Climate Change: The challenge of a sustainable textile industry

INDUSTRIA TEXTIL SOSTENIBLE

The production of the textile industry has doubled in recent years to satisfy a high demand from the population and to meet a new consumption model based on fast fashion. This new way of consuming has led the textile industry to become the second most polluting industry after the oil industry, which is at the top of the ranking.

The environmental impact of the textile industry in figures:

  • Half a million tonnes of microfibre are thrown into the sea every year, equivalent to 3 million barrels of oil.

  • It is responsible for 8% of the planet’s CO2 emissions (850 million tonnes per year). That is more than all the ships and planes on the planet emitted that year.

  • 387 million litres of water are used in the textile industry. This industry is the second most water-demanding, and generates about 20% of the world’s wastewater.

  • 100 million garments are produced per year and only 25% are recycled.

  • Social impact is one of the main problems faced by the textile industry, which relies on cheap labour in deplorable working conditions to cope with the high demand for garments. In these supply chains, corporate profits are put above human welfare.

These figures are unsustainable, raising a red alert to society and companies that must change their consumption and production model to a more sustainable one together with new policies promoted by the different governments. Companies have seen this change in recent years in the profile of the consumer to be more concerned about the environment, sustainability and the conditions in which their clothes are produced. That is why there have been several initiatives to undertake a green path within the industry, some of them are:

  • Circular economy: 

    One of the biggest problems today is overproduction and under-recycling of everything produced. The Iberian Association of Textile Recycling states that each Spaniard throws away between 10 and 14 kilos of clothing per year, but only between 1.5 and 2.5 kilos end up in recycling bins.

    That is why at FelpudoRent we are committed to a comprehensive rental service of high-end doormats that extends the life of the product and eliminates the culture of “use and throw away”.

Industria textil sostenible Economía Circular
  • Renewable and/or sustainable raw materials: 

By 2030 it is predicted that the textile industry will use 35% more land than it currently uses to grow cotton and forests for cellulosic fibres. In view of these figures, an immediate change in resources and management must be made. The use of natural fibres obtained in an environmentally sound way, such as organic agriculture or certified organic livestock farming, contributes significantly to minimising the negative effects of intensive agriculture and livestock farming with a high environmental impact.

The industrial sector has oriented research towards so-called “smart textiles” that can provide greater benefits in terms of sustainability and also new features with garments capable of detecting and reacting to physiological parameters, environmental conditions, mechanical, thermal and chemical stimuli and electrical or magnetic sources to provide an additional benefit.

Algodón Industria Textil
  • Educate the consumer:

    The demand for new products on a continuous basis forces factories to speed up their production processes, which in many cases results in lower quality products, which spoil more easily. It is essential that consumers engage in a process of re-education and learn to consume less, but better. 

Sustainable bag
  • Supply chain:

Most of the time when we shop we are unaware of the background of the garments we usually wear. Behind all this is a long process that is progressively destroying the environment. A major objective in the industrial sector, which is becoming increasingly important, is transparency in the materials and manufacturing processes used.  There is a continuous improvement in the labelling of the technical quality, care and durability of the products. In this way, the end customer has the right information and can make a more informed decision about which product to buy.

One of the main keys lies in the shift from the global to the local to lead to a better understanding of the value and longevity of the product. To do this, governments and key leaders must encourage and facilitate local value chains, ensuring access to sustainable production.

One of the main keys lies in the shift from the global to the local to spearhead a better understanding of product value and longevity. To do this, governments and key leaders must encourage and facilitate local value chains, ensuring access to sustainable production.

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