Textiles and Supply Chain

Throughout the creation process of a garment, the textile production stage often has the highest environmental impact compared to any other stage. There are many factors such as geography, raw material used, farming methods/water needs, and raw material processing that contribute to the overall footprint of a fabric. The fabric used in a garment is one step in the supply chain, or web of processes, that are needed to create the final product. Below are sources that cover different metrics of tracking and comparing material impacts, the impacts of textile production, and current events in textile production and supply chain news. Even though there are no physical materials used in the creation of a digital sample, the overall ecological impact of any apparel or accessory is greatly affected by choices made at early stages of the design process.



Bluesign® system is a certified solution for sustainable textile production, focusing on eliminating harmful substances, and creating sustainable manufacturing of textiles consumer products.

– Traceability

– Resource productivity

– Consumer safety

– Water emission

– Air emission

– Occupational health & safety

– Chemical Change Management

The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI)

BCI is a global not-for-profit organisation and the largest cotton sustainability programme in the world.

– Reduce the environmental impact of cotton production

– Improve livelihoods and economic development in cotton producing areas

– Improve commitment to and flow of Better Cotton throughout the supply chain

– Ensure the credibility and sustainability of the Better Cotton Initiative

Canopy and the Hot Button Report

Canopy works with large customers and suppliers of products that originate from forests to help protect forests and their ecosystems. The Hot Button Report is a primary fiber sourcing analysis tool focused on the fashion industry that ranks producers of fibers by their risk level and progress on their commitments.

– Responsible sourcing

– Producer audits

– Transparent practices

– Chemical and emissions tracking

Ecotextile News

Ecotexiles is a magazine and online publication, covering the environmental impacts and developments of textile production throughout the entire supply chain.

– Magazine publishes six times a year

– Fashion & Retail news

– Standards: Labels and Legislation News

– Materials and Production news

– Chemistry: Dye and Chemicals News

The Global Recycled Standard (GRS)

The Global Recycled Standard (GRS) is a voluntary product standard for tracking and verifying the content of recycled materials in a final product for all industries. The standard applies to the full supply chain and addresses traceability, environmental principles, social requirements, chemical content and labelling.

– Environmental and Sustainability certification – Certified Responsible Source™

– A variety of certification services

– Life cycle assessment

Textile Exchange’s Material Change Index (MCI)

Textile Exchange is a global non-profit that creates leaders in the sustainable fibre and materials industry. Textile Exchange’s Material Change Index (MCI) is the largest peer-to-peer comparison initiative in the textile industry.

– Sustainable materials sourcing

– Sustainable Development Goals

– Circular economy

Supply Chain

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition and Higg Index.

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition is the apparel, footwear, and textile industry’s leading alliance for sustainable production.

The Higg Index is a self-assessment standard that measures the social and environmental impact of brands, manufacturing facilities and products.

– Industry collaboration

– Assessment tools to standardize the measurement of the environmental and social impacts of products

– Assessing environmental and social sustainability throughout the supply chain

– Represents more than a third of the global apparel and footwear market

Unraveled: The Life and Death of a Garment by Maxine Bédat

Unraveled tells the story of a pair of pants from cotton to landfill, investigating the realities of each step of the supply chain, and what really is happening behind the scenes of a pair of jeans. It also shows our role in the global economy, and how to change it for the future.

The author, Maxine Bédat, is the founder and director of the New Standard Institute, which researches and publishes data about the fashion industry. Their website can be found here, or give them a follow on Instagram.

  • Book
  • Investigative journalism
  • Outlines the current state of the fashion industry
  • Labor and equity
  • Textiles and technology

If you want to learn more about other areas of sustainability, please check out:

Labor and Equity and the Circular Economy

Current Events, Governance, and Podcasts