From left to right (onsite): Ms. Joyce Chau (Director APAC amfori), Ms. Karin Malmstrom (Director, China and Northeast Asia, Cotton Council International), Mr. Rex Mok (Vice President, Global Technical Marketing & Development, Lenzing Group). Back row online from left to right: Ms. Akanksha Sharma (Head of Customer Engagement & Strategic Projects, TextileGenesis™), Mr. Hong Lee (Assurance Specialist, Textile Exchange), Mr. Peter Majeranowski (CEO & Co-founder, Circ)
On 10 September, amfori Director APAC, Joyce Chau, moderated the Future Fashion Materials panel discussion at the Asia’s Sustainable Fashion Summit in Hong Kong. The event is organised annually by the Clothing Industry Training Authority jointly with multiple partners. It provides a sharing platform for business leaders, multi-stakeholders, and policymakers worldwide to exchange insights on the latest sustainable fashion trends, technologies, best practices, solutions, and opportunities. The event was attended by over 1,300 guests via online and onsite participation.
During her facilitation of the panel discussion about Future Fashion Materials, Joyce reminded the audience why materials matter in sustainable fashion referring to one of the Nature Reviews’ published reports in April 2020
- The fashion industry uses over 15,000 different chemicals during the manufacturing process
- An estimated average of 200 tonnes of water is used during the production of one tonne of textile, amounting to 79 billion cubic metres of water consumption in a year
- Textile generates most greenhouse gases per unit, accounting for 8-10% of global carbon emissions
These findings serve as a good reminder that all supply chain actors must collaborate and find solutions together before it is too late. It was encouraging to have experts from Hong Kong, India, New Zealand, and the US share many ideas on how to achieve this. Below are some of the highlights from the five distinguished guests:
Mr. Hong Lee, Assurance Specialist of Textile Exchange, explained that Textile Exchange has been collecting and publishing critical industry data and insights that enable brands and retailers to measure, manage and track their use of preferred fibre and materials. Its Preferred Fibre & Materials Market Report 2021 believes that increasing the uptake of recycled fibres is a key strategy with vast potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate climate change, prevent biodiversity loss, halt negative impacts on soil health and reduce water consumption.
Ms. Karin Malmstrom, Director, China and Northeast Asia of Cotton Council International, highlighted Cotton Council International’s efforts in supporting global businesses to build a smarter cotton future with reduced environmental and social risk by becoming a member of the US Cotton Trust Protocol. Working toward stable and sustainable supply chains through industry alignment and partnerships are key to achieving science-based targets.
Mr. Rex Mok, Vice President, Global Technical Marketing & Development of Lenzing Group, emphasised the importance of partnering for sustainable change. By expanding partnerships with downstream partners and stakeholders, the goal is to raise higher sustainability standards, transparency and develop a new way of working. When talking about the future of sustainable fashion, solutions should not be limited to traditional elements such as cost, scalability etc. and instead should widen our horizons for possibilities and invest in young talents.
Ms. Akanksha Sharma (Dani), Head of Customer Engagement & Strategic Projects at TextileGenesis™, agreed with Karin’s point of view that there is an urgent need in the fashion industry to increase its raw material visibility. Dani shared how TextileGenesis™ helps retailers to achieve this with its award-winning web-based platform creating traceability across the textile supply chains. True transparency and traceability are subject to the commitment of brands and willingness to disclose suppliers.
Mr. Peter Majeranowski, CEO & Co-founder of Circ, believes the future of fashion materials has to be circular in order to achieve sustainable development, given the acceleration of demand and consumption for clothing which leads to massive quantity of textiles being sent to landfill upon the end of their life cycles. Peter shared how Circ could turn textile waste to treasure by offering technological support to recycle post-consumer or post-industrial textile waste. By 2030, he targets to have recycled 10 billion garments which represents 10 percent of global production which would save 100 million trees.
Through the online polling at the end of the session, “innovative materials for industry-wide adoption” and “circular fashion best practices” ranked as the two priority areas that participating guests would like to see businesses and stakeholders work on closely together to drive sustainable fashion in the future.
“The numerous shocking facts of the impact of fashion should serve as a catalyst to supply chain actors’ collective action. Fashion industry players may compete in design, innovation, customer service but when we come to solutions for sustainable fashion materials, all should be complementary with each other. Time is the common competitor for all,” Joyce Chau made the closing remark. All panellists have expressed interest in jointly exploring further discussions on the above-mentioned two priority areas beyond the Summit discussion.
 “The Environmental Price of Fast Fashion”, Nature Reviews, Volume 1, April 2020 https://www.nature.com/articles/s43017-020-0039-9?proof=t