Updated: Jul 28
“The global fashion industry is extremely energy consuming, polluting and wasteful.”
“Fashion is always about what is next. For the fashion industry itself to have a future, sustainability needs to be next.”
If fashion is to change its destructive nature, it needs to change its production methods more than anything else.
As a reminder, >95% of the impact of your favourite brand’s garment comes from Scope 3 emissions - indirect carbon emissions that occur in and across a company’s value chain (otherwise known as fashion’s supply chain).
Scope 3 includes consumer usage and end of use - but the vast majority happens before the brand or consumer ever receives a finished t-shirt, pair of jeans or dress, with the most impact taking place in the Raw Material Extraction (Tier 4) and Material Processing (Tier 2) steps of the supply chain.
Source: Fashion for Good x AII
This impact concentration in Scope 3 is not unique to fashion - food is the same, as is the automotive industry - nor is the attempt by fashion brands to focus the attention of consumers and investors on the progress they are making on the much smaller, less impactful parts of their business - Scopes 1 and 2. But the data doesn’t lie - and legislators are starting to force companies to lay bare the facts for all to see.
This is why the EU’s CSRD (Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive) is so crucial. It requires companies to not only to report on their own operations (Scopes 1 and 2), but also their broader value chain (Scope 3). You can read more about the incoming regulations - and their impact on fashion brand data needs - in my previous Smartex blog post - “A Data Revolution is coming to textile supply chain!”.
Source: Fashion for Good x AII
In short, Scope 3 is the issue.
For the fashion industry to align behind a genuine, Net Zero pathway, we need a modern textile supply chain - and this starts with the Modern Textile Factory.
The current textile factory hasn’t changed much over the last 50 years. That’s because the vast majority of fashion brands have prioritised only one thing - low cost. So the supply chain has constantly moved to cheaper, developing countries and optimised for low cost production; sustainability, safe working conditions and innovation are secondary - if present at all.
If we are TRULY serious about building a sustainable fashion industry, we have to change textile production.
So where to start? It can be quite overwhelming - we are talking about a multi-trillion dollar industry, producing over 100 billion garments annually, complex and interrelated key environmental challenges and many established blockers to innovation adoption.
But who doesn’t like a challenge…. and we aren’t starting from scratch.
At Smartex, we’re bringing Artificial Intelligence to Textiles, specifically focusing on enabling zero waste and traceability in Material Production (i.e. Tier 2 - the highest impact step in the textile supply chain). We’re already in 70+ factories and rapidly expanding.
And we’re not alone. There are plenty of other exciting innovators, influential policymakers and forward-thinking factories who are looking to solve other key supply chain problems.
Scalable solutions to fashion’s problems are increasingly a reality - problems such as the unsustainable material inputs used (Natural Fiber Welding, Kintra), the water-intensive machines used (NTX, Jeanologia), the dirty consumables applied to fabrics (Living Ink, Stony Creek Colors), the cutting floor waste at Tier 1 (Reverse Resources), the amount of plastic packaging used (TIPA, traceless), the short life cycle of a finished garment (trove, Reflaunt) and the industry’s poor recycling capabilities (Renewcell, Infinited Fiber Company, Circ).
Now we need factories to implement them - supported by well designed legislation and responsible fashion brands.
This is a team effort.
And that’s why we’ve created the first Smartex focus group on “The Modern Textile Factory” with different experts who bring their own, unique perspective.
We’ve managed to bring together a diverse, global and experienced group of ten passionate change makers who are all focused on trying to create the new production reality that is desperately required.
This group will meet throughout 4 sessions in 2023 to focus on key topics, and we will publish the key takeaways at the end of year.
So, without further ado, Smartex is proud to introduce our “The Modern Textile Factory” members for 2023:
Paul Wright (Group Executive Director, PDS Limited) - LinkedIn
Gizem Çalış (Operational Excellence Deputy General Manager, Ekoten) - LinkedIn
Ricardo Jorge Oliveira Martins da Silva (CEO, Tintex Textiles) - LinkedIn
Jeffery Hsu (Chief Innovation and Marketing Officer, NTX) - LinkedIn
Luke Henning (Chief Business Officer, Circ) - LinkedIn
Tricia Carey (Chief Commercial Officer, Renewcell) - LinkedIn
Gilberto Loureiro (CEO, Smartex) - LinkedIn
Brand / Legislation Perspective
Christine Goulay (Founder and CEO, Sustainabelle Advisory Services) - LinkedIn
Ken Pucker (Senior Lecturer, Tufts Fletcher School) - LinkedIn
Yael Gairola (Board member, PDS Limited) - LinkedIn