The share of sustainable materials used by members of the Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile (AGT) has jumped to 38% in 2019.

The figure compares to a 16% share in 2017 and a 28% share in 2018. 

AGT signatories are obliged to share annually their usage of raw materials. Raw materials that are less harmful to the environment and animal welfare, in particular, are distinguished from conventional raw materials. These more sustainable raw materials meet the criteria of internationally recognised organisations such as Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) and Textile Exchange.

Cotton is the most commonly used raw material by the AGT companies and in 2019, signatories used about 50,000 metric tonnes, of which 55% is more sustainable. This is an increase of 13 percentage points compared to 2018.

The use of more sustainable animal-derived materials has also grown. This was at 21% in 2019, representing an increase of 17 percentage points on 2018.

"The trend is clearly positive," says Pierre Hupperts, independent chairman of the Agreement. "At the same time, we notice that a number of companies are still below average. We encourage these companies to make more use of more sustainable raw materials. We show them what the risks are, provide training and assess their progress on this topic specifically. The Agreement will continue driving the change towards a more sustainable supply chain."

Earlier this month, a new handbook was produced for the Dutch AGT by NGO Solidaridad to help clothing and textile companies to reduce the use of water, energy and harmful chemicals during the wet processing stage.