SEASON 2 2011-2012
concept & design
materials & production
distribution & acquisition
use & waste
Biodiversity is life in all of its manifestations. It is the
Most of the produce in the fashion industry is not
variety of life on earth, from the smallest fungus to the
produced in a responsible manner. This means that
largest animal and from the Dutch polder to the
materials, dyeing and finishing procedures that possess
environmentally damaging characteristics are often part
Despite global efforts, biodiversity is being lost at a
of clothing production. In addition, overproduction,
dizzying pace. Animal and plant species are dying
waste and excessive transport take place on a large
between 100 and 1000 times faster than before.
scale. Water is wasted, natural resources are depleted,
Over one third of all known species are threatened
the environment is polluted and natural land is
with extinction. With the loss of a single species an
converted into agricultural land. All of which result
ecosystem can be completely disrupted, a
in the loss of biodiversity.
phenomenon which directly affects the livelihoods of humankind and the foundation of our prosperity. Our current production and consumption culture is the largest cause of damage to biodiversity. Irresponsible production is at the expense of the earthâ€™s biodiversity, including the ecosystems which provide the life
support services we depend on.
Amsterdam International Fashion Week (AIFW) initiated
AIFW has developed a set of 5 ‘focus points’ in
The Green Fashion Competition in collaboration with
cooperation with CREM, consultancy for sustainable
the Dutch ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and
development, based on the creative process and
Innovation (EL&I) to counteract the harmful effects of
supply chain implemented in fashion practices. These
the current production and consumer culture in fashion
focus points explain the different manners in which
and thus conserve biodiversity. The Green Fashion
fashion entrepreneurs can sustain biodiversity within
Competition aims to create awareness and attention
the fashion supply chain and are intended as guidelines
within the fashion industry for biodiversity and how it
for participants of The Green Fashion Competition.
can be sustained through Corporate Social Responsibil-
Each chapter of this manual covers one focus point and
ity (CSR), a process wherein economic value (Profit) is in
is a step-by-step guide on how to sustain our world’s
harmony with the social issues surrounding a business
biodiversity in each phase of fashion development.
(People) and the impact of business on the environment
Focus Points per chapter 1: Concept & Design 2: Materials & Production 3: Distribution and Acquisition 4: Use and Waste 5: Awareness Within each of these focus points specific choices can be made that can have an effect on biodiversity. These choices are explained with five key drivers, which you will recognise in each chapter with symbols. The key drivers of biodiversity loss directly related to the fashion
LAND [habitat loss and degradation] The loss and degradation of habitats (the areas species live in and depend on) is the principle cause of the loss of biodiversity. For example, when natural land is converted into agricultural land, animals, plants and other organisms which previously habituated the area may be displaced or killed, reducing the level of biodiversity. Similarly, the use of fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture (e.g. in cotton production) may result in the pollution of ground water and surface water, leading
to habitat degradation and the loss of biodiversity.
WATER [water stress and desertification] Many species depend on the availability of fresh water. Excessive water-use in the production chain of fashion may highly impact biodiversity, especially in water scarce areas. In agriculture, long-term irrigation in dry areas can lead to falling ground water tables and excessive salinity (high salt levels) of the soil, impacting the vegetation. In the textiles industry, most water is used for cotton cultivation (2/3 or more of the total volume). In the usage phase, a lot of water is used for washing clothing (up to 1/3 of the total volume). In the processing phase (e.g. the dyeing process), less water used, but water pollution can be a major problem putting pressure on the availability of good quality (fresh) water. The production, usage and disposal of a conventional pair of jeans take about 3500 litres of fresh water. Not surprisingly, many of the larger brands in the textile industry have already identified water use as one of the
key environmental issues that needs to be covered.
RECYCLE [Use of raw materials and over-exploitation of natural resources] The production of fabrics used in the fashion industry requires many inputs, such as raw materials (e.g. cotton or wool), energy, chemicals and water. The production also generates unwanted outputs such as waste and the emission of CO2 and hazardous substances (e.g. heavy metals in dyes). Production of the inputs may impact on biodiversity as a result of land conversion (e.g. for the production of cotton or sheep farming), habitat degradation (e.g. resulting for the use of pesticides and fertilizers) and water use (especially relevant in cotton production). Moreover, the inputs of raw materials may result in â€˜over-exploitationâ€™ when more resources are extracted from an ecosystem than the system can produce. In fashion one could think of the use of fur and other animal or plant products from endangered species. The unwanted outputs from fashion production may also impact the biodiversity in a production area, for example as a result of habitat degradation (e.g. hazardous substances may pollute the ground water, affecting vegetation and animals that depend on this vegetation). By means of reuse and recycling, the need for new (virgin) inputs will be reduced and less production of materials is needed, thereby preventing unwanted outputs to occur. In other words, reuse and recycling will reduce the impacts on biodiversity resulting for the
ENERGY [Energy use, greenhouse gasses and climate change] Climate change is an important driver of the loss of biodiversity. Many processes in nature are linked to temperature and many species can only survive in a certain climate. A well-known example is the polar bear which may become extinct when temperatures keep rising. Projected changes in climate by 2050 could lead to the extinction of many species living. By the end of the century, climate change and its impacts may become the main direct driver of overall biodiversity loss. The emission of greenhouse gasses (such as CO2) contributes to climate change and energy use is one of the major sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Energy is used in all parts of the textile supply chain, including transport, the wet processing (heating of water and running machinery for pre-treatment and dyeing of fabrics) and the usage phase (cleaning, drying and ironing of the product). Moreover, synthetic fibres based on oil may also contribute to the carbon footprint of fashion (when burned in the disposal phase). Reducing the carbon footprint of fashion (either by reducing energy consumption or by using green energy) will contribute
to a reduction of the climate impact on biodiversity.
CHEMICALS [pollution of ecosystems due to chemicals used in agriculture and manufacturing] Excessive levels of hazardous substances / chemicals in soil and water constitute important threats to ecosystems and biodiversity. An example from the past is the use of the hazardous pesticide DDT in agriculture which ended up in birds of prey eating the mice that ate the grain sprayed with the toxic pesticide. As a result the number of birds of prey significantly dropped. This pesticide is now banned, although it is still used in a number of developing countries. Another positive example is the reappearance of the salmon in the Rhine as a result of the higher water quality due to measures preventing hazardous substances from various industries to end up in the water. The salmon in the Rhine had become extinct in 1957. Apart from the pesticides and fertilizers used in cotton production, chemicals in the textiles industry are especially used in in bleaching, dyeing, printing and finishing. Many special features of textiles depend on the treatment of fibres and fabric with chemicals in the wet-processing. Decisions on colour, prints, shine, easy iron etc.) have impacts on chemicals to be used.
For more information on the environmental issues in the
Some chemicals have already been banned by law (for
complex supply chain of the fashion industry download
example the Azo-dyes), while many of the larger brands
the CSR Planetfactsheets
have strict policies on the use of chemicals, both from
an environmental and a (human) safety point of view.
html developed by Modint and CREM
feel and performance (like shrink-free, fire resistant,
(original) photo: Lonneke Engel by Jouke Bos
MANUAL This manual is meant as a tool with which participants of The Green Fashion Competition can acquire an understanding of the effects of their fashion business on the world’s biodiversity. Sustaining biodiversity is one of the main criteria of the competition. The manual will create understanding to ‘what biodiversity is’ and illustrate a few of the many ways wherein biodiversity can be sustained through sustainable entrepreneurship. Each chapter of this manual briefly explains a focus point and provides examples and useful sources. The manual concludes with an explanation of the judging criteria, the terminology and contact details. To illustrate how fashion and biodiversity can successfully go hand in hand, the manual features images from The Green Fashion Shoot - a shoot that features only biodiversity-friendly clothing with the competition ambassador (international top model) Lonneke Engel. Please see page 54 for the shoot credits. For up-to-date information on The Green Fashion Competition, please visit
FASHION CAN BE DESCRIBED AS A TEMPORARY STYLE OF DRESS WHICH IS LINKED TO A PERIOD OF TIME. IT HAS A FUNCTIONAL PURPOSE; PROTECTION FROM THE ELEMENTS AND CULTURAL PURPOSE; SOCIAL IDENTIFICATION, ADORNMENT, EXPRESSION OF PERSONAL TASTE AND STYLE. EACH SEASON THE FASHION CHANGES AND DESIGNERS AND BRANDS SHOWCASE WHAT THE STYLE OF DRESS SHOULD BE FOR THE FOLLOWING SEASON. WHAT IS ‘IN’ ONE MONTH CAN THEREFORE BE ‘OUT’ THE NEXT.
1.1 BIODIVERSITY IN CONCEPT
1.2 BIODIVERSITY IN DESIGN
Sustaining biodiversity can be achieved by facilitating
Fashion designs are generally created by designers with
new or different concepts of fashion. In the words of
a functional and aesthetic value, attractive to consumers
Albert Einstein: “Imagination is more important than
whom identify themselves with the designer or brand
and their garments. Biodiversity can be sustained by approaching the existing design process in an innovative
Slow fashion is an example of a new concept that
manner. Ways to do so are through Product design,
was developed by sustainable fashion pioneer Kate
Material innovation and Innovative production systems.
Fletcher. Within slow fashion, designs have a prolonged longevity and more attention is paid to the quality of individual garments and how they were produced. In slow fashion, garments do not necessarily go ‘out‘ of fashion after a certain season. By producing less, over-production and waste is combatted, which can contribute to conserving certain species and ecosystems by reducing environmental harm and the usage of raw materials. More information about Slow Fashion can be found on
Fletchers’ website: www.katefletcher.com
Starting the design process with an ecological mindset, can help to sustain biodiversity. By for example developing a pattern that excludes waste material or designing a garment that has many different functions or that is adaptable by the consumer, a design in itself can become more sustainable. If a consumer can for example redesign a product that he/she has already bought, the lifespan of the product could be extended, or even become infinite. An example of innovative product design is the Cradle to Cradle approach. This means designing products with their end-of-life phase in mind. The Cradle to Cradle principal is based around the concept that â€˜waste is foodâ€™, which basically means that all used materials should be usefully implemented as a different product after their lives as another product. Quality loss should not be an issue in a real Cradle to Cradle concept and all residuals should be reusable or environmentally neutral. The Cradle to Cradle approach sustains biodiversity as the use of raw materials and water-use is minimised. For more information concerning Cradle to Cradle design, please visit www.cradletocradle.nl (Dutch) or
(original) photo: Lonneke Engel by Jouke Bos
Another example how biodiversity can be sustained through fashion design is by applying the ‘Eco design’ concept. Eco design is comparable to the Cradle to Cradle approach as it is a design principle where the environmental impact of a products’ total lifespan is taken into consideration while the product is being designed. During the production phase, attention is focused on the raw materials used and the emission of harmful substances. In the usage phase (when the consumer owns the product) attention should be paid towards the amount of energy, water and other elements used and the impact on air quality (for example washing the garment). In the disposal phase it is important to make a product as easily recyclable as possible. For more information concerning Eco design, please visit:
By designing with, or developing innovative and/or new (natural) materials, it could become possible to sustain our world’s biodiversity. There are many technological developments that have the ability to change what we currently perceive to be fashion, how we use materials and how consumers dress and live. It could be worth exploring Nano-Technology (manipulating matter on an atomic and molecular scale) or the use of luminous materials, which for example contain LED-lighting. Another option could be to research BioCouture, textiles that actually grow themselves due to the use of microbialcellulose. Textiles which include antimicrobial additives such as silver and are already available and in use. Augmented reality, wearable technology, such as ‘tweeting coats’ shape memory alloys, soft circuits, embedded displays, adaptive contours and kinetic outfits are mere examples of what is currently being tried and tested. Furthermore, milk yarn and Tencel (created by wood cellulose) are more widely implemented textiles that are already available. For more information about hallmarks such as the EU Eco-label, please read chapter 3 and 5. For more information on sustainable, innovative and fair-trade materials, please visit: www.allesduurzaam.nl/thema/kledingverzorging or read the book “Eco Textile Labelling”. The book (and blog) Fashioning Technology by Syuzi Pakhchyan is a
great introduction to combining technology and craft.
Innovative Production Systems
By applying completely new production techniques, all of the harmful environmental impacts linked to current fashion production could be discarded. Examples to do so are by facilitating a shortened production process, localizing all production and for example recycling. Shortening a production process can contribute to sustaining biodiversity by for example saving energy expenditures on transportation and salvaging materials that would otherwise be wasted. Another example of innovative production is vertical integration, which means that a company owns all parts of the supply chain, from production to sales. By integrating all aspects of production and avoiding outsourcing, it becomes possible to achieve a fast turnaround time from design concept to finished product. It is also able to monitor each facet of the production process, therefore guaranteeing high social standards for workers and controlling
the impact on biodiversity.
SUSTAINING BIODIVERSITY THROUGH CONCEPT AND DESIGN
Leave room in your
Leave room in your
Be aware of the
design for low water-use
design for sustainable
significance of chemicals
choices in fibre, fabric
and certified fibre and
used in the selection of
fabrics and suppliers. Designers choose which materials to work with based on specific requirements (look, feel, colour, print) for fabric and final garment. Each choice for a specific fabric features, such as shrink-proof, wrinkle-free, fire-resistant, easy-iron, water-repellent, stain-resistant, requires more chemical treatments. This also counts for feel
and shine and colour.
Address the relationship
Explore the availability and
between design and
applicability of recycled
energy consumption and
greenhouse gas emissions.
LESS IS MORE The use of less natural resources through innovative design, materials and production systems will lead to: less pressure on natural recourses therefore less natural land will need to be converted into agricultural land. less energy and water use less materials wasted less chemicals used and less pollution of ecosystems This will lead to more biodiversity and healthy
Photo: Menno Vermeulen
THE MATERIALS USED TO CREATE A FASHION GARMENT AND THE PRODUCTION PROCESSES APPLIED, HAVE THE LARGEST INFLUENCE ON BIODIVERSITY. THE SUSTAINABILITY OF A PRODUCT IS DEPENDENT ON THE AVAILABILITY AND SOURCE OF THE RAW FIBRE, THE PROCESS OF HOW THAT FIBRE IS TURNED INTO A TEXTILE, THE WORKING CONDITIONS OF THE PEOPLE PRODUCING THE MATERIALS AND ITS TOTAL ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT. THE PATH FROM A RAW MATERIAL TO AN END PRODUCT IS A LONG ONE AND THERE ARE MANY LINKS IN THE CHAIN WHICH AFFECT THE WORLD’S BIODIVERSITY.
photo: Lonneke Engel by Jouke Bos
Materials used in fashion can consist of natural fibres, manufactured fibres, and recycled fibres. The choice for a certain material significantly affects the impact on the environment. Natural fibres are renewable materials that can be categorized into two groups, plant fibres (cellulose fibres) and animal fibres (protein fibres). The most widely used plant fibre in fashion is cotton. Other plant fibres include: Jute, Flax, Hemp, Ramie, Bamboo, Soy, Corn, Banana and Pineapple. Animal fibres are: Wool, Silk, Hair, Angora, Camel, Alpaca, Lama, Cashmere and Mohair. Manufactured fibres are man-made or synthetic materials, which have been extracted from raw oil. Examples of manufactured fibres are: Nylon, Polyester, Acrylic, Modacrylic, Elastane, Polypropylene and Polyurethane.
Besides natural and manufactured fibres, recycled fibres are also attainable for use in fashion. Recycled fibres are materials that have been retrieved after being discarded by the consumer. Certain retrieved garments can be cleaned and reused as a complete product (second-hand clothing). Other retrieved clothing is processed into rags that can then be reused. An example of a project that facilitates such a method is Patagonia’s ‘Common Threads Recycling Program’. Please read Modint’s Factsheet on recycled fibres for more information. Reclaimed plant fibres can be processed into ‘new’ materials. Examples of which are: Viscose, Modal, Cupro, Lyocelll, Acetate and Triacetate. By reusing materials, raw materials
are saved and no adverse effects are made on the environment.
2.1 BIODIVERSITY IN MATERIALS Biodiversity can be sustained by choosing fibres that
Reuse and recycling both provide environmental
are the most environmentally friendly option. Although
benefits, which can contribute to sustaining bio-
natural fibres might automatically seem like the most
diversity. These benefits can be summarized as:
planet-friendly alternative, there are advantages and disadvantages to all fabrics usable in fashion. Cotton
• By reusing and recycling textiles, the need for landfill
for example occupies vast spaces of fertile soil as a
space is reduced. Biodiversity is sustained as textiles
‘monoculture’ crop, therefore significantly reducing the
present particular problems in landfills; manufactured
variety and amount of different species able to live in
products will not decompose, while for example woollen
such an area. The cultivation of cotton often goes hand-
garments do decompose and produce methane, which
in-hand with the use of insecticides and pesticides and
contributes to global warming.
demands large quantities of water for optimal growth. Such water usage puts pressure on water resources
• Reuse and recycling also reduces pressure on raw
and causes soil erosion. In total you can conclude that
materials and non-renewable resources.
contemporary cotton cultivation has a negative effect on biodiversity.
• And reuse and recycling minimizes pollution and saves energy, as materials do not have to be produced
Manufactured fibres also significantly affect the
again and do not for example have to be transported
environment, as harmful substances are often emitted
from abroad. Nevertheless reuse and recycling do have
into the air and the water. During the production of
downsides, as the designers’ material-choice is limited
for example polyester, volatile organic substances and
and some materials can be less pure after recycling. In
hazardous chemicals are emitted which are classified as
rare cases energy is not saved as it costs more energy
being carcinogenic. Furthermore, some of the synthetic
to recycle a material than it would have done to
fibres are based on oil, a non -renewable natural
dispose of the product, making the ecological footprint
resource, making them a less sustainable option in
larger than necessary. An example would be if a truck
general. Benefits of synthetic fibres are that they do
would have to travel for miles to collect a small amount
not require much land use (as opposed to natural
of material to be recycled.
fibres) and they produce less waste water than natural
For a helpful overview of the different kinds of textiles that are available and what environmental (and societal) effects they have on our world, please download ‘Guidelines’ from www.thegreenfashioncompetition.com/ academy. Guidelines is an excellent handbook on the environment for the textile and fashion industry, created by the Danish ministry of Environment and Energy. For a greater understanding of cotton production and help in choosing the most suitable kind of cotton, please download ‘Sustainable cotton on the shelves’ by CREM, also on www.thegreenfashioncompetition.com/academy. Using materials that help to conserve biodiversity and ecosystems Local communities will be more inclined to preserve their flora and fauna, if they can see economic benefits from using their natural resources in a sustainable manner. The sale of sustainably harvested natural plant and animal materials can clearly add value to ecosystems such as forests. A good example of this practice is Treetap®. A plant-based leather from the Amazon. Tapped by native Indians directly from the trees, the rubber is purified and spread onto a canvas of organic cotton. Through a unique hand-crafted process it becomes a fabric used in fashion accessories and interior design products. The U.N. Conference on Trade and Development says eco-fashion brings in between $150 million and $200 million a year. Use of sustainably harvested natural materials in eco-fashion can be an important source of income for local communities. This way sustainable and certified management of for example forests can offer an acceptable alternative to clearing the forest and stripping it of its biodiversity. This could be an important step in stopping deforestation. Sustainable forest management using FSC principles and criteria is one of the tools to accomplish this. For more information and example, on protecting biodiversity by using sustainably harvested natural products
(original) photo: Lonneke Engel by Jouke Bos
2.2 BIODIVERSITY IN PRODUCTION Many production processes in fashion have a negative impact on biodiversity. The length of the production chain and for example transportation and storage in between each link also contribute to this negative impact. The production chain for cotton illustrates the lengthiness of textile production systems and consists out of cotton growing, harvesting, cleaning - spinning fibre - weaving and knitting yarn - wet treatment (desizing, prewashing, bleaching, dying, printing, after treatment) -sewing, transport and sales. Manners wherein the production chain can become more sustainable and preserve biodiversity are: • By choosing local production – saving transportation, water and energy. • By taking the range of the season and seasonal produce into account - look for example at the availability of certain textiles in your region in certain seasons. • By facilitating natural farming practices–such as natural pest control and thus reducing the use of fertilizer and pesticides. • By facilitating energy and water efficient production To share your views, idea’s and experiences with fellow ‘green fashion entrepreneurs’ visit the British Ethical Fashion Forum:
DID YOU KNOW THAT CONVENTIONALLY GROWN COTTON IS THE MOST CHEMICAL-INTENSIVE CROP IN THE WORLD? IT DEMANDS APPROXIMATELY 25% OF THE WORLDS INSECTICIDES AND MORE THAN 10% OF THE WORLDS PESTICIDES.
SUSTAINING BIODIVERSITY THROUGH MATERIAL AND PRODUCTION CHOICES
The very general rule is:
Manage the environmen-
The focus in the textile
Cotton is the most water
tal impact by choosing
chain lies on the
a fabric that does not
production and treat-
For more specific fabric
require a lot of land for
ment of yarns and fabric.
properties take into
production or make a
Chemicals are largely used
account that the more
specific choice for cotton
in wet-processing, dyeing,
wet-treatment steps that
and wool with a reduced
printing and finishing.
are needed, which equals
But also in earlier
more water consumption
production steps such as
mercerizing, bleaching and de-sizing cloth or yarn and the scouring/washing of the raw natural fibre. All of these processes largely contribute to water pollution due to the use of
You can review where you
Consider using recycled
can use technically and
materials. Reuse and
recycling also reduces pres-
fabrics from renewable
sure on raw materials and
resources, instead of
mineral oil based synthetic
It usually results in less
fibres. This will reduce the
pollution and energy use
need for (non-renewable)
than production from new
mineral oil and energy in
the production of the fibre.
WATER AND BIODIVERSITY Drought, salinization and water pollution threaten biodiversity in many areas; in rivers, lakes, swamps, oceans and on land. Examples of which are: â€˘ The desiccated Aral Sea caused by irrigation of Cotton Plantations â€˘ Mortality of freshwater dolphins caused by the
use of pesticides in cotton
THE THIRD FOCUS POINT FORSUSTAINING BIODIVERSITY IS DISTRIBUTION AND ACQUISITION. WHERE YOU BUY STOCK OR MATERIALS AND THE MANNER INWHICH YOU SELL YOUR END PRODUCTS CAN HEAVILY INFLUENCE THE TOLL THEY TAKE ON THE WORLDSBIODIVERSITY. ACQUISITION FOCUSES ON WHERE YOU SOURCE ALL OF THE MATERIALS FROM THAT YOU USE IN YOUR FINAL PRODUCT. DISTRIBUTION FOCUSES ON THE (original) photo: Lonneke Engel
by Jouke Bos
CHANNELS AND REGIONS WHERE YOU RETAIL.
3.1 BIODIVERSITY IN ACQUISITION Acquisition is closely related to materials and production. Consider where you buy your materials. Is it necessary to buy a certain fabric from for example Hong Kong? Or is there a comparable manufacturer in your home country? Are you purchasing an ecologically â€˜soundâ€™ and certified fabric, from a supplier who complies with social and ecological standards? A manner wherein the acquisition of materials (but also the acquisition of packaging, adornment, accessories etc.) can sustain biodiversity is by monitoring the production process that takes place to create the materials that you use. Personal contact with farmers, production companies and factories can provide a clear insight into the processes that have taken place and therefore what the environmental advantages and disadvantages are of one material in comparison to the other. Such contact demands a high level of involvement, time and transparency from all links in the production chain and is in many circumstances difficultly attainable for independent designers. An easy manner to monitor the sustainability of your acquisitions is by facilitating hallmarks and quality labels. Certain organic labels for example guarantee that a material is produced with consideration to the environment and therefore comply with key criteria in fibre production, processing, quality assurance of the
entire supply chain.
GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard)
OE 100 and OE Blended (Organic Exchange100 and
A textile product carrying the GOTS label grade
‘organic’ must contain a minimum of 95%certified
The OE 100 is used for tracking and documenting the
organic fibres whereas a product with the label grade
purchase; handling and use of 100% certified organic
‘made with organic’ must contain a minimum of 70%
cotton in yarns, fabrics and finished goods. The OE
certified organic fibres. The GOTS standard also
Blended details the steps required for textile mills to
includes requirements with regard to the other steps
receive organic certification relating to goods which
in the supply chain, such as the wet processing phase.
have only a certain percentage of organic fibre. This
The label is both relevant for wool and cotton.
label is only relevant for cotton.
IWTO (International Wool Textile Organisation) http://www.iwto.org/ Modified its definition of organic wool by aligning it to the GOTS processing standard and also unveiled a new IWTO standard for ‘Eco-wool’, which is based on the EU Eco-Label guidelines. The Eco-wool standard is only relevant for wool. A great source for hallmarks and quality labels used in fashion and textiles is the book ‘Eco - Textile Labelling’
and the European Union’s website on Eco Labelling.
3.2 BIODIVERSITY IN DISTRIBUTION Distribution is strongly connected to
your consumer and target market.
Where your products are sold geographically can contribute to sustaining
When developing your designs, it is
biodiversity. Targeting a global market will have a larger impact on bio-
important to consider who the end
diversity than for example targeting a local market in consideration to
user will be, where they are situated
shipping, which costs energy and causes harmful emissions. By retailing
and how you can reach them.
your produce close to where it is actually produced, biodiversity could be sustained. Biodiversity can thus be preserved by for example local or regional distribution in comparison to international distribution. Other examples of how considering your distribution regions can sustain biodiversity are: • To only retail in certain areas during a certain season. • Connecting your products to the availability of raw materials. • To only retail to consumers who fulfil your own environmental criteria. • To retail to consumers who are willing to pay a ‘carbon offset’ tax on top of their purchase. Distribution channels The nature of the distribution channels facilitated for retailing your garments can also contribute to sustaining biodiversity. Selling strictly online or only through markets could for example prove to be a more energy-efficient retail tool than retailing through bricks-and-mortar shops. Other contemporary retail channels include catalogues, TV, fairs and door-to-door sales. Saving energy, raw materials and avoiding
emissions all contribute to saving biodiversity.
How do you know if your suppliers and distributors are biodiversity friendly? Begin with checking if your suppliers are certified. In sourcing and buying, keep a keen eye for suppliers that are already certified by one of the mentioned certificates.
Check the suppliers’ sustainability report and/or ask relevant questions. • Does the supplier have a policy on water, energy and chemical use? • Is this policy translated into specific targets on the sustainability of materials? • Does the company use internationally recognized initiatives and labels, and to what extent? • Is the percentage of labelled products monitored and reported on? Ask for specific information about environmental impact on production methods and measures. It is important that this information can be considered reliable
(‘there is no easy way-out to serious questions’!).
WHETHER THE RESPONSIBILITY OF A DESIGNER ENDS AFTER A GARMENT IS PURCHASED IS A HIGHLY RELEVANT TOPIC WHICH BEARS MANY HEATED DISCUSSIONS. THE EFFECTS THAT A GARMENT WILL CONTINUOUSLY HAVE ON THE WORLD’S BIODIVERSITY AFTER SALES ARE NEVERTHELESS INDISPUTABLE. The manner in which a garment is used can contribute to sustaining biodiversity. If product for example demands a consumer’s attention for a certain topic (e.g. sustaining biodiversity) through the manner in which it is used, a more conscious lifestyle could be stimulated. The topic ‘awareness’ is more broadly covered in chapter 5. How a consumer uses a garment, its functionality, the necessary care (cleaning)involved and the disposal can be influenced by the choices that
designers make and can therefore be made more ‘biodiversity-friendly’.
4.1 BIODIVERSITY IN USE
4.2 BIODIVERSITY IN CARE
The functionality of a garment can contribute to how
Washing is a major role-player in the usage of a
biodiversity-friendly a garment is. If a garment can be
garment and its continued effects on biodiversity.
used in more than one way, for example as trousers
The manner in which the end user washes his/her
and a shirt, or inside-out, the consumer would not have
purchase is highly influential to biodiversity due to the
to buy as many garments as when the garment would
detergents (chemicals) and water most frequently used.
only have one use. This would reduce production rates,
Dry cleaning for example requires the usage of solvents.
over-consumption and waste. Providing consumers with
The most commonly used is perchloroethylene (perc),
the possibility to adapt the garments to their liking
which is a central nervous system depressant, and is
or to for example change them completely could also
listed as a hazardous air pollutant.
extend the lifespan of a product. But even regular detergents contain bountiful chemicals, which can be both harmful to humans as the environment. To name just two: • Phosphates found in clothing detergent stimulate the growth of certain marine plants, unbalancing ecosystems. • Artificial fragrances (often made from petroleum) are not degradable and have been linked to toxifying fish and mammals, and causing allergies and skin and eye irritation on humans. Examples to sustain biodiversity through care are therefore: • To promote the usage of environmentally friendly washing alternatives • To facilitate / develop materials that do not require (frequent) washing. • To find washing alternatives that reduce the amount
of water, energy and chemicals are used.
4.3 BIODIVERSITY IN WASTE The amount of clothing wasted and the manner in which textiles are disposed have a significant impact on the environment. As mentioned before in this manual, a tremendous amount of clothing is discarded each day. The most common way that clothing is disposed of is though landfills (namely in the USA) and burning. Each has a negative effect on biodiversity. Landfills waste valuable land, pollute the soil and groundwater and burning clothing causes harmful air emissions. Reuse and recycling provide environmental benefits as they reduce the need for landfill space (also applicable to incineration). It reduces pressure on raw materials and non-renewable resources .Reuse and recycling usually result in less pollution and energy use than the
production of new raw materials.
photo: Menno Vermeulen
Manners wherein a product’s disposal can become more environmentally friendly are for example: • Use recycled or recyclable fabric/fibre • Consider the way your product is discarded and how it is processed • Encourage the separate collection of textiles for
reuse or recycling:
• Make your products easily recyclable.
• Develop a cradle 2 cradle product.
• Inform consumers about why, how and
where separate collection of used textile
is organized, or organize a separate
collection point yourself.
• Organise a return system for used clothing.
The environmental aspects
Reclaiming fibre avoids
Recycling textiles in order
of the waste stage of
many of the polluting and
to make ‘new’ high quality
clothing depend on the
energy intensive processes
products from existing
method of disposal.
which are needed to make
material while reducing
Clothing is disposed of in
textiles from raw materials.
waste is a valuable approach
two ways: with the
All recycled fibres score
in making the textile
domestic waste or through
highest on environmental
production chain more
sustainable. The textile’s
Separate collection leads
composition and design will
to reuse, like second-hand
largely affect its durability
or recycling as cloth, yarn,
(use-life) and re-use or
or even as fibre but
clothing still partially ends up in landfills, leading to land use and potential emissions of hazardous substances to soil and
THE FINAL DOMAIN OF ACTION FOR SUSTAINING BIODIVERSITY THROUGH FASHION IS ‘AWARENESS’.ALTHOUGH CREATING AWARENESS THROUGH YOUR FASHION BRAND AND/OR PRODUCTS CANNOT DIRECTLY BE LINKED TO SUSTAINING BIODIVERSITYBY PRESERVING CERTAIN SPECIES AND ECOSYSTEMS, IT CAN CONTRIBUTE TO CHANGING CONSUMERS’ ATTITUDES AND STIMULATING SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLES.THE MOST OBVIOUS MANNER WHERE IN AWARENESS AMONG YOUR TARGET MARKET CAN BE ACHIEVED IS THROUGH MARKETING AND COMMUNICATION.
How can you raise awareness about biodiversity? Public awareness of biodiversity loss is increasing, leading to changes in consumer preferences and purchasing decisions. Consumers are more concerned about the environment today than they were five years ago. NGO campaigns, scientific research and media attention are part of the reason for this change. As a result, more and more consumers are favouring ecologically-certified goods and services. Fashion entrepreneurs and businesses can show leadership in this field. Examples of marketing and communication tools that can create awareness concerning biodiversity are: • Communicating the effects that a product has on biodiversity through visual merchandising. • Informing your consumer how the world’s biodiversity can be sustained by using and disposing your garment in a certain manner (e.g. washing with ecological detergent). • Creating a transparent brand /company wherein the effects of your operations on the world’s biodiversity are communicated. • Channelling your consumers’ focus to specific topics of interest (e.g. extinction of a species / seasonal production / transport emissions). • Facilitating Hallmarks: Hallmarks such as for example the blue ‘Made-By’ button are recognisable signs that communicate to your consumer that you maintain a certain quality level. In Made-By’s case the label communicates a certain quality level for your production process, but there are many different internationally and nationally acknowledged labels/hallmarks, which communicate different things. • Make the link clear between your design and biodiversity in your product packaging and marketing. • Work with NGO’s and civil society to improve your products and to raise
awareness on biodiversity and ecosystem conservation.
photo: Lonneke Engel by Jouke Bos
THE FIVE FOCUS POINTS ELABORATED IN THIS MANUAL ARE MEANT AS GUIDELINES FOR PARTICIPANTS OF THE GREEN FASHION COMPETITION. THE COMPETITION QUESTION IS:
“DESIGN THREE OUTFITS AND WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN, WHICH EXPLAINS HOW YOUR FASHION ENTERPRISE CONTRIBUTES TO SUSTAINING BIODIVERSITY.”
Sustaining biodiversity is one of the
habitat loss and degrada-
core criteria for the competition.
tion: natural land is con-
Reducing energy usage, the amount
verted into agricultural
of raw materials used, the amount
land with unsustainable
of water used and harmful emissions
are ideal ways to sustain biodiversity. desertification and falling Ideally participants will be able to
take the competition a step further by connecting their fashion enterprises to conserving biodiversity and ecosystems by addressing the main drivers of biodiversity loss in the different focus points throughout the supply chain.
pollution of ecosystems due to chemicals used in agriculture and manufacturing
climate change due to energy use and the emission of greenhouse gasses
over-exploitation of natural resources, ecosystems and
A representative from the Dutch ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation and an expert from CREM will be judging the applications on basis of biodiversity. It is a requirement to have one chapter of your business plan dedicated to sustaining biodiversity. The judges will focus on five main points within this chapter, namely: 1. Does the concept convincingly sustain biodiversity in comparison to prevailing techniques? 2. Is the design / concept innovative when it comes to the â€˜advantageâ€™ for biodiversity? Does it address the main drivers of biodiversity loss and does it offer alternatives to existing unsustainable practices throughout the supply chain? 3. Does the concept provide expansion possibilities, which could increase the positive impact on biodiversity? 4. Are other aspects of sustainability in the supply chain, such as social aspects, taken into consideration? 5. Does the concept contribute to awareness raising on halting the loss of biodiversity and ecosystems? Further criteria that will be covered in the competition are: Vision, Profitability, Feasibility, Market, Positioning, Design and Execution. These criteria will be elaborated during the workshops (see requirements business plan on the website) held for the participants of the competition and on www.thegreenfashioncompetition.com. For all queries concerning this manual and TGFC, please contact: Holly Syrett - project manager for The Green Fashion Competition at Amsterdam International Fashion Week
Biodiversity is life in all of its manifestations.
The ecological footprint is a measure of human
It is the variety of life on earth, from the
demand on the Earth’s ecosystems. It compares
smallest fungus to the largest animal and from
human demand with planet Earth’s ecological
the Dutch polder to the tropical rainforest.
capacity to regenerate. It represents both the amount of biologically productive land and sea
area needed to regenerate the resources that
A carbon offset is a financial Instrument aimed
a human population consumes as well as the
at a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
amount of biologically productive land and sea area needed to absorb and render harmless
CRADLE TO CRADLE
the corresponding waste that comes forth from
Cradle to Cradle is a design principal based
around the concept that ‘waste is food’, which basically means that all used materials should
be usefully implemented as a different product
An Ecosystem is all of the organisms in a given
after their lives as another product.
area, along with the non-living (abiotic) factors with which they interact; a biological community
CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility)
and its physical environment.
CSR is a concept wherein companies take responsibility for the impact of their activities
(manners wherein they aim to gain Profit) on
Natural fibres are renewable materials that can
the environment (Planet) and on humankind
be categorized into two groups, plant fibres
(cellulose fibres) and animal fibres (protein fibres). Manufactured fibres: Manufactured
fibres are man-made fibres which can be made
Eco design is a design principle where the
fromregenerated (reclaimed) plant fibres or
environmental impact of a products’ total
from solely synthetic fibres, which have been
lifespan is taken into consideration while the
extracted from raw oil.
product is being designed.
photo: Menno Vermeulen
RECYCLED FIBRES Recycled fibres are made from waste fabric from clothing factories, which are processed back into short fibres and spun into new yarn. REUSED FIBRES Reused materials are materials that have been salvaged after being discarded by the consumer. SLOW FASHION Slow Fashion is a concept of fashion design wherein garments are designed to surpass fashion seasons and more attention is paid on the quality of a garment and how it is produced. VERTICAL INTEGRATION Vertical integration is a style of business operation wherein all links of a supply chain are owned by one company.
THE GREEN FASHION MANUAL AIFW: Amsterdam International Fashion Week (AIFW) started in 2004 as an initiative to put Amsterdam on the map as a sparkling and internationally oriented destination for fashion. Twice a year, AIFW forms the centre-point of the Dutch fashion world, with a full schedule of catwalk shows, trade fairs, presentations, lectures and parties. AIFW and the Dutch Ministry of EL&I aspire to initiate a change towards a more sustainable fashion industry with The Green Fashion Competition. To do so, they provide a complete “prize pack” with which the participants can really start a fashion business. Besides cash prizes, The Green Fashion Competition provides workshops on biodiversity, sustainable entrepreneurship and creativity, a platform during AIFW and expertise from and connection with the Fashion Week network. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) works together with The Green Fashion Competition on supporting talented entrepreneurs. AIFW was awarded ‘Best International Fashion Week 2011’ by Sublime magazine for its innovative and sustainable initiatives in the fashion industry. CREM: CREM is a specialised bureau for sustainable development projects. CREM’s strength lies in an interdisciplinary approach and the placing of ecological, economic and social problems in an international context.
Graphic design: Cezanne Noordhoek
THE GREEN FASHION SHOOT Photography
Jouke Bos @ UNIT
Lonneke Engel @ Paparazzi
Jordy Huinder @ Eric Elenbaas
Hair & Make-up
Judith Neyens for Chanel @ NCL Representation
Pants : Elsien GringhuisÂ
Dress + Jacket - Iris van Herpen
Dress vintage - Roberto Cavalli
Jacket - David van der Schraaf
Body - American Apparel
Skirt - Elsien Gringhuis
Shoes - Ilja Visser
Dress + belt vintage Viktor & Rolf
THE GREEN FASHION VIDEO At http://vimeo.com/26060418 you can find back the scenes footage, shot during The Green Fashion Shoot.
Video & editing: Bas Zwartepoorte & Cezanne Noorhoek