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ZDHC Now Evaluates Production When Gauging Fiber’s Environmental Impact

Environmental group Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals has expanded the scope of its work to cover fiber production and thus measure a fiber’s environmental impact.

The initial focus of the new criteria from ZDHC is the cellulosic fiber group that includes viscose and modal. This latest set of ZDHC Guidelines gives brands and manufacturing facilities producing man-made cellulosic fibers (MMCF) an aligned approach for emissions control. They also offer an aligned approach for the recovery of sulfur compounds, part of the inputs, as well as by-products generated during the production process.

ZDHC said fibers are key components of production processes in the textile and fashion value chain and are crucial to reducing environmental impacts. The guidelines give suppliers producing MMCF unified criteria for measuring output indicators like wastewater, sludge, air emissions and other process-related parameters.

“The release of the ZDHC MMCF Guidelines is an important milestone for the Roadmap to Zero Program,” Scott Echols, program director for ZDHC Roadmap to Zero, said. “It represents ZDHC’s first guidelines focused on fiber manufacturing, addressing air emissions and, for the first time, resource recovery in production. The ZDHC MMCF Guidelines are the result of a collaborative effort by our contributors.”

By providing an aligned approach, the MMCF Guidelines advocate for the improvement of processes to minimize emissions and work toward the recovery of input substances and by-products. This directly addresses the negative impact of outputs arising from MMCF production. The intention with the MMCF Guidelines is to continuously improve and adapt to technical developments and science-based evidence as part of their ongoing evolution.

“ZDHC’s MMCF Guidelines are a critical companion to Canopy’s Hot Button Ranking for all brands wanting to use MMCF, to meet their climate, biodiversity and chemical goals,” Nicole Rycroft, executive director of Canopy, said. “We’re excited that our partnership with ZDHC makes it much easier for brands to assess MMCF impacts, in both sourcing and production.”

ZDHC will further support brands, producers and other stakeholders as they implement the MMCF Guidelines and highlight the steps towards safer production practices. This will be done through the launch of ZDHC MMCF Industry Implementation Guidelines due for release shortly.