The organic accreditation is in addition to the company’s existing Bluesign, IFOAM, LEED and Think Green Initiative certifications, Bombyx said, and marks an important benchmark in the phases of evolution, as the company now approaches Phase Two of its sustainability plan with the successful inclusion of regenerative agriculture to its vertical operation. Phase One was making silk without toxic dyes and wasting less energy.
This continuous commitment to regenerative practices led the company to an easier transition to achieve the organic silk certification. Bombyx has been replacing chemical, GMO and synthetic inputs with natural organic substitutes by incorporating sustainable farming practices such as intercropping, rotational cropping and the introduction of animals for bioorganic pest control. This helps reduce the reliance on synthetic fertilizers and promotes biodiversity, increasing the farm’s output naturally and regenerating the land without chemicals.
These additional crops provide farmers with multiple sources of income that can help during the transition from non-organic to organic farming, a process that could take as much as three years, during which output from mulberry trees are reduced.
“This is just a portion of the protocols Bombyx teaches our farmers to use to help the land regenerate, increase their income, output and quality of crops,” said Bombyx vice president Hilmond Hui. “We also look at our operation geographically to keep all parts as close together as possible (within Nanchong, Sichuan), to reduce carbon emissions in transportation and provide the freshest leaves for our silkworms, increasing quality and quantity for silk, ultimately increasing farmers’ incomes, as well.”
Ceres, a sustainability advocacy organization, is one of the significant organic textile certifications, Bombyx noted, certifying according to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Control Union’s IVN BEST, and Textile Exchange’s Recycled Claim Standard and Organic Content Standard.
One of its key metrics is the conservation or improvement of soil fertility. The results for both the soil and irrigation water in the Bombyx sericulture base were much lower than the limit, a standard that is applicable to surface water, groundwater, treated aquaculture wastewater and industrial wastewater.
The organization confirms that a portion of Bombyx’s farms combines the best environmental practices of the high level of biodiversity, the preservation of natural resources and high animal welfare standards. Bombyx’s organic silkworms are fed 100 percent organic mulberry leaves, raised and harvested at an eco-friendly organic sericulture base far enough from contamination sources such as conventional fruit or vegetable farms, industrial sites or roads with heavy traffic.
Based in Hong Kong with operations in mainland China, Bombyx is an innovative silk supplier and textile manufacturer that produces silk fabrics for brands including Theory, Rag & Bone, Everlane, J. Crew and Madewell.
Phase 3 of Bombyx’s organic operations is to reach 100 percent recycled water and renewable energy for its silk dyeing and washing processes, and by 2024, the silk manufacturer aims to be carbon neutral.
In addition to the regenerative farms, Bombyx’s operations function vertically in nearby Nanchong, where garment production takes place. This LEED-certified facility includes many windows and solar panels that produce more energy than is consumed annually, and utilizes Jeanologia washing machines that reduce water consumption by 95 percent.