For the first time in fashion history a thorough life-cycle-assessment on environmental impacts of garments is now available. Dr Sandra Roos presents what fibres and production processes are sustainable, including chemical impact.
For long time both fashion companies and consumers experienced challenges in understanding what environmental impact clothing have due to limitation of facts. To address this researcher Sandra Roos present quantitative data on the environmental impact of clothing from a lifecycle perspective. The LCA data tells how sustainable each fiber and production processes are, including chemicals. It means that it is now possible to calculate the effectiveness of various improvement measures. And that designers, procurers, fashion brands and producers can make relevant decisions. Consumers and other stakeholders will get transparency on what is actually sustainable.
Five years of inventory
The LCA data is the result of five years research and is presented in Sandra Roos PhD thesis; “Advancing life cycle assessment of textile products to include textile chemicals. Inventory data and toxicity impact assessment”, at Chalmers and Swerea. The advantage of LCA is that it provides a quantitative measure of the environmental impacts (eg climate change and water scarcity). It looks at the whole life cycle from extraction of raw materials to product disposal. To this point available data has not included the impact of toxic substances very well. Toxicity is a major issue for the textile industry, today about 15 000 different chemicals are used. The variation is in itself an obstacle to be able to collect data on all chemicals.
Next is to Implement as relevant tools for industry
Mistra Future Fashion will now take the LCA data further and translate this into workable tools for the fashion industry. The project will involve Mistra Future Fashion’s partners and is expected to be implemented during 2018.
The press release from Chalmers explain how the environmental impact of our clothing has now been mapped in the most comprehensive life cycle analysis performed to date. For the first time, this makes it possible to compare the environmental effects of completely different types of textiles. The results will be used to create a practical tool for clothing manufacturers that want to lighten their environmental load.