Industry/Technology news...

Discussion in 'Anything' started by FOXY, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. FOXY Member

    FOXY

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    Hi Girls&Guys,
    I thought I will open a thread on Industy and Technology news related to jeans, denim, indigo, cotton, etc. this should give everybody a good idea about what is happening behind the facade of the retail front. most of it will be in regards to the commercial side of things, but maybe we will get a glance at the Japanese scene occasionally....

    cheers,
    Foxy
     
  2. FOXY Member

    FOXY

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    [h=2]US: Denim giant ACG embarks on mill modernisation[/h]
    Author: Leonie
    Barrie
    | 25 January 2012



    American Cotton Growers (ACG), one of the largest denim manufacturers in the
    US, has embarked on a modernisation project at its mill in Littlefield, Texas
    that will increase production speed and flexibility.

    Phase One of the project will begin in early April with the arrival of new
    state-of-the art spinning frames.

    The three Schlafhorst Autocoro 8 rotor spinning frames contain 480 rotors
    each and "will replace half of ACG's current rotor spinning capacity with much
    higher manufacturing efficiencies," explains Bryan Gregory, vice president of
    textile manufacturing at Plains Cotton Cooperative Association (PCCA), which
    owns the plant.

    ACG currently has the capacity to produce 36m linear yards annually, and the
    upgrade is scheduled for completion in early June 2012.

    According to Schlafhorst, the new Autocoro 8 revolutionises automatic rotor
    spinning technology and is the biggest innovation in rotor spinning in the last
    30 years. The technology allows each spinning position to be autonomous and
    individually automated.

    "We will be able to manufacture up to five different yarn counts
    simultaneously on each new spinning frame due to their single-drive technology,"
    Gregory adds.

    "We can change these continuously with full production in progress, and this
    will allow us to better meet our customers' needs as they respond to changes in
    the denim apparel market. This is because with this new equipment, start-up
    takes minutes, not hours, to reach full production."

    Plains Cotton Cooperative Association (PCCA) is a cotton marketing
    cooperative owned by cotton producers based in Lubbock, Texas. Its ACG denim
    mill and Denimatrix facility in Guatemala are said to comprise the only fully
    vertically integrated supply chain for denim apparel in the western hemisphere.



    (source: just-style.com)
     
  3. FOXY Member

    FOXY

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    [h=2]CHINA: Yida jeans plant takes more green steps[/h]
    Author: Leonie
    Barrie
    | 7 April 2011



    Hong Kong based Crystal Group, one of Asia's largest garment manufacturers,
    is taking steps to improve the energy, water, waste, material usage, air quality
    and noise at its Yida denim factory to prove the industry doesn't have to be as
    polluting as many critics claim.

    Located at Zhong Shan in China's Pearl River Delta, Yida was set up in 2005
    and makes 1m pairs of jeans a month for Levis, Gap, Target and JC Penney as well as the Asian market. The
    company is the third biggest bottoms exporter in the People's Republic of China,
    and has a 4% share of the US jeans market.

    Crystal Group's first sustainability report, released at the end of last
    year, revealed it is well on its way to achieving its five-year environmental
    targets.

    And the company has now provided details of the investments underway at Yida,
    including the introduction of three new technologies, including the G2 waterless
    denim washing machine, a laser alternative to sandblasting, and an energy-saving
    Bigmac Hydro-extractor.

    Instead of chemicals and water, the G2 waterless washing machine uses an
    ionised gas (plasma) to fade the denim to give a washed-out effect. It also
    saves time and energy, the company says.

    The laser machine offers an alternative to sandblasting denim jeans, a
    process that has already been banned by Levi's and H&M. Compared with the traditional
    technique, the laser machine reduces dust, saves manpower and takes just two
    minutes to finish a pair of jeans instead of three hours of sandblasting.

    The latest investment is the Bigmac Hydro-extractor, a front-loading washing
    machine that uses one-third of the water and half the electricity of a
    traditional top loading machine.


    (just-style.com)
     
  4. FOXY Member

    FOXY

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    [h=2]Spotlight on...A better way to grow cotton[/h]
    Author: Petah
    Marian
    | 15 December 2011

    [TABLE="align: right"]


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    The Better Cotton Initiative is expanding its reach
    along the supply chain
    [/TD]
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    Global brands and retailers are working together to source more
    Better Cotton for their products in the hope that creating demand down the
    supply chain will eventually see sustainable cotton become the norm. As the
    first fibres from the initiative start to make their way into clothing, Levi Strauss and Marks & Spencer joined other
    stakeholders to explain what they hope to achieve.


    Collective corporate responsibility activities in the clothing industry
    reached new heights this year, from the Sustainable Apparel Coalition which
    brings together a group of global brands and retailers to measure the
    sustainability of their products, to joint efforts by Adidas, C&A,
    H&M, Li Ning, Nike and
    Puma to eliminate the discharge of hazardous chemicals from
    their supply chains.

    But another group of global brands and retailers is also working together to
    try to transform the textile market by creating demand down the supply chain for
    more sustainable cotton.

    The Better Cotton Initiative counts companies such as Levi Strauss, Marks
    & Spencer, H&M and Adidas among its
    core founders, who hope that promoting the improved environmental and social
    benefits of sustainably grown cotton will make it the norm - not the exception -
    in clothing production.

    Not only does Better Cotton aim to reduce the usage of pesticides, but it
    promotes efficient water use, crop rotation and sound working conditions.

    And a number of NGOs are also working with the scheme, including the
    Solidaridad Foundation, WWF, and the Pesticides Action Network, to implement
    more sustainable cotton farming practices at small-holder farms around the
    world.

    Making it mainstream
    Speaking at a round table event in
    London last week, representatives from Marks & Spencer and Levi's joined
    other stakeholders to explain how, and why, they want Better Cotton to go
    mainstream.

    According to producer support officer Maaike Schouten from the Solidaridad
    Foundation, Better Cotton offers a "middle way" for farmers who might not be
    able to implement more rigid schemes like Fairtrade or organic certification
    programmes.

    Another difference is that unlike Fairtrade or organic cotton, Better Cotton
    is not sold at a premium, so farmers are able to sell it to whomever they like
    at whatever price they can get.

    Of course this also means Better Cotton Initiative members have to compete
    with non-members for these more sustainable supplies. "The market will determine
    the weight for BCI cotton," says Marks & Spencer raw materials specialist
    Mark Sumner.

    The initiative focuses on helping farmers shift from a chemically intensive
    production strategy to a knowledge driven one.

    Speaking about some of the steps the programme has taken, Pesticides Action
    Network director Keith Tyrell says by teaching farmers to identify pests and how
    to combat them, they have cut their pesticide use by two-thirds in India. He
    says farmers are "quite easy to persuade" given that some 60% of their income
    can be lost in pesticide costs.

    BCI director Lise Melvin also notes farmers have reduced their water use by
    40% in Pakistan through the scheme, as part of a shifting from flooding and
    groundwater extraction to bed and furrow or drip irrigation schemes.

    She also highlights how the programme is teaching farmers to apply nutrients
    "based on need rather than habits", and helping them to make informed decisions,
    which is in turn boosting their profitability.

    Sumner says the disparate nature of the industry has, until now, been one of
    the main issues preventing brands from implementing schemes like this.

    Cotton is grown in 80 countries around the world, employing more than 300m
    workers and, with more than 90% of farmers living in developing countries on
    farms of less than two hectares, traceability has been a major hurdle.

    Combine this with "some parts of the textile industry" not wanting retailers
    to know where "things" are coming from has made it difficult to find a solution,
    Sumner adds.

    Supply chain involvement
    As brands make commitments to
    source more Better Cotton for their products - 2m pairs of Levi’s and Denizen
    jeans made with Better Cotton hit its retail stores this autumn, while Adidas Group earlier this year
    committed to 100% Better Cotton in its products by 2018 - other layers of the
    supply chain are also looking to get involved.

    Michael Kobori, vice president of supply chain, social and environmental
    sustainability at Levi Strauss, says the initiative will scale up through these
    commitments like this.

    He also explains that as the jeans company goes to its fabric mills seeking
    sources of Better Cotton and brings them into its supply chain, Levi's is
    defining how it wants to see the future, and how its relationships will evolve.
    "Mills get that message," Kobori emphasises.

    The group is being funded in a number of ways - through company memberships
    as well as funding from the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, the
    Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative and the Interchurch Organisation for
    Development Co-operation (ICCO).

    But while the retailers and brands involved in the Better Cotton Initiative
    are proud to sing its praises, there are no plans to launch a consumer facing
    label. "We don't want a label - we want all cotton to be Better Cotton", says
    Tyrell.


    (just-style.com)
     
  5. FOXY Member

    FOXY

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    [h=2]WORLD: Clothing brands adopt voluntary ban on
    sandblasting[/h]
    Author: just-style.com | 26 May 2011


    [TABLE="align: right"]


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    Leading brands and retailers have signed a voluntary
    ban on sandblasting
    [/TD]
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    International clothing brands and retailers including C&A, Carrefour, Esprit, H&M, Inditex and Levi Strauss have collectively imposed a
    voluntary ban on sandblasting in their global supply chains - and are calling on
    other firms to join them.

    Their action was agreed earlier this week at a meeting hosted by the
    International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers' Federation (ITGLWF), the
    global union representing workers in the industry.

    Firms who have signed the voluntary ban have agreed to end the practice of
    sandblasting throughout their supply chains, including the use of aluminium
    oxide, aluminium silicate, silicon carbide, copper slag and garnet for abrasive
    blasting.

    They have also pledged to work with their suppliers to make the transition
    to alternative methods, and say they will take the necessary steps to ensure the
    ban is effectively applied.

    Apparel sandblasting involves projecting fine sand with compressed air to
    create a worn look on denim and other garments. Sandblasting can be extremely
    damaging to the health of workers if proper safeguards are not followed, and can
    lead to a disabling and potentially fatal lung disease called silicosis.

    Soon after the impact of sandblasting on workers' health came under scrutiny
    in Turkey last July, Levi Strauss & Co and Hennes & Mauritz AB became
    the first to implement a global ban on the process.

    They have since been followed by a number of other leading brands and
    retailers - such as Bestseller, C&A, Carrefour, and Esprit - who have also
    said they would eliminate sandblasting in their supply chains.

    ITGLWF general secretary Patrick Itschert says that in the absence of
    effective government regulation a total industry-wide ban is the only way
    forward.


    (just-style.com)
     
  6. FOXY Member

    FOXY

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    [TABLE="align: right"]


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    Geert Peeters, senior vice president for Levi's
    global supply chain
    [/TD]
    [/TR]
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    Heading up supply chain operations for Levi Strauss, the world's largest denim
    brand,
    Geert Peeters strives to source jeans in a sustainable,
    fashionable and compliant way. just-style news editor Joe Ayling caught up with
    him at the sidelines of a London event to launch its new WaterLess
    line.


    Levi Strauss & Co knows how to throw a party. just-style is at the launch
    of a collection of denim jeans requiring less water in their production, but it
    feels more rock and roll than that. Blue 'waterless' cocktails are served to
    guests, while a semi-naked male model poses for shots in a giant bath tub.

    Eventually, key Levi Strauss executives including Geert Peeters, senior vice
    president for Levi's global supply chain, take to a giant white stage and the DJ
    set is over.

    "Our first objective is to make jeans that are leading edge from a design
    point of view, but we also develop our jeans in a way that has the least
    possible impact on the environment," Peeters tells an audience of press,
    stakeholders, competitors and NGOs.

    It is 10pm before the 'formalities' are over, at which point just-style is
    given a chance to quiz Peeters about how the world's largest denim company
    sources its goods. The sharply-dressed Belgian, who has worked for Levi Strauss
    since 2002 after joining from VF
    Corporation
    , leads just-style backstage where the discussion begins.

    "We don't do this as a marketing gimmick"
    The Levi
    Strauss company is 155 years old, and claims to have led industry values since
    its inception. This month the company announced plans for new terms of
    engagement (TOE) with suppliers from 2012 - the first such change in 20
    years.

    "We were the first international brand that would put a very high standard
    out there for health and safety and sustainability for all its vendors around
    the world," Peeters tells just-style.

    "We will now further develop these terms of engagement so they move on from
    pure compliance to a more holistic project where we will also look at the
    welfare of people and the community."

    Levi Strauss recently published a list of all its global vendors, which is found here.

    Peeters says: "We are as transparent as we can be to the outside world,
    including NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations), to say 'hey guys, this is what
    we're doing and this is where we are doing it'. Feel free to look into it
    because we don't do this as a marketing gimmick, we do it because it is embedded
    into our DNA and the values of our company."

    Nevertheless, along with other high-profile fashion brands, Levi Strauss
    receives its fair share of NGO attention when something in the supply chain does
    go wrong.

    For example, in August 2009 it faced reports of chemical dumping and
    pollution by joint suppliers in the African country of Lesotho. The company
    admitted at the time it "can’t solve these problems alone – or overnight", but
    stuck with its Lesotho project, where landfill and river pollution have since
    been addressed.

    "We do have auditors who go and check our vendor base on a regular basis to
    see how they are doing," Peeters tells just-style. "Obviously, they do find
    issues from time to time, but that's where this should not only be seen as
    policing because they are also there to coach and help, discuss and collaborate
    with the vendors to find solutions.

    "It's easy to set a standard, but in certain environments and certain
    countries it is not as easy as in other countries to reach those. What we are
    doing is to set a roadmap of how to achieve certain standards by certain
    times.

    "It's not a black and white point, but more about working together, so there
    is a strong partnership element. Vendors know that by working like that they can
    see long-term business with us."

    He says that other brands in the apparel industry are keen to form
    partnerships too, adding: "We know that some of our competitors have similar
    vendors and we work together on the auditing."

    The various costs of making jeans
    The subject of the
    evening's event, Levi's WaterLess jeans, first hit the headlines six months ago
    when the collection was unveiled in the US. The jeans, launched in Europe this
    week, use 20% less water, primarily by reducing the number of machine wash
    cycles in the finishing process.

    It is just the tip of the iceberg for water consumption while making a pair
    of Levi's, as the company well knows, because its life-cycle analysis for
    producing 501 jeans shows the largest water impact comes from cotton growing and
    the laundry habits of consumers. Levi Strauss is a member of the Better Cotton
    Initiative, which is bidding to lower water usage.

    However, surely isn't it the cost of cotton, rather than its water
    consumption, that is troubling apparel buyers most at present?

    "Together with everybody in the market, we were exposed to this very strong
    surge in cotton prices that happened mainly in 2010.

    "We had to increase prices as a result, but at the same time seeing how we
    can further control our costs throughout the whole supply chain. Cotton is a key
    element and because of that we had to do some adjustments in our prices.

    "We did see a recent slight reduction [in cotton prices], which went together
    with the reduction of oil, silver and other commodities, but to what degree this
    is a fundamental change it is too early to say, but we will monitor it very
    closely."

    As Peeters makes his point the thumping beats from next door's extravaganza
    continue. The circumstances are perhaps indicative of the company itself, which
    wants compliance high on the agenda but without spoiling the party.

    Peeters adds: "I believe supply chain is on one hand an enabler, but also a
    key partner within the management team of a company to make the company achieve
    its long term goals."


    (just-style.com)
     
  7. FOXY Member

    FOXY

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    a bit older but still my favorite...


    [h=2]CHINA: Investigation uncovers widespread textile
    pollution[/h]
    Author: just-style.com | 2 December 2010


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    [TR]

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    Every morning, workers at a denim factory in
    GuangDong must search wastewater to scoop out stones that are washed with the
    fabric to make stonewash denim. © Qiu
    Bo/Greenpeace
    [/TD]
    [/TR]
    [/TABLE]


    China's textile industry is being urged to clean up its act after
    investigations uncovered widespread pollution in two textile factory towns in
    Guangdong province that make blue jeans and bras.

    The probe by
    environmental campaign group Greenpeace found high concentrations of heavy
    metals in toxic discharges at Xintang and Gurao.

    And it is now calling on the local government to launch an investigation into
    the sources of pollution, and the textile industry to take steps to reduce and
    eliminate the use and release of hazardous chemicals during production.

    Xintang is known as the 'Blue Jeans Capital of the World' since more than 40%
    of its jeans are exported to the US, the EU, Russia and other countries. It
    produces 260m pairs of jeans annually, or more than 60% of China's total jeans
    production and equivalent to 40% of all the jeans sold in the US each year.


    Meanwhile, 80% of Gurao's economy is related to the underwear and
    lingerie industry. Each year the so-called 'Capital of Sexy' produces 200m bras
    - enough for one-third of the woman in China.

    "Xintang and Gurao are symbols of success in China's export-model economy,
    yet we were horrified by the environmental degradation we saw during our
    fieldwork visits from April to September," said Greenpeace Toxics campaigner
    Mariah Zhao.

    "Though we cannot pinpoint the pollution sources
    definitively at this stage, it's worth noting that textile is the dominant
    industry in both towns by a long run."

    Testing by an independent
    laboratory revealed heavy metals such as copper, cadmium, and lead in 17 out of
    21 samples of water and sediment from Xintang and Gurao. One sediment sample
    from Xintang contained cadmium at concentrations 128 times in excess of national
    environmental standards.

    "Dyeing, washing, bleaching, and printing are
    some of the dirtiest processes in the textile industry, requiring high volumes
    of water as well as heavy metals and other chemicals," explained Zhao. "And
    Xintang is home to the complete blue jean manufacturing process, including
    dyeing, bleaching, and washing."

    Workers in the industry also testified
    to Greenpeace, commenting on the smell and colour of the water discharged from
    the dyeing factories upstream.

    "With China nicknamed 'the Factory of the
    World,' it's important to remember that Xintang and Gurao are emblematic of the
    larger problem of dirty textile manufacturing - they are just two of 133 textile
    industrial clusters in the country," Zhao added.

    "The responsibility of
    wastewater regulation and phasing out hazardous chemicals in textile
    manufacturing must be faced by not only Xintang and Gurao's industries and
    government, but also throughout China."

    "We also hope that consumers
    will join us in pushing for change from the government and their favourite
    clothing companies. It would be tragic if fashion and economics comes at the
    cost of China's clean water resources."

    (just-style.com)
     
  8. FOXY Member

    FOXY

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    [h=2]as background information: the actual cotton prices will hit the day-to-day business with a delay as in the denim business the cotton contracts tend to be quite large in volume and valid over a certain period of time. the cotton prices are down again...

    US: Cotton costs halve Levi Strauss Q4 profit[/h]Author: Leonie Barrie | 8 February 2012

    • Q4 net income drops 49% to $44m
    • Revenues were up 4% to $1.34bn
    • Gross margin dropped from 50% to 46%
    Jeans giant Levi Strauss & Co has seen its fourth quarter profit nearly cut in half as rising cotton costs outpaced higher ticket prices.
    The San Francisco based company also said it was hurt by the impact of a tax benefit in the fourth quarter last year, and had to increase sales to the discount channel to manage inventory.
    For the three months to 27 November, net income fell to $44m, a drop of 49% on last year's $86m, which included a $34m tax benefit.
    Revenues were up 4% to $1.34bn from $1.29bn, with growth in all geographic regions.
    In the Americas, its largest region, sales rose 4% to $807m, with higher prices and growth in the Levi's retail business offsetting a decline in the US Dockers brand.
    Expansion of the company-operated retail network also helped lift European sales by 2% to $306m; and Asia Pacific revenues by 6% to $231m.
    But quarterly gross profit fell 3.6% to $624m from $647m, and gross margin dropped from 50% to 46% of net revenues.
    Operating income for the quarter dropped 22.7% to $92m from $119m, which was mainly due to the decline in gross margin, the company said.
    For the full year, net income fell 12.1% to $138m from $157m, while net revenues were up 7.9% to $4.76bn.
    "In the face of stiff cost and economic headwinds, Levi Strauss & Co grew the top-line for the second year in a row," said Chip Bergh, president and CEO.
    "As we move forward, we need to build on this momentum and on our global scale, strong brands and innovation pipeline, while improving profitability and cash flow to deliver sustainable long-term growth."
     
  9. FOXY Member

    FOXY

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    [h=2]US: Levi's brand launches first ever global collection[/h]Author: Leonie Barrie | 17 February 2012

    [TABLE="align: right"]
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    [TD="align: center"]The Levi's brand’s first global collection on the catwalk
    [/TD]
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    The Levi's brand made its debut at New York Fashion Week yesterday (16 February) with the launch of its first ever global collection.
    The new line is based on a more refined and tailored look, for both men and women. The key trend for men is a slim tapered leg, the company said, while for women the bootcut is reinvented in a modern skinny fit.
    The company's sustainability efforts were also at the fore, with the use of Water<Less techniques and sustainable finishes playing a prominent role.
    "Levi's has always been about embracing the energy and events of our time," said Len Peltier, global vice president of creative direction. "Today, fashion is more democratic and accessible than ever, making New York Fashion Week the perfect moment in time for the Levi's brand to launch our first global collection."
     
  10. FOXY Member

    FOXY

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    [h=2]US: Nike backs waterless fabric dyeing process[/h]Author: Leonie Barrie | 8 February 2012

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    [TD="align: center"]Accusations of toxic water pollution at the Guotai Dyeing Factory (Well Dying Factory Limited) have spurred industry efforts to achieve zero discharge of hazardous chemicals by 2020. Photo credit: Qiu Bo/Greenpeace.
    [/TD]
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    Sporting goods giant Nike Inc has teamed up with a Dutch textile machinery company that has developed a way to dye fabrics without using water - and says it hopes to boost the technology's uptake throughout the apparel industry.
    The strategic partnership is with DyeCoo Textile Systems BV, which has developed and built what are claimed to be the first commercially available waterless textile dyeing machines that use recycled carbon dioxide instead of water in the dyeing process.
    "We believe this technology has the potential to revolutionise textile manufacturing, and we want to collaborate with progressive dye houses, textile manufacturers and consumer apparel brands to scale this technology and push it throughout the industry," says Eric Sprunk, Nike's vice president of merchandising and product.
    Nike has been exploring this technology for the past eight years and expects to showcase apparel using textiles dyed without water at events later this year. It also wants to scale up the technology for larger production volumes.
    As well as using no water, the system is said to reduce energy use, requires no auxiliary chemicals or drying - and is twice as fast as conventional processes.
    "The technology can also improve the quality of the dyed fabric, allows for greater control over the dyeing process, enables new dye capabilities and transforms fabric dyeing so that it can take place just about anywhere," adds Reinier Mommaal, CEO of DyeCoo.
    Nike was one of several firms that jumped on board the so-called Detox challenge set out last year by environmental pressure group Greenpeace to eliminate the discharge of hazardous chemicals from their supply chains by 2020.
    One of the issues they highlighted in a joint 'roadmap' of the steps they intend to take to achieve the goal was the vast volume of water used in dyeing/finishing and other processes - and the fact that wastewater treatment varies from facility to facility.
    Indeed, conventional textile dyeing requires substantial amounts of water. On average, an estimated 100-150 litres of water is needed to process one kg of textile materials today - and industry analysts estimate that more than 39m tonnes of polyester will be dyed annually by 2015.
    Nike says it expects DyeCoo's supercritical fluid carbon dioxide, or "SCF" CO2 dyeing technology, to have a particularly positive impact in Asia, where much of the world's textile dyeing occurs.
    As this technology is brought to scale, large amounts of water used in conventional textile dyeing will no longer be needed, nor will the commensurate use of fossil fuel-generated energy be required to heat such large sums of water.
    The removal of water from the textile dyeing process also eliminates the risk of effluent discharge, a known environmental hazard. The CO2 used in DyeCoo's dyeing process is also reclaimed and reused.
    The waterless dyeing process is currently limited to polyester fabric, but research is underway to extend its application to other natural and synthetic fabrics.
     
  11. FOXY Member

    FOXY

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    [h=2]US: Zero discharge initiative "should include suppliers"[/h]
    Author: Leonie
    Barrie
    | 9 February 2012



    Plans by six apparel and footwear brands and retailers to eliminate the
    discharge of hazardous chemicals from their supply chains by 2020 have been
    widely praised by a group of stakeholders - but are aiming for a challenging
    deadline and should have been expanded to include suppliers, they say.

    The feedback on the joint roadmap to zero toxic discharge outlined by Adidas Group, C&A, H&M, Li Ning, Nike Inc and Puma in November last year was requested by the
    firms to help strengthen their goal.

    SustainAbility Inc canvassed the views of academics, chemical companies,
    environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs), apparel brands and
    regulatory agencies, and found "near unanimous praise" for the commitment.

    But the stakeholders also believe that the six brands alone won't be
    sufficient to achieve zero discharge.

    Indeed, many felt the brands should have gone further, particularly with
    suppliers, whose engagement is key to realising the goal. Not only are they
    likely to face additional costs from the initiative, but if they do make
    investments, will they be rewarded with preferred status or longer-term
    relationships?

    Many also consider the timeline is unrealistic - and that eight years is not
    enough to change buyer and supplier practices, develop suitable chemical
    alternatives, impose and/or change regulatory structures.

    They also noted that the industry's business model - which outsources
    manufacturing to a large, fragmented and distant supplier base - may need to
    undergo a fundamental shift if zero discharge is to be achieved.

    Other comments noted that robust regulatory frameworks and enforcement are
    critical to the effort, especially in regions like Asia. And a number of
    questions were raised on principles and definitions, including the practicality
    of carrying out measurements across the thousands of facilities in the brands'
    supply chains.

    The brands should also consider expanding the scope of their pilot projects
    to include "more challenging" scenarios, such as suppliers that do not have wet
    processes in house but rather contract out those processes.

    Supplier disclosure is set to be another vexing issue for the brands,
    especially the prospects of facility-by-facility disclosure, a comprehensive
    list of chemicals used in textile manufacturing, and convincing chemical
    companies to disclose their formulations.

    There will also need to be investment in "infrastructure" on the ground in
    manufacturing countries, including pollution control technology, testing labs,
    and supplier knowledge.

    The stakeholders also want to see a positive vision from the brands as to
    what the apparel and footwear manufacturing industry will look like in 2020 as a
    result of this effort. Will the supply chain be shorter and less fragmented?
    Will full life cycle costs be considered? And what are the sustainability
    benefits of getting to zero?
     
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    [h=2]Spotlight on...Brands deny claims of continued sandblasting[/h]Author: Petah Marian | 3 April 2012
    Diesel has slammed a report in which it is accused of continuing to source its products from Bangladeshi suppliers that use sandblasting, despite the denim brand banning the practice.
    Significantly, research by the Clean Clothes Campaign found that sandblasting units are still open in most factories used by brands and retailers - and even in instances when a brand has banned sandblasting, the process still takes place, often at night to avoid detection by audits.
    The 'Deadly Denim' report also accuses H&M, C&A, Esprit, Lee and Zara of continuing to use sandblasting in the production of jeans, even though they have pledged to end the process.
    Like Diesel, Levi's, H&M and Inditex are denying the claims, emphasising the measures they have taken to eliminate sandblasting from their supply chains.
    Campaigners say that sandblasting - a technique which involves using high-pressure blast guns to fire sand at denim fabric to create faded and worn patches, causes silicosis, a potentially fatal lung disease. They claim the condition has already killed more than 50 Turkish denim workers, with doctors predicting thousands more around the world have also contracted the condition.
    "Smaller workshops reportedly still either only or predominately use manual sandblasting methods," the report said. Although it is possible to test for sandblasting, this is not covered in buyer/audit visits. Indeed, one manager interviewed believed buyers purposely do not test for sandblasting.
    A spokesperson for Diesel told just-style that it introduced the ban before the launch of its spring/summer 2012 range, adding there isn't "any factory or supplier manufacturing Diesel located in Bangladesh".
    Diesel is calling for a review of the information provided in the report, which it says "has not been fact-checked, and which could be detrimental for its [the company's] reputation," the spokesperson said.
    Meanwhile, a Levi's spokesperson told just-style it has verified through on-site inspection that all of its authorised suppliers no longer use sandblasting at sites where its garments are produced. Suppliers have also been required to remove all abrasives and sandblasting equipment from these sites.
    "We are confident that none of our products are sandblasted, because of site visits made by our audit teams and because the look and feel of sandblasted denim is noticeably different than looks achieved through the alternative craftsmanship techniques we employ," the spokesperson said. "Following production, our product quality teams inspect all our garments for quality and adherence to our company policies."
    Zara owner Inditex told just-style that "harmful sandblasting techniques are strictly prohibited under the Inditex Code of Conduct for suppliers" and that since 2010 it has worked closely with its suppliers to ensure that they either use laser-based methods for finishing denim products, or safety controlled techniques.
    H&M emphasised that it introduced the ban in 2010 but continues to audit safety requirements for sandblasting facilities in supplier factories, even though they are not permitted to use these facilities and processes for H&M production.
    "We continue to minimise the the health and safety risks to suppliers' workers from sandblasting for other brands, and overall to [encourage] better practices in the industry," a H&M spokesperson said.
    And C&A, which also decided to end sandblasting in September 2010, said this is monitored by the Service Organisation for Compliance Audit Management (SOCAM). In June 2011 it sent out a reminder to suppliers that sandblasting is not permitted in the production of its garments. However, the spokesperson told just-style it would need to investigate the claims as the report does not provide the names of the suppliers in question.
    The Clean Clothes Campaign is calling on brands to take more action to end all forms of sandblasting, including ceasing production in any unit that carries out either manual or mechanical sandblasting, making changes to the design of the jeans, and working with local trade unions and worker rights organisations to ensure the ban is being upheld.
    It is also calling on governments to ban the process and for the EU to introduce an import ban on sandblasted products, as well as seeing the garment industry included in the World Health Organization/International Labour Organization work on the elimination of silicosis and to develop a national programme in Bangladesh.
    Esprit and Lee have yet to respond to requests for comment.
     
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    [h=2]Indian denim makers shrug off indigo price rise[/h]
    Author: Raghavendra Verma | 10 September 2012


    Indian denim manufacturers are coping better than alarmist reports
    would suggest with a 25% rise in the price of synthetic indigo dye imported from
    China. They have warned, however, that they may try to pass on the cost increase
    in the next buying season.


    "Within the last few months, the price of [synthetic] indigo dye has gone up
    from US$7.3 to US$9.1 per kilogram," says Srinivasan Aruchamy, managing director
    of Sree Balaji Denim, an indigo yarn trading company in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu,
    India.

    Some analysts blame the rise on depreciation of the Indian Rupee. Dr Prabal
    Ranjan Roy, an independent garment industry consultant, disagrees. He sees the
    main reason as increasing demand from denim manufacturers in India, Pakistan and
    Bangladesh.

    "Denim is a very hot product," he says. "It's the only product in the entire
    textile gamut which is doing very well in last two years."

    India alone produces 850m metres of denim annually, 120m metres of it from Arvind Mills, the largest denim
    manufacturer.

    It is among many absorbing higher indigo prices. "In the short term, we
    cannot increase the product price as we have already committed for the present
    production," Aamir Akhtar, CEO of Arvind Mills told just-style.

    He adds that the company will try to pass on cost increases when it starts
    negotiations for the next buying season, though he is not very hopeful of being
    able to do so. "As the markets are very challenging, we will have to speak to
    our customers and see if it is possible," he says.

    It is a tough ask: in addition to marketing Flying Machine, its own brand,
    Ahmedabad-based Arvind Mills supplies denim fabric to global brands such as Levi's, Lee, and Wrangler who compete in price-sensitive
    markets, some of them in recession.

    Reliant on Chinese dye
    Indigo has always been important
    to denim making. It is used mostly in powder form to dye the yarn. Indian
    garment companies have long depended on imported Chinese dye.

    "When India started denim production in the 1980s there were very few
    indigo-based garment products in the market so there was no demand for synthetic
    dye," Roy explains. So synthetic dye was imported and China has become sole
    supplier to the Indian industry while indigenous dye makers failed or chose not
    to respond.

    Natural indigo has always been an alternative. It has been cultivated in the
    Indian subcontinent since the beginning of British occupation. The crop survived
    despite a nineteenth century revolt by indigo farmers. Legend has it that, in
    1860, a British officer commented: "Not a chest of indigo reached England
    without being stained with human blood."

    But costlier natural indigo is now mostly used for hair dyes or in high
    quality exclusive denim products.

    "The price of natural dyes is ten times higher than the synthetic substitute
    and very few garment manufacturers use them," says Suresh Chellappan, CEO of NCC
    Agro Industries, a Villupuram, Tamil Nadu company cultivating indigo and
    manufacturing natural dye.

    NCC Agro also exports to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, where its dye is used
    in denim production, says Chellapan. He puts the current international price for
    superior quality indigo extract, with 40-45% of Indigo tint content, at US$55
    per kilogram.

    Chellappan says the cost of natural dye has also risen recently due to
    limited cultivation of the crop this year. It is a seasonal product, cropped in
    only three months each year.

    Despite price rises for both synthetic and natural indigos, a dependence on
    imports, and notwithstanding price resistance among garment buyers, the denim
    industry needs not panic, as there is no shortage of dye imports from China,
    according to Aruchamy.

    In the final analysis, as a cost component, indigo dye's share in the total
    cost of denim manufacturing is relatively small, says Akhtar, without
    volunteering a precise breakdown.
     
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    Global jeanswear market set for growth spurt
    By Richard Woodard | 9 November 2012

    The world market for jeanswear is forecast to grow by US$10bn in the next six years, fuelled by growing demand in emerging markets and resurgent western economies, according to a new research report published today (9 November) by just-style.
    The 'Global Market Review of Denim and Jeanswear – Forecasts to 2018' suggests that the most dynamic growth will come from markets in Asia and Latin America, while Europe and North America will continue to recover from the economic downturn.
    Although the sector will continue to be affected by volatile cotton pricing – in turn impacted by weather-affected harvests – demand should rise quickly enough to secure steady growth between 2012 and 2018.
    Furthermore, premium jeanswear, the segment most severely hit by the downturn, should continue its recent recovery as the US and Western Europe return to economic growth and leave recession behind.
    Mass retailers and big brand owners will continue to seek the cheapest manufacturing price for their products, but the regions involved are unlikely to change very much, thanks to the need for cotton to grow in a temperate climate.
    While the “Asian hotspots” of China, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are identified as key manufacturing countries, nations in Central and South America, as well as Southern Europe and Turkey, will continue their growth in significance, challenging the status quo.
    The report also aims to identify the reasons behind the success of the denim and jeanswear sectors, highlighting their “essentially classless as well as timeless” qualities.
    “Jeans can be manufactured cheaply and efficiently in emerging markets and easily adapted to suit changing tastes and the capricious dictates of the global fashion industry,” the report adds.
    “Popular high street demand for skinny, slim fit, boot cut or flared jeans can be quickly and easily accommodated.”
    Recovery mode
    Assessing the value of the global denim jeans market in 2011 at $54bn, the report says it remains in recovery mode after suffering the impact of a dip in consumer spending over the last four years, the product of the economic downturn.
    But the impact of the recession goes beyond consumer confidence, with Christian Schindler, director general of the International Textile Manufacturers Federation, saying: “In addition to weaker demand, retail prices only reluctantly increased in the US and the EU as a consequence of soaring cotton and other fibre prices.”
    Cotton pricing remains a thorny issue for the sector, with leading jeanswear player Levi Strauss acknowledging the “unprecedented variability and uncertainty in 2010 and 2011” affecting pricing, which rose by 39% in 2011/12.
    “The dependency on cotton crops is clearly the global denim industry’s Achilles heel and there is a marked interest in developing artificial fibre alternatives to eliminate this weakness, where manufacturers are powerless to counteract erratic weather sabotaging productivity at the base of the supply chain,” says the report.
    Environmental and social pressures are also being brought to bear on the jeanswear industry, the report says, citing the likelihood of increasing pressure to produce 100% organic cotton jeans or invest in new production technologies following reports of toxic pollution leaking from plants and contaminating water supplies in China.
    Further stories of workers suffering tuberculosis and silicosis linked to sandblasting jeans are also having an impact and will only add momentum to this trend, the report concludes.
    Click here for more information on the report: Global Market Review of Denim and Jeanswear – Forecasts to 2018'.
     

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