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The Textile Colourant and Chemical Leaders Forum, ITMA 2015

SDC member Dr Ian Holme reports on The Textile Colourant and Chemical Leaders Forum, which took place at ITMA 2015.

The Textile Colourant and Chemical Leaders Forum organised by the technical committee comprising members from SDC (Andrew Filarowski), IFATCC (J Marek), AICTC (A Gigli), Janak Mehta (DMAI) and Enrique Meltzer (FLAQT) and organised with MP International and held during ITMA 2015 at Fiera Rho, Milan saw 130 delegates attending.

In order to increase sustainability in textiles and clothing, all stakeholders need to work together, delegates at the Textile Colourant and Chemical Leaders Forum heard.

IMG_4010The Textile Colourant and Chemical Leaders Forum attracted many delegates eager to hear about the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC), REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) and novel approaches to textile dyeing and finishing that create a more sustainable approach to wet processing.

Conference chairman Stefano Cavestro (AICTC) welcomed the delegates and said that in order to increase sustainability in textiles and clothing, all stakeholders in the supply chain network need to fully co-operate in order to initiate more environmentally friendly processes.

IMG_3662John Mowbray (MCL Global) explained the impact of the Greenpeace DETOX campaign programme, how it had evolved and how the textile industry brand leaders and retailers had responded. A number of leading brands had committed to the ZDHC (Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals) in their supply chain by 2020. Greenpeace’s focus on fluorocarbon finishes was considered by many to have missed out on more important issues in the textile industry that affect the environment.

In 2014, MCL Global published a 130-page report on Detox Deconstructed. Although there was some opposition to the report, some of its recommendations and new testing procedures had been adopted.

Greenpeace appeared to be changing its strategy, moving away from zero discharge and focusing on tougher MRSL (Manufacturing Restricted Substance Lists) limits.

IMG_3985Dr Maurizio Colombo (Federchimica) gave an update on the REACH regulation, pointing out that it was hazard-based rather than risk-based. The REACH documentation was extensive, making it difficult for SMEs (small-medium enterprises) to deal with. The cost of dealing with REACH was estimated to cost the Italian chemical industry around €370m.

While some countries outside the European Union were introducing REACH-style regulations, there was still a problem with some imported textiles where banned substances might be present, especially from countries where regulation was weak.

Continuous contact with the authorities at national and European level was needed to help the textile industry maintain a high level of safety and environmental protection.

Alberto Gallina (Benetton Group and representing the ZDHC Group) discussed how retailers, brands and a diverse group of stakeholders had moved to clean up the fashion apparel supply chain. ZDHC was now a legal entity in Holland, with executive director Frank Michel appointed on 1 August. Mr Michel was supported by a team in Holland to drive forward the vision and objectives of the ZDHC Group. The functional tools had been completed with the eventual objective of setting new international standards.

The fundamental tools included a framework for prioritisation of hazardous chemicals, MRSL levels, Research List, Audit Protocol, Right to Know Chemical Disclosure Methodology, Chemical Management Systems Guidance Manual and Chemical Management Training for suppliers in Bangladesh, China, India and Vietnam.

Many of these tools were available at www.roadmaptozero.com.

IMG_3625The ZDHC Joint Roadmap Update had been released in September 2015. ZDHC was viewed as an industry leader and innovator and companies could join the group as a signatory brand or an associate.

Other speakers included Gel Egger Ceccarelli (Salvatore Ferragamo SpA), Professor Giuseppe Rosace (University of Bergamo), Dr Pankaj Desai (Colourtex Industries Private Ltd), Han Kuilderd (Novozymes), Georg Lang (Archroma), Dr Murray Height (HeiQ Materials AG), Mauro Fassi (Loris Bellini), Matteo Tagliapietra (Tonello), Lutz Walter (The European Technology Platform for the Future of Textiles and Clothing) and Professor Marc Van Parys (Unitex).

The presentations covered a wide range of natural fibres that could be used in fashion, REACH versus ZDHC, developments in chemical finishes and machinery for dyeing and finishing and emerging technologies and future trends in textile processing. Other topics included materials, resource efficiency and new business models as the drivers for sustainability in the European textile and clothing industry.

With thanks to Dr Ian Holme for reviewing the Forum and thanks to ITMA 2015 for use of all the images.

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Comments (1)

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    Ziauddin Prince


    It’s an excellent group initiative. Well Speech by Prof. Giuseppe Rosace about REACH vs ZDHC. This is now very important to move to clean up the fashion apparel supply chain. Special thanks to SDC members and other Companies and Organization for supporting to organize this.


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