Evaluate carbon and water impacts during production with Oeko-Tex – Sourcing Journal
The textile and leather supply chain is a complex system, and both the industry and the consumer demand greater transparency from start to finish. But before a company can convey all of its environmental impacts, it must first identify what they are.
“Recognizing and quantifying impacts is a priority,” said Ben Mead, managing director in the United States of testing and certification company Hohenstein, a founding member and principal provider of OEKO-TEX® services that empower consumers and businesses to protect the planet by making responsible decisions. .
But for companies that want to reduce their emissions by 30% by 2030, that’s easier said than done. “The production facilities are trying to achieve some of the goals they set themselves, but in some cases they are just trying to figure out what those goals are.”
For those overwhelmed by the complex and nuanced layers of sustainability impacts, Hohenstein asks companies to look at the worst offenders (carbon emissions and excessive water use), then dig in to get the most accurate assessments. .
To achieve this, OEKO-TEX® recently developed a new carbon and water footprint tool that allows companies to measure and quantify carbon and water impacts at each stage of a product’s development throughout the entire product chain. supply. This will be integrated into its STeP by OEKO-TEX® audit and certification system already used by many manufacturers at the facility level. STeP stands for Sustainable Production of Textiles (and Leather).
Working with industry experts, Hohenstein has identified over 100 key production activities that form the basis for carbon and water footprint calculations, including product life cycle assessments and business practices.
“Our new carbon and water footprint tool takes things to another level,” Mead said. “Instead of just measuring the total amount of water or energy used, we help companies really understand where that water or energy is coming from, and then we relate it to the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions and finally to what happens at the level of the downstream product.
OEKO-TEX® identifies four phases of carbon and water footprint designed to allow companies to know and relay the whole story. First, understand the carbon emissions associated with production; second, to identify the processes that have the highest environmental impacts; third, taking action to reduce carbon and water consumption in the future; and fourth, report results and reduction actions to clients.
“We want companies to go from knowing what’s going on at a single facility level to aggregating all the data and being able to say, okay, this end product is coming from materials or processes. producing in multiple locations, and now we can put that data together. tell the whole story of the product to retailers and consumers, ”Mead said.
Companies customize the carbon and water footprint tool for their facilities and supply chain, but the tool complements data from the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) – “the best averages in the world”. industry ‘- to fill in the gaps around unknown data points. “We’re using industry data from Qantas to help companies get a more complete picture,” Mead said.
Monitor and strategize
A company can report its carbon and water footprint at three levels: per facility, per process step and per kilogram of material produced. The key is for companies to use the data they pull from this tool to develop a strategy for continuous improvement.
OEKO-TEX® third-party certification expertise also provides objectivity, which helps companies gain more control over their own operations and establish a baseline from which to improve. Data output is as good as data input, and OEKO-TEX® provides validity to numbers.
Hohenstein also encourages companies using the tool to translate this additional data collected into information intended for consumers – in the next phase of this project, the data will be displayed on the MADE IN GREEN by OEKO-TEX® label – for validation, more complete picture of the impact of this product.
“Consumers want to know how their clothes are made, but they’re not going to read a 60-page LCA report,” Mead said. “We are creating a streamlined process that can be easily communicated across different parts of the disconnected supply chain, and then ultimately put that in the hands of the consumer. “
Click the image above to watch the video chat with Sourcing Journal editor Caletha Crawford and learn more about the OEKO-TEX® Water and Carbon Assessment Tool.