man-made fibers. The production ratio of natural fibres to artificial fibres is 35:65%. The challenge is to use these fibres in manufacturing eco- friendly clothing and goods. It has been observed that not only the global climate is changing, but the approach of the man-made fiber industry is also changing towards sustainability.
The environmental impacts of the textile industry have led all the big companies to change their policies and include sustainability as their core concept. Renowned fashion and organic cotton brands have proved that sustainable clothing and textile is a profitable business. Nowadays, companies that refuse to adopt sustainable approach are surely at a disadvantage as far as business and goodwill are concerned.
At present, many companies are ready to cater to the increasing demand for sustainable textiles. These companies also provide information regarding green house gas emissions generated during the production, transport and storage. Also, there is a noteworthy change in the attitude of many consumers. They are ready to pay more money to purchase sustainably produced textiles.
It is clear that the textile industry is going through a period of change to create demand for sustainable yarns and textiles. Moreover, 'Going Green' does not mean making huge capital investments or trying to achieve unrealistic targets. In the current scenario, the success of the business is closely linked with the economic, social and environmental stability. The government also has the responsibility to create a feasible situation for the companies to pursue the approach of sustainability.
It is a proven fact that consumer awareness will play an important role in the growth of sustainable clothing in future. The real meaning of sustainability is to change the way of doing things in order to become more environment friendly. This will help to preserve the scarce natural resources. If the entire supply chain in the textile industry becomes responsible, it can significantly contribute to increase the supply of sustainable textiles.