At the Bangladesh Water Pact held in Dhaka last week, European software developer Jeanologia showcased its Environmental Impact Measuring (EIM) system, an app which allows textile manufacturers to assess their environmental impact and make systemic advances to improve it.
In a bid to promote environmental change in Bangladesh – foreseeing that the major garment-producing nation could suffocate in its own waste in years to come, the inaugural Bangladesh Water Pact conference was held in Dhaka.
More than 300 people attended the event June 9 and 10, with leading wet processing mills, international buyers, technical specialists, and input providers contributing via panels and group discussions.
Day one focused on the partnership and progress of the Bangladesh Water Pact program – a systemic project pioneering change in the Bangladesh textile wet processing sector, in a bid to help workers, communities, and the sector’s long-term competitiveness. Opportunities for saving water were discussed, such as reducing processing times and the excessive washing of clothes post-production.
Day two took a deeper look into sustainable wet processing. At the conference, there was a general consensus that Bangladesh factories should adopt the ‘user group’ approach to manufacturing, in which technical staff from different factories could meet to share their experiences, ushering in a collaborative culture between firms.
Swedish retailer, H&M explained this same open-communication is needed between fashion companies and the factories.
“It’s not enough to be a clean fish in a dirty pond,” said an H&M spokesperson. “We need to encourage common thinking between brands and suppliers”.
Textile software developer Jeanologia then held its seminar – ’Enhancing Supply Chain Collaboration for Sustainable Wet Processing’. The Spanish firm talked of its Environmental Impact Measuring (EIM) tool, which measures the environmental impact of the textile industry’s garment finishing centers.
At the conference, Jeanologia area manager for central Asia, Jordi Juani described how the EIM app is used.
The EIM app assesses the environmental impact of a firm’s activity by calculating its consumption of water, energy, chemical use and its impact on the health of workers – using a numerical ranking from zero to one hundred.
Water impact is measured in liters of water per garment produced; the total consumption being the amount of water used in each process step.
For energy consumption, both mechanical energy – the power needed to run machinery – and caloric energy – the power used to heat water for washing and heat air for drying – is measured. The EIM tool then takes into consideration both groups and creates a combined, one-unit measure – the KWh.
Chemical products are classified as high, medium or low impact according to the self-classification system defined by TEGEWA. Based on this system, the chemicals are given a number; 3 being for chemicals of high impact, 2 for medium impact and low impacting toxins falling into the number 1 category.
The workers’ health function evaluates the handling of all chemicals used, and the risks involved in the operations staff perform. The chemical impact on a worker’s health is evaluated following the same principles by which the environmental impact is critiqued – scoring 1, 2 or 3.
Jeanologia President, Enrique Silla, believes the software could help more global producers and brands optimize their washing processes and lower production costs.
“EIM helps brands to work with its production centers, regardless of the country of production, following all the same parameters for creating their collections in a way that respects the environment,” said Silla.
Silla added the technology is especially suited to denim – one of fashion’s most water-heavy, toxic and energy-consuming fabrications.
“It’s essential that the denim industry becomes aware of the importance of protecting the environment through technology,” said Silla. “The future of the textile industry is the integration of sustainable design techniques and developing good products that respect the environment.”
Retailer and producers of denim Jack & Jones, H&M and G-Star are already using the EIM software in their global production sites.
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