US-based Textile Exchange, a global nonprofit organization that works to accelerate sustainable practices in the textile industry, has announced the findings of a comprehensive Benchmarking report that measures the progress of 57 leading textile companies in their effort to become more sustainable.
In a press release, it said the Benchmark Programme for Organic Cotton and Preferred Materials will be shared with the textile industry; primary goals being collaboration and shared learning among companies that regularly compete.
The 57 participating companies submitted detailed data about their organic cotton and other “preferred materials” use to Textile Exchange for analysis and comparison across the industry. These companies range in size from small start ups to global brands and share the common goal of improving sustainability efforts across their supply chains.
The Benchmark Programme allows companies to track their own progress and also relate it to others’ experience and results in four main areas: Sustainability Strategy, Supply Chain, Materials Usage and Sales and Marketing. According to the findings, 93 per cent of companies report to have a vision or mission to be more sustainable. The majority (81 per cent) are addressing raw materials use at the strategy level and 74 per cent are setting individual targets for specific materials.
The Benchmark Programme also found that 70 per cent of companies use a voluntary sustainability standard to help them ensure the integrity of their organic products and 64 per cent are tracking other preferred materials. Seventy four per cent are reporting the amount of organic cotton they consume while 81 per cent claim to be communicating the sustainability attributes of their products to their customers.
It also listed areas for Improvement that included policies on raw materials (69 per cent) and animal welfare (44 per cent) are lagging behind human rights and ethical trade (81 per cent).
It found that setting long-term goals for a preferred material portfolio (57 per cent) were less common than setting targets for specific materials (74 per cent). And while 73 per cent of participants could provide data on organic cotton, the numbers dropped off dramatically for other preferred materials. This is an area for improvement so that companies’ use of preferred materials such as recycled polyester and preferred cellulosics (such as lyocell) can be better analyzed.