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Sustainability This Week: AAFA asks FTC for clarity on sustainable textile claims leading to “greenhushing” and other updates!

Sustainability Textile
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has completed a 10-year review of its Green Guides. The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) has claimed a lack of clarity about FTC’s Green Guide which is driving some product companies to disclose less about their sustainable efforts for fear they will be accused of greenwashing. Many voluntary initiatives and environmental certification schemes have been launched in recent years as brands and retailers in our industry have sought to collect data about their products and measure the results of their sustainability efforts. Brands and retailers have used this information to make environmental claims that attempt to provide consumers with the information they want about the environmental impacts of the products they are purchasing.

At the same time, as companies have increasingly tried to communicate their efforts to reduce their impact on the environment, accusations that those claims are misleading consumers (e.g., “greenwashing”) have also increased. Assessing the merits of such claims is often difficult when there is no single accepted methodology for determining the environmental impact of a product and when methodologies and data used to substantiate a claim are not necessarily accessible, easily understood, or verified by independent entities. As a result, some companies have chosen to disclose less about their sustainability efforts and their understanding of their products’ environmental impacts, lest they be accused of greenwashing. This new phenomenon— also known as “greenhushing” — is frustrating for consumers and is misleading in its own right. While inaccurate or insufficiently substantiated claims mislead consumers about the impacts of the products they choose to buy, a lack of information makes every product appear to have an equal impact, frustrating consumers’ ability to make the kinds of choices they want to make. Therefore, AAFA believes FTC’s Green Guides are indeed needed, and the organization looks forward to updated guidance.

Further this week, Freudenberg Performance Materials has reached another milestone in developing sustainable textile solutions: A biodegradable fusible cotton shirt interlinings range 46xx. With this innovation, the world’s leading specialist in woven, knitted, weft, and nonwoven interlinings reduces its environmental impact and supports customers in achieving their sustainability objectives. In Asia, the series is marketed under the name 42xx series. The new biodegradable shirt interlinings also show great potential for energy saving, as the fusing can be performed at a low temperature. Concretely, this means that the resulting temperature between the upper fabric and the shirt interlining during fusing is only 127°C, significantly lower than the commonly used temperature of 143°C. Certified to OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 Class II for successfully testing for no harmful substances, the shirt interlinings are washable at up to 40°C and resistant to dry cleaning.

Furthermore this week, UNIFI®, makers of REPREVE®, announces the sixth annual REPREVE Champions of sustainability awards. The global awards honor the transformation of single-use plastic bottles into new consumer products, saving them from the waste stream. The 2023 REPREVE Champions of Sustainability awards will be presented to 33 brand and retail partners that have transformed ten million or more recycled plastic bottles and 59 textile partners that have transformed 50 million or more recycled plastic bottles through the use of REPREVE performance fibers.

Further this week, the first SDG Report of the Messe Frankfurt Texpertise Network is now available for readers. With its SDG actions in eight countries, the Texpertise Network has already reached more than 21,000 exhibitors, around 508,000 trade visitors, around 6,250 accredited media representatives, and more than 945,000 followers on social media worldwide by 2023. The SDG actions included panel talks and press conferences with UN representatives, podcasts, SDG information booths and photo walls, social media campaigns, and a hackathon.

Furthermore this week, Elevate Textiles, a global provider of advanced, high-quality products and mission-critical textile solutions, has released its 2023 Sustainability Report. Elevate, along with its prominent brands American & Efird (A&E), Burlington, Cone Denim, Gütermann, and Safety Components, updates on current commitments, collaborations, and advancements concerning achieving its 2025 Sustainability Goals to source fibers responsibly, reduce water consumption, and lower greenhouse gases.

Further this week, Indorama Ventures Public Company Limited (IVL), one of the world’s leading sustainable chemical companies, has joined “Together for Sustainability” (TfS), a global initiative for sustainable supply chains. Indorama Ventures joins a network of 47 TfS member companies representing the global chemical industry, reinforcing its commitment to driving sustainable solutions in its supply chain management. Through this initiative, Indorama Ventures will also be partnering with EcoVadis to assess our suppliers to identify risks and opportunities along the value chain, improve sustainability practices, and encourage collaboration among members.
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