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How Advance Denim is Pioneering Environmental Responsibility

Advance Denim has the distinction of being the oldest denim manufacturer in China and has dedicated its efforts since day one around the core beliefs of innovation, service, quality and people. We trust that these core beliefs are the foundation of our day to day focus of becoming a world leader in denim. To achieve long-term success, we also continue to invest in the tools and infrastructure that will enable us to consistently manufacture products tailored to the specific needs of our customers. It is this drive for innovation that has created close to 40 new patents either granted or pending for Advance Denim in 2018 alone.

Advance is currently focusing its considerable creative and technical expertise in an effort to produce its wide range of indigo products in the most sustainable way possible. We have looked deeply into our own manufacturing practices and have made great strides in water consumption, energy consumption, chemical management and emissions.

Water is one of the most critical elements in dyeing and finishing denim, and Advance has achieved a 64 percent reduction in water consumption per yard of production from 2013 to 2018. This water savings is due to rigorous water management and a continuous effort to use the latest water savings technologies, next generation equipment and process improvement. We have also installed a brand new reverse-osmosis recycling system that will be able to recycle 100 percent of the waste water used in our finishing process. This recycled water can then be reused in the production line leading to considerable water savings. As if that was not enough, Advanced has also installed our own waste water treatment plant that uses both anaerobic and aerobic systems that are capable of processing up to 9,000 tons per day.

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Energy consumption is another critical area that Advance has targeted for process improvement. Our overall energy consumption per yard of fabric has been reduced by 42 percent since 2013. This extraordinary result is due to applications of energy efficient machine replacements and equipment upgrades. We are also continually focused on additional production processes, renewable energies and innovation to drive further reductions in our energy consumption year on year.

Advance is also committed to the reduction of air pollutants. At our extremely efficient thermal power plant, we use denitrification, desulfurization and electrostatic precipitation to reduce air pollutants. We have also installed a state-of-the-art emissions tracking system to constantly track and measure and make sure they are well below the national standards.

The focus on sustainability does not only count for our internal processes but we also monitor and set rigid guidelines for all of our suppliers. We have worked with international suppliers, universities and standards organizations to set guidelines for our chemical use. We detailed our own restricted substance list that is monitored and enforced through a rigorous system of testing and verification. Advance Denim wants to make sure that our suppliers meet or exceed our sustainability goals.

Since fiber is at the heart of all denim, Advance Denim has set an aggressive strategic plan to dramatically increase the percentage of sustainable “Green Fibers” used in our product line. Over the next five years we will increase our total use of “Green Fibers” to over 90 percent of our total production. We will increase our use of natural sustainable fiber to 80 percent over conventional cotton. We will increase our use of sustainable man-made cellulosic fiber to 90 percent over conventional man-made cellulosic fiber. We will increase our use of sustainable or recycled synthetic fiber to 100 percent over conventional synthetic fiber. These are aggressive strategic initiatives but we feel that they are necessary and achievable.

They only way that we can achieve this aggressive five-year strategic initiative is to collaborate with other sustainable leaders in our industry. We have a long-term business partnership with Lenzing. Tencel from Lenzing is among the most eco friendly and sustainable fibers in the market and it has considerable water savings over traditional fibers. Lenzing also has introduced EcoVero, which is a eco-friendly viscose that generates significantly lower emissions and water impact compared to conventional viscose.

Advance also has a collaboration with Archroma and have been business partners for many years. Advance was the first denim mill in China to dye Archroma’s Aniline-Free Indigo. Aniline is a toxic chemical that is a building block for synthetic indigo. Aniline is a group B2 human carcinogen but it is also a category 1 toxin that is extremely toxic to aquatic life. We feel that Aniline-free indigo fits our goals to be as sustainable as possible. We also widely use Archroma’s liquid sulfur dyes, which use 90 percent less water in dyeing and fit into our strategic initiatives toward water savings.

In 2019 Advance has started working with Bluesign system. The Bluesign system will help Advance be as sustainable and transparent as possible by registering our products with Bluesign throughout 2019. We also have a strong relationship with the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. Advance participates in many of the SAC industry initiatives and in 2018 scored a 48 on their third-party verified HiGG Index.

At Advance Denim, we feel that sustainability is an industry-wide opportunity that can only be approached in a collaborative way to have the greatest effect on the market. We look inward at our own processes and invest in technology that will create a cleaner production line. We also look outward and collaborate with like-minded suppliers that also have similar sustainability goals.