Intake of preferred cotton and recycled polyester is up and more companies are making circularity strides, according to Textile Exchange’s new “Material Change Insights Report.”
Summarizing the state of fiber and materials sourcing in the textile industry, the report offers comprehensive, data-backed analyses of how the industry is progressing in its shift to preferred materials. The report also provides a look at how the industry is aligning with global efforts like the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the transition to a circular economy.
This year the report launches alongside Textile Exchange’s Material Change Index (MCI) that tracks individual company progress. The 2020 launch also includes a new and highly interactive MCI Leaderboard that shows how companies performed and where they are focusing their efforts.
A new Dashboard models outcomes and impacts associated with preferred materials sourcing and is a key tool to track industry progress towards Textile Exchange’s climate goal of a 45 percent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the next decade. Textile Exchange generally describes a preferred fiber or material as ecologically and/or socially progressive.
“The Material Change Index is the largest peer-to-peer comparison initiative in the textile industry,” Claire Bergkamp, chief operating officer at Textile Exchange, said. “We see the MCI as an essential enabler for furthering industry accountability. Through benchmarking, we want to help companies and suppliers focus their efforts and drive toward substantial change. There is no time to waste–we must move now in order to achieve the comprehensive systems change that will be required to keep us within the 1.5 Celsius pathway.”
Participation in the index was up 10 percent this year–191 participants compared to 173 the previous year, with the greatest participation growth within the apparel and footwear sector.
The average MCI score was up 9.8 points this year, increasing 17 percent, while remaining at the Level 3 “Maturing” performance band. These 10 companies that made the greatest improvement in the MCI from 2019 to 2020 were C&J Clark Limited, Kuyichi B.V., Columbia Sportswear Company, ORSAY GmbH, Darn Tough Vermont, Outerknown, Deckers Brands, Piping Hot Australia, KappAhl Sveridge and Royal Robbins.
The Circularity average score moved the Circularity Index average up from a Level 2 to a Level 3, rising 16.01 points. Circularity scores increased on average by 37 percent, with the biggest growth among outdoor/sports brands. Nine companies achieved the Leading Level 4 ranking in Circularity–C&A, H&M Group, Knickey, Mud Jeans, Nudie Jeans, Outerknown, Patagonia, prAna, and The North Face.
Uptake of preferred materials was up 24 percent, to 2 million tons in 2020 from 1.7 million tons reported in 2019, and preferred materials now account for 44 percent of the Index portfolio, rising from 39 percent previously. Preferred renewable cotton and recycled polyester accounted for most of this growth. Preferred cotton increased 26 percent to 1.6 million tons or 63 percent of cotton uptake from 1.3 million tons, and recycled polyester increased 30 percent to 18 percent of polyester uptake or 300,000 tons from 200,000 tons or 17 percent of uptake.
The most evidence of GHG emission reduction was linked to the use of recycled polyester. Savings there were 700,000 tons of CO2 equivalent, a 16 percent saving over a fully conventional polyester equivalence, according to the report.
Textile Exchange is a global nonprofit organization that develops, manages and promotes a suite of industry standards and collects and publishes vital industry data and insights that enable brands and retailers to measure, manage, and track their use of preferred fiber and materials. Its membership includes leading brands, retailers and suppliers.