The textile and fashion industry is responsible for over 2 billion tons of greenhouse-gas (GHG),about 4% of the global total. (2020 estimates)

Being an industry with a long value chain, contributions to

emissions happen from all along the value chain - from fiber cultivation to product end of use & recycling. However, a dominant portion (0ver 60%) of the emissions come from upstream and midstream - cultivation and fiber/fabric production.

Given the rapid growth of fast fashion and the middle class in many large nations such as China and India, these emissions could increase by over 60% by 2030, according to UNFCCC. That would put the GHG emissions from textiles and fashion sectors at close to 3.5 billion tons CO2eq. by 2030, an alarming estimate.

What is clearly needed for the industry is a large-scale transformation towards decarbonizing many components of its value chain.

The good news is that solutions are available today to bring about significant abatement in CO2 emissions for the industry.

Many of these solutions are industry ready, and quite a few of these could also be economically attractive. For instance, some energy efficiency solutions that we have suggested in TFCF can interestingly have payback periods of less than two years - implying that GHG reduction need not be considered a cost center, but it could actually be a profit center!

In spite of all these positives, the textile industry top management needs to make bold commitments to make carbon emissions reduction happen, simply because of the scale of reduction required. TFCF will help them with critical insights for them on their way to making these important decisions.

What is Textile & Fashion Carbon Focus Guide?

TFCF stands for Textile & Fashion Carbon Focus. It is a detailed expert guide that provides comprehensive inputs and analysis on the fashion industry’s GHG emissions and outlines avenues through which stakeholders can focus their efforts to reduce emissions and meet climate targets.

To gain a deeper understanding of the textile and fashion industry’s carbon emissions and identify additional abatement efforts the industry could pursue, our team examined the entire value chain from farms and factories to recycling & reuse, and has considered how key stakeholders such as fiber production professionals, textile manufacturing companies, big brands, retailers, investors, consumers and policy makers can contribute to reducing the GHG emissions from the areas corresponding to their activities.

Our analyses took a deep dive into each component of the fashion industry value chain, and we have provided insights and characteristics of the carbon hotspots and possible decarbonization solutions for over 20 different value chain components. Our team has reviewed in-depth processes by which fibres are grown (for natural fibers) or synthesised (for synthetic textile fibers), fiber spinning, fabric production and processing, garment design and production, logistics and warehousing, operations at retail units, a detailed look at the use phase of the apparel or accessory, and finally comprehensive review of the recycling mechanisms available today.

Our inputs and analyses show how there are solutions available right now for every part of the value chain and every stakeholder category to significantly reduce CO2 emissions. Based on our analyses and from insights and perspectives from other industry experts, we have provided recommendations to the textile and carbon industry top management which when implemented has the potential to significantly bring down the industry’s carbon footprint.

Who will benefit from Textile & Fashion Carbon Focus Guide?

TFCF will be of exceptional value to the following stakeholder categories responsible for emission abatement efforts:

How was the Textile & Fashion Carbon Focus Guide developed?

  • Over 10 person years - A team of 6 dedicated researchers, working for over 2 years
  • Comprehensive data research and analyses - Utilizing data, knowledge and insights that our consulting team had gathered in the textile and fashion sector sector through consulting assignments and focussed research.
  • 10+ years of experience in the sustainability industry - TFCF was developed by Energy Alternatives India (EAI). EAI has assisted over 250 companies - including 25 Fortune 500 companies - in their sustainability efforts.
  • Core TFCF team - The core research team behind this expert guide is from EAI, a leading cleantech consulting firm that has been providing sustainability consulting to Indian and global firms since 2008. Since 2018, the team has undertaken multiple efforts - through consulting and industry research - to add value to the textile & fashion ecosystem The TFCF team has been researching sustainable technology and business trends in the global textile sector since 2018 with a focus on technical solutions, innovations and practical implementations worldwide.

What is the geographical scope of Textile & Fashion Carbon Focus Guide?

  • TFCF has been prepared with the global business stakeholders in mind, and covers insights on solutions, innovations and case studies from from over 50 countries including USA, EU (France,Italy, Germany, Spain, Scandinavia, Sweden), UK, South Korea, Japan, China, India, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Australia and more.

Key takeaways from TFCF

Based on the extensive research the team undertook to study and analyse carbon hotspots and solutions - which are presented in this comprehensive guide - following are the key takeaways for the textile & fashion spectrum:

Prominent sections in Textile & Fashion Carbon Focus Guide?

Carbon hotspots across value chain

Innovations are happening across the Textile value chain, in every possible component. Even components that are considered commodities are seeing significant innovations that are aligned to relevant value propositions. Several initiatives, such as ZDHC and Bluesign, aim to remove hazardous chemicals in the supply chain and reduce the vast quantities of water required to manufacture fabrics. These globally recognised standards enable sourcing agents and consumers to confidently make more sustainable decisions.

Carbon hotspots across processes

Attention must be paid at every stage of the textile supply chain including how fibres are grown or synthesised, how fabric is spun, treated and dyed, how the garments are constructed and delivered and then how they are used, washed and finally disposed of.

On the production side, the industry is notorious for its extensive use and depletion of natural resources including water, raw material, energy and chemicals. On the consumer side, next to food and beverages, clothing and accessories are purchased most often and replaced most frequently

Majority of companies tend to find their most carbon intensive phases within the production phases dyeing and finishing, yarn preparation and fibre production.

Significant reduction in carbon emission across the textile value chain requires true innovation and collaboration in the supply chain.

Diverse drivers for emissions

Beyond fiber production, the dyeing and finishing sector is the largest energy and water consumer in the whole textile chain and has the highest potential for energy and water savings and efficiency improvements. Once the size of a carbon footprint is known, a strategy can be devised to reduce it, e.g. by technological developments, better process and product management, changed Green Public or Private Procurement (GPP), Carbon capture, consumption strategies, and others. The mitigation of carbon footprints through the development of alternative projects, such as solar or wind energy, or reforestation, represents one way of reducing a carbon footprint and is often known as Carbon Offsetting.

The following are the key drivers for the carbon emission in the textile value chain:

70+ ready-to-go solutions, and many emerging innovations

The textile industry needs to adopt more energy efficient processes; such as innovative textile chemicals and processing technologies that contribute to eco-efficient processes for textile mills can save costs and help reduce the environmental burden.

Some Innovative products with smaller carbon footprints are:

Action needed by different stakeholders

The role of stakeholders is crucial in reducing the carbon footprint of the textile value chain.

Manufacturers and fiber producers could deliver 61 percent of the accelerated abatement we identified by decarbonizing material production and processing, minimizing production and manufacturing waste, and decarbonizing garment manufacturing.

The main contributions brands could make to emission abatement are to improve their material mix (for instance, through greater use of recycled fiber), increase their use of sustainable transport, improve their packaging (with recycled and lighter materials), decarbonize their retail operations, minimize returns, and reduce overproduction (only 60 percent of garments are currently sold without a markdown). If brands followed the measures we have identified, they could achieve 308 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent abatement in 2030.

All these actions call for collective action by a wide range of industry and cross-sector stakeholders to apply radical transparency to business operations.

The TFCF provides specific, actionable decarbonization recommendations for all the key industry stakeholders, with a special emphasis on recommendations for top and senior management.

Successful case studies across value chain

Successful case studies in different countries

Most of the emission impacts occur during the production phase and result directly from the value chains reliance on hard coal and natural gas for electricity generation and heat in processing locations such as China, India and Bangladesh.

Most textile innovations that come under the limelight are high-tech ones in developed countries - USA, France, Italy, South Korea, China etc. Innovations in the textile spectrum are becoming increasingly commonplace even in underdeveloped countries in Africa. Interestingly, the nature of innovation is significantly different when one compares developed (USA, France etc.), developing (India, Kenya, Philippines etc.) and underdeveloped (many African nations) countries. While developed countries have a dominant focus on technology as the key component in their innovation, many underdeveloped countries are in fact deliberately using low-tech.to drive innovations.

Best of breed practices

For companies investing in CO2 reduction technologies - to improve their environmental footprint - innovation has to be a necessary component of their strategy. But innovation alone is not sufficient. What is also important is a robust approach to innovation. Such an approach will require the firm to review the above aspects and weave the relevant ones into their innovation strategy to create a sustainable competitive advantage.

Top management perspectives

To gain a deeper understanding of fashion’s carbon emissions and identify additional abatement efforts the industry could pursue across the value chain from farms and factories to brands and retailers to policy makers, investors, and consumers, the industry needs to intensify its abatement actions and scale up existing decarbonization efforts

The guide offers a holistic perspective on the organisations as an operating system, taking into account a series of value-adding activities related to manufacturing, distribution, marketing, finance and investor relations, research and development, and supply chain partnerships, with aspects of production, quality, quantity and price being the most crucial elements for consideration.

Industry emphasis on innovation

The market intelligence, design, materials, suppliers and logistics, production, marketing, retail, and customer service are identified as the main areas in which technologies have the greatest potential for action.

Specific, actionable top management recommendations

TFC F has a heavy emphasis on providing specific and actionable recommendations on innovations and implementations for top management for decarbonizing key components of their supply chains and value chain components. These will be valuable for top management, operational heads, prominent investors, and senior corporate sustainability professionals.

Carbon hotspots analysed in Textile & Fashion Carbon Focus

TFCF has analysed carbon hotspots for many value chain components. The following list provides the various components for which hotspots have been provided:

Along the value chain

  • Farming & Harvesting (cotton)
  • Ginning (cotton)
  • Fiber production (synthetics)
  • Spinning
  • Knitting
  • Weaving
  • Non-woven fabric production
  • Dyeing
  • Finishing
  • Apparel & accessories design
  • Apparel & accessories production
  • Packaging
  • Transportation & Distribution
  • Warehousing & storage
  • Retail
  • Customer Use
  • Reuse
  • Recycling & Remanufacturing
  • Disposal - Landfilling, Incineration
  • For specific products / materials

  • Automotive textiles
  • Bedlinen
  • Fabric
  • Floor coverings
  • Footwear
  • Furnishings
  • Headwear
  • High-end fashion
  • Hosiery
  • Hygiene clothing
  • Industrial and engineering textiles
  • Innerwear
  • Insulation textiles
  • JacketsMen's wear
  • Natural fiber
  • Outdoor protective accessories
  • Outerwear
  • Personal accessories
  • Protective wear
  • Ribbons and bands
  • Shirts, coats, jacketsSkirts and gowns
  • Sportswear
  • Swimwear
  • Synthetic fiber
  • Table linen
  • Textile chemicals
  • Textile dyes and colourants
  • Textile packaging materials
  • Towels
  • Trousers and jeans
  • Upholstery materials
  • Waterproof clothing
  • Wipes
  • Women's wear
  • Yarn
  • 70+ decarbonization solutions identified

    Based on the extensive experience our parent group EAI has in sustainable energy, TFCF analysed over 150 solutions - small and large - that can be used to achieve GHG reductions for the entire value chain. Based on these analyses, we have provided a list of 70+ solutions and avenues that have significant decarbonization potential, and can be implemented today.

    Details and characteristics of each of these solutions as well as case studies for many of them, have been provided.

    How much does Textile & Fashion Carbon Focus Guide cost?

    $4950 for one copy Special rates available for multiple copies or for large network distributions among corporates

    To obtain a sample of Textile & Fashion Carbon Focus Guide or to know more about purchasing it, please send a note to consult@eai.in or call Muthukrishnan +91-9952910083

    Who have we assisted?

    Since 2008, EAI has been at the forefront of cleantech and sustainability consulting and research. Our management consulting and industry research has spanned the entire cleantech spectrum but with higher emphasis on solar power, e-mobility and the bio-energy sectors.

    Our consulting and research reports have benefitted over 3000 clients globally, including 10 of the top Fortune 25 companies and 40 of the top Fortune 100 companies. Our consulting team has had the privilege of assisting some of the globally prominent companies and organizations such as GE, GSK, Exxon Mobil, Toyota, World Bank, Bill & Melinda Foundation, among others.

    More about EAI from www.eai.in

    List of contents

    Introduction & Context

    Overview of CO2 emissions and efforts in the textile and fashion industry

    Various components of the textile industry analyzed

    Cotton

    • Conventional cotton
    • Organic cotton
    • Field emissions
    • Waste from cultivation
    • Ginning
    • Spinning
    • Fabric production
    • Wet processing
    • Better cotton initiative (BCI) cotton
    • Cotton Made in Africa (CMiA) cotton
    • REEL cotton
    • Note cotton fiber sourcing

    Polyester

    • Raw material
    • Fiber production
    • Spinning
    • Fabric production
    • Wet processing 

    Viscose

    • Cultivation and Fiber production
    • Spinning
    • Fabric production
    • Wet treatment
    • Making up 

    Wool

    • Sheep rearing
    • Fiber production
    • Spinning
    • Fabric production
    • Wet processing

    Linen

    • Cultivation
    • Fiber production
    • Yarn production
    • Fabric production
    • Wet processing

    Silk

    • Silkworm rearing
    • Fiber production
    • Spinning
    • Fabric production
    • Wet processing

    Acrylic

    • Raw materials
    • Fiber production
    • Yarn production 

    Polyamide

    • Raw materials
    • Fiber production
    • Yarn production
    • Recycled polyamide/Nylon
    • Yarn production
    • Fabric production
    • Wet processing 

    Polyurethane

    • Raw materials
    • Yarn production
    • Fabric production
    • Wet processing
    • Making up

    Apparel production

    Transportation and logistics

    Distribution

    Storage and warehousing

    Use phase

    • Washing (Cold/Side load, Cold/Top loadWarm/Side load, Warm/Top load)
    • Machine drying
    • Ironing
    • Dry cleaning

    Reuse

    • Reuse (Domestic)
    • Reuse overseas

    Recycling, and Reverse logistics

    End of life

    Carbon hot spots along the value chain

    Upstream operations

    • Raw material production
    • Material processing
    • Production & Manufacturing wastage 

    Mid stream

    • Dyeing
    • Assembly
    • Garment manufacturing
    • Packaging
    • Transportation 

    Downstream

    • Retail
    • Use phase
    • Reuse
    • Recycling and Remanufacturing
    • Disposal

    Comprehensive list and profile of carbon reduction solutions

    • Rooftop solar for textile factories
    • Solar water pumps for cotton cultivation
    • Energy efficient motors for spinning
    • CHP boilers
    • Cotton stalk to value
    • Anaerobic digestion for organic waste generated in textile production value chain
    • Bio-pesticides and weedicides
    • Energy audits in textile production units
    • ESCO models for implementing energy efficiency in textiles
    • HEat pumps for low temperature heating applications in textile production
    • Offgrid solar for fiber cultivation and decentralized textile production
    • OPEX/PPA models for renewable power
    • Organic livestock husbandry for wool and leather
    • Solar diesel hybrid for cotton cultivation
    • Solar drying for textile value chain
    • Waste heat recovery from chillers, air conditioners, compressors, and wet processes
    • Solar water heater use in textile production facilities
    • Waste heat recovery in textile production
    • Energy efficient cotton harvesting for mechanized harvesting
    • HVAC energy efficiency in textile factories
    • Energy efficient compressed air systems, blowers and fans, including exhaust fans
    • Virtual fashion and digital couture
    • Biomimicry for sustainable textiles
    • Efficient recycling of synthetic textiles
    • Energy efficient textile laundry
    • Organic textiles
    • IoT for fashion retail energy management
    • Renewable energy for fashion industry production facilities
    • Sustainable logistics solutions for storage and warehousing
    • Environmental labelling for apparel
    • Infinite synthetic textile fiber recycling
    • Multi-stakeholder initiatives for sustainable fashion
    • Energy efficient building design in textile factories
    • Carbon reduction potential in textiles goods transport
    • Reducing GHG emissions from sheep ranches
    • Textile laundry service emission reduction
    • Energy saving opportunities in textile recycling solutions
    • Energy efficient machinery for textile production
    • Sourcing from local production
    • Fertilizer management in cotton cultivations
    • Carbon offsetting in textile industry
    • Responsible apparel maintenance and care
    • Biodegradable performance of fabrics
    • Textile yarn production wastage co*ntrol
    • Water efficient textile dyeing
    • On-demand textile production to reduce waste
    • Blockchain technology for eco-fibre traceability

    Disruptive technologies

    Processing, Dyeing & Finishing

    • Microbial pigments
    • Alternative pretreatment processes & consumables (e.g., plasma, enzymes)
    • Alternative dyeing processes & consumables (e.g.,foam, plant-based)
    • Digital printing
    • Alternative finishing processes & consumables (Ultrasonic, bio-based)
    • Alternative Tanning preservation

    Apparel production

    • Additive manufacturing
    • Automation
    • Mass customization
    • Zero waste manufacturing
    • Optimized yarn & fabric construction

    Retail & Use

    • Circular business models
    • Customization solutions
    • Visualization solutions (e.g., virtual fitting)
    • Microfiber solutions

    End of use

    • Chemical recycling
    • Automated sorting
    • Mechanical recycling
    • Recycled leather

    Innovations and solution launches

    Raw materials

    • Phool
    • Bear fiber
    • Econic
    • Fairbrics
    • Full cycle Bioplastics
    • GALY
    • HydroCotton
    • Polaris
    • Bagrotrec
    • Biomize
    • Algalife
    • Spintex
    • Cocoon Biotech
    • Altmat
    • Descatuk
    • Checkerspot
    • Dimpora
    • FARFARM
    • Pond Textile
    • AlgiKnit
    • Bioglitz
    • Flocus
    • Frumat
    • Mango materials
    • Orange fiber
    • Paptic
    • Provenance biofabrics
    • Green Whisper
    • Natural Fiber Welding
    • MycoTex
    • Agraloop
    • Amadou Leather
    • TIPA

    Packaging

    • Phabio
    • Returnity
    • Paptic
    • RePack 

    Processing

    • Dryfiber
    • Fairbrics
    • Imogo
    • NTXX Cooltrans Technology
    • Officina +39: Recycrom
    • Huue
    • KB Cols Science
    • Nordshield
    • Nature Coatings
    • Sonovia
    • Algalife
    • Sasmira
    • Dimpora
    • Vienna Textile Lab
    • Indidye
    • Indigo Mills Design
    • Pili-bio
    • Dropel
    • Colorifix
    • LiteHide
    • We aRe SpinDye
    • Tersus Solutions
    • Dragon

    Cut-Make-Trim

    • Unspun
    • SmartTexCorp
    • Scalable garment
    • Natural Fiber Welding
    • SoftWear Automation
    • Tamicare

    Retail Use

    • PoshaQ
    • Swatch book
    • Lizee
    • The Fabricant
    • Sozie
    • Returnity
    • RE-NT
    • PreSize
    • Frankie Collective
    • Good on you
    • PlanetCare
    • Gibbon
    • Refluant
    • reGAIN
    • SAVE YOUR WARDROBE
    • Stuffstr
    • The Renewal Workshop
    • Trove

    End of Use

    • Lucro
    • Resortecs
    • Cadel Deinking
    • BlockTexx
    • Purfi
    • FastFeedGrinded
    • Pure Waste Textiles
    • Infinited Fiber Company
    • Ambercycle
    • Circ
    • fashion
    • Reverse Resources
    • Excess Material Exchange
    • EON-ID
    • Texloop
    • Worn Again

    Transparency & Traceability

    • Oritain
    • Returnity
    • InfiniChains
    • TextileGenesis
    • Bext360
    • TrusTace
    • MonoChain
    • VeChain
    • Sundar
    • A Transparent company
    • Carcel
    • ICA Bremen
    • Common Objective
    • &Wider

    Others

    • Materiom
    • G-Star RAW
    • Lenzing
    • Syven technologies
    • Clothes Doctor
    • Re:newcell
    • WGSN Fashion
    • Hack your closet
    • Textiles Recycling Valley
    • Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute
    • CanopyStyle initiative,
    • Man-made cellulosic fibre (MMCF)
    • Nano Dye
    • Coats Digital (formerly known as Threadsolre and rebranded after being acquired by the Coats Group)
    • eShakthi
    • Flyrobe
    • I was a Sari
    • PerPETual
    • Nimbly
    • Maersk
    • Chitin/Chitosan
    • Algae
    • Nettle
    • Ioncell
    • PHA
    • Activated silk
    • Spider silk
    • FLAX
    • Banana & Pineapple fiber
    • KAPOK
    • HEMP
    • PTT
    • PLA

    Case studies

    Prominent solution providers list

    • GE
    • Clean Metrics
    • Birla Cellulose
    • Usha yarns
    • Geetanjali woolens
    • JSP
    • JCPenny
    • Apparel Impact Institute
    • OEKO TEX
    • Bluesign certifications
    • Duck
    • EILEEN FISHER
    • Reformation
    • Indigenous
    • Compact Carbon Capture (3C)
    • Low Carbon Technology Partnerships (LCTPi)
    • RE100
    • Elopak
    • Deutsche Post DHL
    • EV100
    • Leaseplan