Today, traceability has gone from a buzzword to a business necessity and more and more brands are making efforts to engage in sustainable practices.
In keeping with that trend, Intertextile Shanghai has maintained a Sustainability Zone at the fair since 2013 to highlight offerings from exhibitors making strides in the space.
At this year’s spring edition, the zone had garments on display made from sustainable mélange yarns, eco-friendly materials like Blcell and Bamdal, and faux fur with an environmentally-friendly dyeing process.
Social responsibility has been a focus for Shenzen Baliso Industrial, and the fiber manufacturer has minimized water use in its manufacturing process, using sustainable materials like its branded Blcell, Bamdal as well as organic cotton, for childrenswear and tailor-made adult wear.
Huafu Top Dyed Melange Yarn also knows decreasing water use will be the way forward for the textile business—the yarn manufacturer incorporates fiber dye techniques that use 50 percent less water than traditional processes and cut pollution, too.
To further its sustainability efforts, the company joined the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), a program designed to improve the cotton cultivating process, in 2012 and was the first Chinese company to do so. Now Huafu has a 54-square-kilometer cotton farm in Xinjiang for Better Cotton that can produce 200,000 tons of cotton for a market that’s continuously seeking more sustainable goods.
“Every year demand is increasing,” Huafu deputy general manager of marketing Sandie Peng said, adding that demand for Better Cotton and recycled materials is doubling annually for the company. Huafu, which supplies to major brands like H&M, Adidas and C&A, has plans to grow its Better Cotton offering by 20 to 50 percent in the next three years in hopes of meeting that demand.
Zhangjiagang VCARE Textile built its artificial fur brand on not only protecting wild animals by offering a high-quality faux version of their pelts, but by dyeing the product with an eco-friendly process.
Sales manager Abery Xu agreed that there has been a shift in public opinion in favor of protecting animals and the environment, and as such, the company has seen business grow. Production hovers around 3 million meters annually, and Xu said that number will increase to 8 million meters within five years.
To answer the market’s demands for traceability, Zurich-based Testex, which provides OEKO-TEX certification for companies, showcased its Made in Green technology from its booth in the Sustainability Zone on day two of the fair.
So far, there’s been high demand for Made in Green, which lets certain certified companies add a hangtag to their garments that consumers can scan to trace the product’s journey through the supply chain, all the way back to the factory. The tag also certifies that garments have been tested for harmful materials and made in environmentally friendly facilities where labor standards and social rights are just.
“I believe sustainability is a direction,” Testex head of marketing and sales Marc Sidler said. And, he added, the Made in Green label “offers new ways of transparency.”
Testex works with 10 other markets in Asia but business in China hasn’t waned.
“There is still demand in China, it’s still growing. Certification is becoming more and more important,” Sidler said. “China is our most important market still and will still be.”