Established in 1987, Advance Denim Limited is using its experience and history to create styles that honor true vintage denim, while also taking the fabric’s manufacturing methods forward. In this spirit of continuous improvement, the China-based denim mill has outlined a 10-year carbon reduction plan designed to continue lowering its carbon footprint year over year.
Over the past five years, Advance Denim has become an innovator in sustainable manufacturing, first launching the Bigbox dyeing process, which is designed to save 95 percent of the water needed to dye aniline-free liquid indigo. Shortly after, the denim mill took another responsible step by debuting an alternative eco-friendly dyeing method, BioBlue indigo, an innovation aimed at replacing the harsh chemical sodium hydrosulfite in the indigo dye process for a cleaner, safe dye.
The changes haven’t stopped there. In 2020, Advance replaced a coal boiler in its 120,000-square-meter facility in Shunde, China, with a clean-burning natural gas boiler. One year later, the denim producer also replaced the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) used in the jean-singeing process to clean, natural gas.
In 2021, the manufacturer installed the first phase of a new photovoltaic solar generation system, which is expected to generate 3,000 kWh per day and will account for 5 percent of the business’s total energy consumption.
Advance Denim is also replacing the refrigerant in all air conditioning systems, instead using R32, a refrigerant specifically produced to use less energy and prevent ozone depletion, thus further lowering the company’s carbon footprint. In accordance with this plan, all company vehicles are being switched to renewable fuels such as ethanol. To further reduce water usage and wastewater, Advance Denim will extend the Bigbox dyeing capacity across its entire operation.
“There is a lot of hard work and capital investment in lowering our carbon footprint year after year,” said Amy Wang, managing director, Advance Denim. “The innovations are not always visible to a person touring a factory and certainly have an effect on the cost, but we feel that it is our responsibility to do whatever we can to make denim one of the world’s most environmentally friendly fabrics. We are also working with our industry partners as a founding member of the zero-carbon initiative in China to build a supply chain that practices low carbon production as a whole. Advance will lead by example and help create a cleaner industry and environment for future generations.”
While Advance Denim has embraced the many sustainability efforts gaining traction in fashion, it couldn’t accomplish its goals without collaborating with other parties. The manufacturer has joined numerous programs and coalitions to develop and follow through on carbon reduction plans.
Advance is one of the founding participants of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Jeans Redesign project, a member of the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol, and aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as part of its progress towards supply chain transparency goals.
The mill also partners with global sustainable services and programs such as ISO, Bluesign, Cotton Leads, ZDHC and Oeko-Tex to certify its manufacturing facilities, both in China and in Vietnam. Thus far, the firm’s production processes are certified for the Global Recycled Standard (GRS), Organic Content Standard (GRS) and the Recycled Claim Standard (RCS). Advance Denim has also been a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition since 2016 and received a third-party verified HIGG score of 88 in 2020, well ahead of the industry standard score of 57.3.
With the support of partners that are committed to improving the sustainability of its manufacturing operations, Advance Denim is even more encouraged that it can achieve and exceed its 10-year carbon reduction goals.
Learn more about Advance Denim Limited here.