The Fundamentals of Apparel and Footwear Sustainability Messages
Business success does not only come from pushing more sales. We live in a consumer’s world. Creative and thoughtful solutions developed by the industry can lead to a good connection between consuming more and making the world a better place to live.
Sustainability Key Message
Branding has to include a message about a product’s sustainability. A number of brands collect used shoes and other products for recycling.
Timberland’s Earth keeper program disassembles used shoes and recycles the materials based on the idea that 50-70% of the material in the shoes can be recycled. Nike recycles used shoes into a material that’s used in sports surfaces, playgrounds, and new products. Patagonia provides information about the carbon footprint of their products and recycles materials from used garments.
Levi Strauss & Co. proposes planet care washing guidance since the production and care for a pair of jeans consumes as much energy as powering a personal computer for 556 hours. Consumer use of a pair of jeans accounts for 45% of the water and 58% of the energy used throughout the whole life-cycle of the garment. It may be good to wash less often and line dry the jeans whenever possible. Consumers often raise the following questions about apparel and footwear products:
- Do I get value for this product price?
- What company or brand is making the product?
- What materials are being used?
- Is the product made by a brand that implements social and environmentally responsible production?
Consumers are now asking additional questions about products:
- Is the product durable and does it creates less waste?
- Is the product made from recycled materials and/or can the materials be recycled?
- Does the product dry quickly/can it be lined dried/does it need ironing?
Before consumers ask you, try and be prepared to speak for your production and your products.
How bluesign® works
Today’s textile industry is facing multiple challenges and opportunities. The surging and fluctuating price of raw materials, due to scarcity of resources, is putting pressure on brands and retailers’ margins.
The bluesign® standard optimizes the entire textile production process and reduces environmental and human health risks. Decreasing production costs, increasing competitiveness and long-lasting innovation also speak for commercial success.
Based on the five principles and input stream management approach, the bluesign® standard guarantees that harmless ingredients are used during a clean and resource-efficient production process which leads to completely safe final products.
The five principles of the bluesign® standard Resource productivity It defines the ecological and economical goal to produce textiles of maximum quality and added value, using a minimum amount of resources as well as causing the least possible environmental impact.
The need to comply with strictly controlled emission limits along the entire production chain. Optimizing the energy flow and using low emission components reduces CO2 levels, resulting in active climate protection.
Occupational health and safety
The health and safety of employees in the textile industry has to be safeguarded by strict guidelines.
Weak points occurring locally must be detected. Based on the risk potential of the deployed chemicals, corresponding occupational safety measures are mandatory.
Water emission control
Aimed at feeding back purified water into the natural cycle and causing the least possible pollution of rivers, lakes and seas. This can be achieved by the use of ecologically harmless components and by optimizing production and wastewater treatment processes.
Consumer safety includes not only the mandate for high-quality textile products without health risks, but also the assurance that all of the principles of sustainability are consistently implemented during the production process. Find out more about SGS capabilities related to the bluesign®.
Karen E. Kyllo, Ph.D.
Deputy Vice President
SGS U.S. Testing Company, Inc.
t: +1 973 461 7934
The SGS Group is the global leader and innovator in inspection, verification, testing and certification services. Founded in 1878, SGS is recognized as the global benchmark in quality and integrity. With more than 64,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,250 offices and laboratories around the world.