Roadmap towards responsible viscose & modal fibre manufacturing

February 2018 Report
Roadmap towards responsible viscose - graphic of clothing label

Purpose and scope

The purpose of this document is to provide guidance to brands and retailers that have engaged with the Changing Markets Foundation following the publication of Dirty fashion: How pollution in the global textile supply chain is making viscose toxic (Changing Markets Foundation, 2017). It achieves this by defining some key principles and guidelines for cleaning up the manufacturing of viscose and modal fibres.

There are various types of manmade cellulose fibres on the market including viscose, modal and lyocell, all of which use different approaches to ‘regenerate’ cellulose. Viscose is the dominant production method, representing more than 70% of the global viscose market; modal and lyocell represent 19% and 9% respectively. The manufacturing of modal is similar to viscose production, as it can be produced on the same asset, although it can be more chemical- and energy-intensive. Therefore, when we refer to viscose in this document, this includes modal fibres and the same standards apply.

Viscose can be produced in a responsible way, but unfortunately many manufacturers have not yet adopted best practices on management of toxic and corrosive chemicals, making the processing of dissolving pulp into fibre and yarn highly polluting. Without proper treatment, the discharge of pollutants into the air and chemicals into waterways can affect the delicate natural balance of ecosystems and water bodies, and harm the health of factory workers and local communities.

This roadmap focuses on improving viscose fibre production facilities and leveraging brands’ ability to engage manufacturers in order to tackle issues within this specific part of the supply chain. If they want to be regarded as delivering responsible products, brands must apply a holistic approach throughout the entire supply chain by taking this roadmap into consideration, alongside other ongoing efforts at other stages of the supply chain.

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