Why is corporate social responsibility so vital for textile sustainability?


Corporate social responsibility or CSR is becoming an increasingly important part of making fashion more sustainable. CSR is used to describe a company’s efforts to improve society or the environment. Crucially for the textile industry, this includes implementing environmentally sustainable policies across the entire production chain. Successful eco-friendly CSR policies can help reduce environmental impact and increase the sustainability of textiles, while also benefiting the company. Manufacturers and brands within the textile industry are increasingly aware of their responsibility towards society and the environment, developing effective and exciting CSR programs. CSR is essential to address the current damaging cycle of fast fashion, and consumers, brands and manufacturers must all play their part. This article takes a look at the importance of effective, eco-friendly CSR polices that benefit both companies and the environment.

The real ways effective corporate social responsibility will benefit a textile business

Corporate social responsibility is hugely beneficial for companies. Implementing an effective CSR policy to positively impact environmental issues and textile sustainability can generate major positives for a brand. These benefits include increased brand recognition, greater business reputation on a global scale and greater opportunities to attract better and more qualified staff. A well designed CSR strategy for textile sustainability implemented with a textile management consultant will lead to increased operational cost savings, more effective growth and a generally increased financial performance. These tangible benefits are obvious, but the increased PR opportunities and goodwill generated from eco-friendly and sustainably aware brands is hugely positive for a modern textile company too.

Textile industry CSR provides both challenges but also opportunities

As CSR becomes more essential, opportunities and challenges are generated in equal measure.  The impact of good CSR leads to an increasingly sustainable textile production chain, but the global nature of the supply chain can also bring challenges for your business. As discussed in the industry, there are many CSR challenges to create a sustainable fashion industry. These include government legislation across the supply chain in many different countries, creating the desire by manufacturers to change and addressing a culture of disposable fashion that is prevalent worldwide. Implementing long term sustainability schemes can also meet with resistance in a profit dominated industry often focused on short term gain.

However, the impact of great CSR is too good for any modern textile manufacturer to ignore. Good corporate social responsibility practices can massively impact sustainability of the fashion industry. As the recycling industry continues to struggle, and the cycle starts to break down, sustainability focus is vital. H&M has implemented successful CSR schemes such as garment collecting in stores, working closely and transparently with suppliers and manufacturers and aiming to use only sustainable organic cotton by 2020. Working hard to close the loop publicly has benefited H&M’s brand awareness immensely, leading them to be considered the forefront of effective textile industry CSR schemes. Another successful CSR scheme is M&S’s plan-a. They have outlines their commitments to address environmental and social impacts of their production, with the bold aim to ensure 100% of their products addresses all of their social and environmental impacts.

Corporate social responsibility is the future for a thriving fashion industry

Brands and manufacturers should take the time to develop impactful, effective CSR schemes that will help to create a more sustainable global textile industry. Good CSR schemes are impactful across the whole of a textile business, as well as at a global textile industry and societal levels. Generating positive brand benefits such as better PR, trust among customers and increased brand awareness go hand in hand with reduced impact on the environment and eco-friendly manufacturing messages. Corporate social responsibility is no longer a choice- it’s an essential component of a modern textile company.

Textile Consult is a management and training consultancy for textile manufacturers and retailers worldwide. Contact us today to see how we can make your business more effective and sustainable, as well as helping you to create effective corporate social responsibility measures.


The real impact of that new Christmas jumper

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We all want to look good this time of year, with the shops packed full of novelty knitwear, sparkly sequins and festive fleeces. Cheap prices and piles of choice make it hard to resist a brand new festive jumper, but the truth behind these is not so merry. This time of year makes it easy to see the impact of fast fashion on our planet, highlighting the unsustainable nature of these quick fashion fixes. Festive fast fashion that is often worn just a few times only and are often destined to be put straight in the bin after the big day. A Hubbub report states that in the UK, 25% of Christmas jumpers are thrown away, while a third of under 35’s buy a new festive jumper every year.  We’re fast fashion addicts, with Christmas clothes epitomising the quick fashion hits. As the year winds down and we think about the year ahead, it’s vital we all start to be active in how we can reduce the damaging impact of fashion, developing a sustainable textile industry fit for the future.

The impact of global fast fashion will only get worse

Although the short shelf life of Christmas fast fashion is makes the environmental impact particularly obvious, fast fashion throughout the rest of the year is a massive problem for the planet. A report by The Ellen MacArthur Foundation recently highlighted how the industry generates greenhouse emissions of 1.2bn tonnes a year, more than international flights across the globe. And it’s only set to get worse. By 2050 the fashion industry will utilise 300 million tonnes of oil per year, as well as adding 22 million tonnes of microfibres into the ocean, creating devastating and irreversible environmental damage. In the UK, each person produces an average of 70 Kg of textiles waste per year. Cheap, fast fashion means we are spending less on clothes yet buying more. There have been many calls for a fashion model with a closed loop, enabling reduced environmental and societal impacts, and big brands are now developing effective initiatives to achieve this.

Collaboration is the key for the future

We’ve written a lot about the sustainability of the fashion industry on our blog this year. Tangible and realistic measures need to be implemented across the industry to ensure true and lasting sustainability of fashion. The Ellen MacArthur Trust highlighted specific measures that need to be taken, including creating safer textile materials, using natural resources more effectively and significantly improving recycling facilities across the globe. However, the most effective method will be changing the disposable culture of fast fashion- including consumer attitudes to those novelty and often throwaway Christmas jumpers. Although consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the need for sustainability, the lure of cheap, sparkly Christmas jumpers or £4 novelty t shirts continues to prove hard to resist, and harder to overcome. Mintel recently reported that although people state their honourable intentions, for 80% of women aged 16-24, price was the most important factor.

Make it your resolution to be sustainable

We all want to look great over the festive season, and with shifts in attitude to fast fashion we can. Sustainability has to be the focus of the fashion industry for 2018 and beyond. Brands such as H&M and Nike are making real progress in developing future sustainable solutions, while charities such as Save the Children encourage recycling and sustainability for their yearly Christmas jumper campaign. We must all make conscious shopping and sustainability in fashion essential parts of our resolutions for the year ahead, buying less and buying more sustainably, while also recycling clothes effectively. Collaboration between the consumer, brand specific-initiatives and manufacturers is essential to create a sustainable future, allowing to us to enjoy festive knitwear and sparkly sequins guilt free year after year.

Textile Consult is a management and training consultancy for textile manufacturers and retailers worldwide. Contact us today to see how we can make your business more effective and sustainable.


How sustainable is organic cotton?


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Although cotton is one of the most popular fibres used in textile manufacturing, cotton production is also one of the most polluting industries for the environment. The current levels of cotton production demanded by the fashion industry have led to unsustainable and damaging production methods. This environmental impact means it’s imperative that solutions for effective and sustainable cotton production are found. Organic cotton is often promoted as the answer, seeking to produce a quality cotton fibre that is less damaging and more sustainable. But just how sustainable is organic production? Is it automatically a better solution for textile manufacturers and consumers?

The impact of cotton production on the planet

Traditional cotton production is harmful for the planet. Cotton production uses an incredible amount of water, needing 2,700 litres of water to produce a single cotton t shirt and up to 11,000 litres for a single pair of jeans. Increased cotton production across the globe is depleting fresh water supplies across the globe, as well as harming bird and fish populations. It’s also impacting water quality in the water cycle through the run off of fabric dyes, insecticides and pesticides used in production. These have been linked to carcinogenic chemicals for both producers and consumers, causing up to 20,000 deaths a year at latest estimates by the World Health Organisation.

Is organic cotton automatically a sustainable solution?

Organic cotton is often claimed and marketed as being a sustainable solution to traditionally produced cotton, and is certainly promoted as such by big fast fashion brands and the world’s largest organic cotton purchaser, H&M. Organic cotton is currently responsible for approximately 1% of worldwide cotton production. Although many consumers are likely to assume organic cotton production is automatically more environmentally friendly, concerns have been raised about the sustainability claims. As with all things sustainable, it’s a balance.

Traditional cotton production uses genetically modified plants which have been adapted to yield maximum fibre for production. As organic cotton uses non GM crops, this means a greater number of plants are needed to produce the same amount of cotton fibre. As a result, more land is needed for organic cotton production, leading to increased water usage for irrigation. Although organic cotton is largely rain fed which can ease pressure on water supply, this increased man-made irrigation may increase water usage. Dyeing processes in the final stages of textile production also raise questions on the sustainable nature of organic cotton. Many environmentally harmful chemicals are used in dyeing processes, even when organic cotton has been used. To be sure on the organic credentials of a garment, it should be certified under a program such as the Global Organic Textile Standard. However, one area where organic cotton production is particularly beneficial over traditionally produced cotton is the lack of harmful pesticides and insecticides. This reduces poisonous run off into lakes and rivers, reducing potential harm for farmers, manufacturers and consumers.

Organic cotton should be the future

Cotton produced organically offers increased sustainability for the future. Organic cotton uses fewer dangerous chemicals and is not genetically modified, all hugely beneficial to the environment and local populations. Although generally considered more sustainable than traditionally produced cotton, potential concerns over dyeing and finishing methods mean that manufacturers and brands need ensure a fully sustainable whole system process. The whole of the production cycle needs to be sustainable to be truly effective. Brands such as H&M and Nike are increasingly using organic cotton, an important step to ensure its continued use, increasing availability and reducing cost compared to non-organic cotton. Supporting and developing organic cotton production throughout the whole manufacturing process is a vital step in reducing the impact of cotton production, fast fashion and textile manufacture.

Textile Consult is a management and training consultancy for textile manufacturers and retailers worldwide. Contact us today to see how we can make your business more effective and sustainable.

The future of fabrics is smart



The future of fabrics is definitely getting cleverer, and more exciting. Developments in manufacturing techniques and garment design have enabled smart fabrics to be developed with nano-technology that are genuinely useful, well-designed, durable and in demand by consumers. Uses for smart fabrics are wide-ranging, including aesthetic applications in fashion design and providing information to the wearer via apps. Health, beauty and medical industries are starting to take advantage of the clever potential of smart fabrics, while their performance enhancing capabilities are impacting fitness and extreme sports sectors. These fabrics are fast outgrowing their once geeky, futuristic reputation and now have vast potential across fashion, health and sport.

Smart Fabrics Are Problem Solvers

As developments in smart fabrics continue, the capability of these products to be used in daily life increases. Improvement in technology means that smart fabrics are now truly interactive, giving clothes true sensing abilities. The development of nano- technology means that the active materials and sensors are placed in the fabric itself, rather than as a gadget. Examples of this include UV protected sun wear with sensors to tell the wearer to apply more sun protection, Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket that uses smart-fabric to allow the wearer to interact with map apps and phone calls and the development of clothes that alter to the surrounding environment temperature. Smart technology also allows fashion to have fun with lights and circuits, creating exciting new opportunities in fashion design.

Smart fabrics are also being used to benefit other areas, including medical monitoring. This includes Neopenda’s hat for newborn babies, in which a vital signs monitor is fitted to monitor heart rate, temperature and blood oxygen levels. This has huge potential in developing the world. A smart sock by Owlet allows identification and monitoring of serious medical conditions in infants.  Active materials in smart fabrics also enable sensors to be embedded into garments for constant patient health monitoring, reporting and tracking key health information, potentially for life.

Fitness Is Getting Smarter And Safer

The use of smart fabric in the sport and fitness, for both amateurs and professional athletes is one of the biggest areas of growth for smart fabrics. Developments in technology such as thermal plastic foams have generated fabrics that improve functionality and athletic performance.. Smart fabrics can now measure the chemical composition of your body, your body temperature, blood flow and heart rate. Constant data collection through fitness clothes can be used to analyse data on performance and conditions, creating improvements. Environmental sensors can be embedded to allow fabrics to change according to surrounding temperature and body temperature, something which has real potential for improving performance in athletes.

Smart fabric sportswear incredibly now also has the power to actively work to prevent injury. Innovation continues to be key for big active brands, for example Under Armour Inc. (UA). UA is the first active apparel brand to use auxetic smart materials. When these are stretched, they have the ability to absorb impact and resist fractures, creating game-changing trainers for athletes in their 3D printed Architech hybrid trainer.

In addition, polyurethane foam is benefiting impact protection in sports. For example, PORON® XRD™ has extreme impact protection allowing up to 90% of the energy generated by a high-speed impact, yet is thin, light, flexible and breathable. This is hugely beneficial in high impact sports such as tennis and running.

Smart Fabrics Are The Future

Smart fabrics have absolutely huge potential to influence not only fashion, but fitness, health and well-being sectors. Technology now enables sensors and active materials to be woven and embedded in fabric, creating innovative opportunities to track data, monitor health and to use technology seamlessly. Smart fabrics are also being developed to actively reduce injury and improve athletic performance, making the future extremely exciting for manufacturers, designers and consumers alike.

Textile Consult is a management and training consultancy for textile manufacturers and retailers worldwide. Contact us today to see how we can make your business more effective and sustainable.


Textile supply chain tools provide essential transparency for consumers

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Generating awareness of supply chains and providing customers with information on the supply chain journey of a garment is essential to develop awareness of sustainability and the social impact of textile production. Transparency of supply chains is vital to helping consumers become more aware of supply issues and allowing them to support brands and manufacturers that are actively seeking sustainability. Due to the amount of data and information available in supply chains, this has been a difficult message to communicate to consumers in the past. However, technology developments such as QR codes now enable consumers to trace a garment’s history and provenance throughout the supply chain, from concept design to being ready to purchase. Consumers can look at the whole value of the garment, beyond just price. Such supply chain software also allows manufacturers to champion local materials and sustainable practices in their brands quickly to consumers, increasing customer engagement and brand awareness.

Consumers want and need effective supply chain information

Increasingly environmentally engaged consumers want more information on the supply chains of their garments. Customers are becoming increasingly environmentally and socially aware and they want to be able to see the true impact and footprint of the item they’re buying. Recent research by Stenden University found that consumers would favour brands that make their supply chain clear, with up to 90% willing to pay more for sustainable items. However, customers still find sustainable clothing hard to source, which is why QR code supply chain systems can have such an impact. Providing consumers with relevant information on supply chains for each garment will drive the true habit change that is needed by consumers to achieve real sustainable textile production. Consumers will quickly be able to see the impact of the garment they’re buying, which is extremely impactful.

A QR barcode on a garment enables the customer to see the true value of an item’s supply chain immediately, allowing them to look past simply the price of the item. Scanning the code allows consumers to be truly informed about the supply chain of the item, including viewing the raw materials used, knowing where each process takes place, how far the garment has travelled, CO2 impact and finding out whether the manufacturer adheres to socially responsible manufacturing. Giving this information to customers easily will allow them to really make responsible choices, encouraging real change.

Brands can create a real marketing edge through supply chain tools

Such supply chain information systems are also great for manufacturers and brands, giving them a real marketing edge. Allowing customers to immediately see the provenance of an item means that the brand can champion key parts of their supply chain, making the brand immediately stand out. As an example, many consumers are not aware that British textile production continues to perform well, despite the move to large scale off shore supply. A simple scan of a QR code will allow British textile brands to highlight their ‘Made in Britain’ status, demonstrating for example, that the wool is from Scotland, it’s then spun in Yorkshire and finally knitted in Leicester.  A supply chain tool enables brands and manufacturers to clearly demonstrate and promote their local and sustainable credentials to consumers quickly and clearly, celebrating crucial parts of the supply chain. It also allows consumers to engage with a brand, reviewing products and making recommendations to other consumers, constantly developing brand connection and engagement.

Supply chain systems can generate real change in textile production

Supply chain systems through QR codes have the potential to create true habit change in consumers. Giving consumers a more thorough understanding of the impact of textile manufacture and the life cycle of a garment is the key to generating effective change. With a supply chain system, at the scan of a code, customers are able to view the supply chain for each garment, creating awareness and providing information on the whole chain quickly, including the social and environmental impact. Although vital for informing consumers, brands can also utilise such a tool to promote their sustainability and local credentials, creating real marketing edge and genuine engagement with consumers.

Bomler are manufacturers of a software system that gives full transparency in the supply chain, through either business to business or business to consumer uses. Consumers can trace their garment throughout the whole supply chain throughout the Consumer Application, providing effective information quickly on the entire supply chain of a garment. Textile Consult are the UK exclusive partner of Bomler, working to develop sustainable textile solutions.

Textile Consult and Bomler connect for UK Market.

Textile Consult and Bomler are please to announce a partnership for the UK market.   Textile Consult are now the exclusive partner for Bomler’s cloud based Supply Chain Transparency Tool.Bomlers mission is to provide the means that enable better decisions by industry and consumers for economic value, product quality, social and environmental impact. On the platform brands can search for new suppliers by attribute, with Bomler’s algorithms finding and displaying best matches. Direct connection and communication occurs from within Bomler, and all chats are saved for historical records.

Suppliers have the capability to upload all independent certifications, audits and inspections, thus enabling prospective buyers to immediately see and trust the supplier’s capabilities and credibility. Uploading of key and relevant objective data allows a potential brand to see how reliable their goods or services have been for previous clients.  And, in an industry first both brands and suppliers will be encouraged to provide subjective feedback about the ease of working with each other. The combination of objective and subjective history enables relationships to begin faster and with greater alignment of expectations from each partner. Brands and suppliers will have separate unique and appropriate mobile functions  and screens to maximize their usage of the database. Any buyer can access the database through mobile to verify timing, performance and other relevant data.

For the consumer :
Bomler uses the supply chain data from the brand-supplier application to enable brands to connect with consumers who want to look beyond price and see the value offered by the supply chain.   Bomler functions offers consumer more information and interactions point that makes the shopping experience more valuable. A number of functions are available to our customers, which individually can be made accessible for consumers by simply turning them on or off.Functions can also be in integrated into e-commerce sites in order to provide an enriched and valuable shopping experience.

  • Create new value proposals(VIP, Reward Programs)
  • Let the consumer use “awareness” Information when shopping
  • Interlink with data sources, Facebook etc.

Key information – easy to find (REALLY)

Bomler allows suppliers to be very textile specific in presenting their capabilities, capacities and compliance. Similarly than Suppliers, Buyers are able to show their company capabilities, preferences and needs. Suppliers are validated through data and reviews.

If you would like to hear more about Bomlers innovative new software or would like to arrange a free no obligation 30 day trial of the platform : 

  • UK or Ireland then contact us here
  • Rest of the World then click here

Scarf Manufacturing Benefiting Soccer Fans Around the World: And We Are Happy to Help


Posted August, 2017 by by 
It might not be as popular here in Canada and the USA, but go anywhere around the world and you’ll see that Soccer (or as they say, “football”!) is the king of all world sports. Nothing excites fans and drives the crowds wild like seeing a skilled striker ply his art form and blast a goal into the net. It’s the only game that drives national pride the way it does!And, of course, if you’re a fan of a particular country or football club, there’s no better way to profess your loyalty than with some fan gear to wear, twirl, or stretch out for all to see at the next game. IMS Industrial Machine Sales provides the machinery that is driving this resurgence worldwide.Why do fans love scarves so much?

There’s nothing like standing in a packed stadium, shouting on a terrace, or sitting at home in front of the TV cheering on your favourite club while waving a scarf in the air. For us Canadians, it might actually be more than a fashion statement, we might actually need it to fight off the cold. Scarves are the perfect accessory for a few main reasons:

– They’re easily portable
– The highly detailed knits of modern machinery allow for HD quality
– They cost considerably less than jerseys and shirts

Major world soccer events are driving an increase in sales

Companies looking to get into the business of selling fan scarves or those already in it looking to upgrade their equipment would be happy to see the increasing demand around the world. Untold thousands have been ordered for major events such as the World Cup in 2014 and the most recent Copa America and European Football Championship, both of 2016.

Once considered only for the prestigious clubs and associated with tie-wearing coaches, scarves are now a mainstay outside of every English football Stadium, American baseball park, or Canadian Hockey Rink. The North American MLS league is even in on the trend.

Made with incredible quality and sometimes taking up to 10 separate steps including winding, weaving, cutting, and custom embroidery, the machine that you choose to manufacture the products is of utmost importance.

At IMS Industrial Machine Sales, we have a wide inventory of quality new and pre-owned machines that produce high-quality scarves, and the growing demand for soccer scarves around the world is fueling the growth of the industry by the day. If you’re looking for affordable machinery to give you a competitive edge, browse our inventory of circular knitting machines or contact us today.

‘The difference between style and fashion is quality’.


Giorgio Armani is quoted with saying that ‘the difference between style and fashion is quality’. In the era of fast, disposable fashion, this quote has never seemed more apt. As consumers and manufacturers wake up to the damaging effects of fast fashion and throwaway designs, the focus on quality, style and sustainable manufacturer of garments is essential. Fashion is designed to be fleeting and throwaway, but consumers, designers and manufacturers must once again embrace quality items that are designed to last. The addiction to fast fashion has to end. The focus should now be on true style, quality garments and quality production.

The problem with being fashionable

Everyone wants to look good and we all love having nice clothes. Fast fashion has allowed us to keep constantly up to date with fashion and trends at an increasingly low price at an increasing speed. The problem is, fast fashion means we’re drowning in cheap, poorly made clothes that don’t last more than a few wears. Fast fashion has become an addiction. In 1930, the average US woman owned nine outfits. In 2017, the average woman purchased approximately sixty new items of clothing per year. A UK study found that approximately 30% clothes items aren’t even worn.  According to WRAP, around £140m, or 350,000 tonnes worth of unwanted and overbought clothing goes straight to landfill in the UK. This staggering increase in consumption is fuelled by manufacturers and suppliers who drive the need for this constant buying. Brands such as H&M and Zara have truly embraced fast fashion, developing up to 100 micro seasons of clothes each year instead of the 2-4 seasons that was usual in the past.

Although fast fashion is tempting for consumers, this constant cycle of cheap, mass production has serious consequences for the environment and the textile workers that produce them. Clothes produced in this way are often incredibly poorly made- they shrink or fall apart after a few washes, perpetuating the cycle of over buying and over producing more. Incredibly, some clothes are actually designed to fall apart. To be truly stylish, you need to buy fewer clothes, and buy better.

Encouraging lasting style over a fast fashion fix

Consumers need to be prepared to spend more money on clothes. This may be a difficult concept for consumers used to £10 jeans or £2 t shirts, but spending more money per item of clothing is a significant way to encourage reducing consumption. Buying fewer items that are better quality is the key. But how do we encourage consumers and brands to focus on quality?

Focusing on style, rather than fashion is essential for this process. Fashion by its very nature focuses on fleeting, on trend items that are churned out by the hundreds of thousands. As a result, quality is poor and the items will never last- they’re not supposed to. Style on the other hand celebrates well thought out, well designed and well-made items. Paying more per item of clothing allows the buyer to really think about what they’re buying. Journalist Marc Bain decided to spend a minimum of $150 per item. While price is no guarantee of quality and this amount is unmanageable for many, setting a minimum price per item encourages proper thought before purchasing, reduces the amount of impulse buying and encourages purchases of greater quality- you want them to last.

Quality-focus has been at the forefront for many companies. WRAP’s Sustainable Clothing Action Plan focuses on encouraging better design and quality in the manufacture of clothes, encouraging a longer life of each item. Forward-thinking brands are encouraging customers to value the clothes they buy by offering clothing guarantees. Levi’s, Nudie Jeans and Patagonia all offer repair and alternations services for their clothes to discourage constant buying, all while highlighting the increased use you can get out of quality items.

Buying better quality items is beneficial to consumers for many ways. Quality clothes are better made, they look better, last longer and are a more cost-effective option in the long run. They’re also more likely to be made from better quality natural materials with better treated textile workers, so consumers can actively, genuinely support sustainable fashion while benefiting from better produced items.

The addiction to fast fashion needs to fall out of style

Although fast fashion is currently irresistibly cheap, impulse buying cheaply made garments will never equate to being stylish. Consumers and brands need to work together to focus on wanting true style, producing and buying quality, lasting garments that will last through the years. Buying quality will help to reduce the negative environmental and social impacts of over consumption of fashion and will celebrate real style. Quality garments also benefit the consumer, allowing quality design, manufacture and textiles to be celebrated. It will require a huge shift in mind set, but the addiction to fast fashion, for both consumers and manufactures needs to stop.

Textile Consult is a management and training consultancy for textile manufacturers and retailers worldwide. Contact us today to see how we can make your business more effective and sustainable.

Are fast fashion brands really as sustainable as they claim to be?


Water use, polluting commodities, chemical dyes and poor supply chains mean the demand for fast fashion is affecting the planet, both socially and environmentally. Fashion is the second most polluting industry on earth after oil. To their credit, in response to this and consumer demand, manufacturers and fashion brands are continuing to strengthen and develop eco-friendly, sustainable fashion practices. These include addressing supply chains across global production, developing sustainable materials and reducing waste in production. But how much of this is truly sustainable and how much is clever marketing? Are brands merely ‘greenwashing’ their sustainability claims to appeal to the demand for sustainable eco-fashion? A recent report on viscose from Changing Markets highlights how fashion brands cleverly market sustainability to address their agenda without truly addressing environmental impacts and pressures across the supply chain.

Brands need to take greater responsibility for encouraging and manufacturing actual sustainable fashion. After all, their very business model of fast throwaway fashion is not sustainable. Eco initiatives by these companies have been promoted, but there are still major issues within the supply chain causing environmental and social harm. Brands need to stop ‘greenwashing their marketing claims or overly promoting their eco credentials to fit their marketing agenda.

Fast fashion brands need to end greenwashing

Fashion brands are now keen to be seen to address sustainability concerns in clothes manufacture. The second biggest polluter on the planet, they can no longer ignore this issue. The increase of eco-awareness among consumers also makes it extremely profitable for brands, and this is the danger. How genuine is the impact and drive of brands to address sustainability in fashion, and how much is clever ‘greenwashing’ marketing with dubious aims?

Although they have increased their transparency, fashion giant H&M have been criticised for regular greenwashing. This includes inflating claims to consumers on their worldwide organic cotton use, not changing working conditions for workers in factories and giving key pieces in their ranges a ‘Conscious Collection’ label due to the eco-products used, but failing to address the poor labour conditions in which they were made. Another example of greenwashing is bamboo. Bamboo is often marketed as an eco-friendly material by many fast fashion brands. However, while it’s technically more sustainable than cotton, the production of bamboo uses a high amount of pesticides and pollutants, a fact that does not tend to be mentioned in the marketing material for big brands hailing its sustainability.

Viscose production highlights the impact of polluting raw materials

One stark example of this is a recent Changing Markets report, concerning the production of viscose which really highlights how fashion brands need to do more.  Although technically a sustainable product the demands placed by manufacturers of fast fashion means the production of viscose is often harmful. Fashion brands such as H&M, M&S and ASOS already market viscose as a green, sustainable product, but this is not entirely true. The viscose industry is often highly polluting, having a negative environmental and social impact. These impacts include toxic pollution, environmental damage, health impacts from toxins and poor conditions for workers. Brands need to play a key role in cleaning up viscose production by demanding cleaner and fairer viscose production. Global fashion brands can play a vital role in this process by using their massive power to influence change that is truly sustainable, including encouraging closed loop supply, conducting regular audits and only using viscose producers who take sustainability seriously.

Brands need to be more honest in their sustainable fashion marketing

Transparency is a vital tool to create change in the fashion industry, inspiring brands to move towards more eco-friendly business models. These reduce the impact of production at an environmental and social level. But for real sustainability, brands need to become not only more transparent in their production, but also more honest and transparent in their marketing of sustainable fashion to consumers. Eco friendly fabrics and sustainable production are great marketing angles for fashion brands, but brands need to be more honest in the impact of the whole production chain. As well as addressing the whole model of fast fashion being inherently unsustainable, fast fashion brands such as H&M, M&S and Forever 21 need to address working conditions, material sourcing and production and polluting effects of the raw materials used in their manufacture such as with viscose. Currently fashion brands are able to change their sustainability narrative to suit them. Without addressing these parts of the supply chain, a true sustainability claim should be considered as dubious. Although more eco-friendly initiatives and production methods are being developed by fashion brands, until all parts of the supply chain are genuinely sustainable, brands should be more honest in their sustainability claims and marketing.

Textile Consult is a management and training consultancy for textile manufacturers and retailers. Contact us today to see how we can make your business more effective and sustainable.

Are auditing costs creating a barrier to a truly sustainable textile industry?


Due to negative environmental impacts, human rights issues and consumer demand, the textile industry is continually developing ways become truly sustainable and environmentally responsible. Initiatives such as the development of eco-fabrics, effective recycling of fast fashion and closed loop supply chains are all being addressed by manufacturers and brands. One of the main areas where manufacturers and brands have been seeking to create a real impact on sustainability and in textiles is auditing.

Auditing is an essential process in a globalised textile industry. Auditing allows international standards to be developed, agreed upon and carried out to ensure continuity in quality of manufacture. Well developed and robust auditing procedures have the potential to create a truly sustainable textile industry. However, the cost of auditing is also a genuine issue for manufacturers and textile suppliers, creating a real barrier to potential sustainability. If textiles are to ever become truly sustainable, this needs to change.

Obstacles to effective auditing in the textile industry

There are many obstacles to the industry to achieving true sustainability in textile manufacture, including fast fashion demands, consumer attitudes and stresses with a global supply chain. However, the most significant issue creating a barrier for the industry is cost. Suppliers working for a major brand will be likely to be working with minimum profit margins, resulting in limited funds available for investment in sustainable technologies and training.

Initiatives such as Coshh, Reach, OekoTex and ZDHC have been implemented in order to achieve more sustainable processes within the textile industry. However, although these initiatives are admirable, they also significantly increase the costs on factories, with accreditation being one of the main areas of cost.

Accreditation as part of auditing in its current form has never been a truly cost effective solution for textile manufacturers or brands, but the situation has now become unsustainable. This is now impacting negatively the efficacy of sustainable developments in textiles. Retailers often sign up to multiple accreditation programs, resulting in multiple audits and therefore multiple costs for manufacturers. This continuing financial pressure placed on factories by retailers is potentially seriously damaging the ability to create sustainable supply chains and textile products.

The process of accreditation needs to be reviewed in order to make it effective as possible, allowing the industry to create textiles that are sustainable and environmentally accountable.

How can textile auditing costs be reduced for manufacturers?

It’s essential that the auditing system is robust, with qualified and competent auditors. Increasing the effectiveness of the auditing and accreditation procedures will ensure factories and manufacturers have increased funds to invest in sustainability.

There are two main solutions to solving this barrier of auditing costs for manufacturers in the future. Firstly, it would be most effective for retailers and brands to clearly decide on one quality, well trained and knowledgeable auditing body to carry out the auditing work, with the information on the factory performance being shared globally across all brands. This would lead to an agreed globally recognised performance level, reducing the need for multiple audits and importantly, multiple costs for factories.

Secondly, bringing the accreditation process in-house by the various organisations would be a further way to streamline this process. If a brand is seeking ZDHC accreditation for example, ZDHC would be dealt with directly. This streamlining would reduce costs for factories and retailers.

Sustainability needs to be taken seriously

Sustainability is the fastest growing sector of the textile industry with varying levels of professionalism and results.  For the textile industry to become truly sustainable, it needs to to take the issue seriously. Addressing the financial impacts of multiple audits and accreditation by reducing the number of audits required is an important first step. This will give manufacturers, retailers and brands alike the financial ability to develop effective solutions to really address the environmental impact of textiles, creating a sustainable future.

Textile Consult is a management and training consultancy for textile manufacturers and retailers. Contact us today to see how we can make your business more effective and sustainable.