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Greening Textiles Worldwide

Posted 1 December 2008 by admin to Opinion.

Eco-friendliness is on the climb in the textile and fashion world. In attempts of greening their supply chains, some international companies are looking for organic fibres, others are looking to full life cycle based eco-labels and a third group assessing social issues in the textile supply chain.

But not all regions have labels, so companies are increasingly looking abroad.

Case in point: four Thai textile companies received the EU-flower award last year in an effort to differentiate their product for the European market. Already this year one of these manufacturers is expecting 25% increase in exports, so it seems to have paid off.

In fact, textiles were among the very first product groups for which the EU ecolabel criteria were developed, and the textiles as a product group has the second highest number of EU-flower licensees. The trend has also hit the conventions.

In Europe, at least two of the autumn 2008 textile fairs devoted substantial attention to eco labelling of textiles. A global textile exhibition organiser recently published a guide in both English and Chinese to eco-labelling and social labels for textiles. With large and complex supply chains and differing regulations around the world, labels and certification play an important role in assuring buyers that producers are doing the right thing.

We wonder if ecolabels will ever be fashionable in locales where the products are actually made, or if this is still a kind of ‘luxury’ good.