Three more members have joined The Microfibre Consortium

Three more members have joined The Microfibre Consortium

The Microfibre Consortium, which is seeking to develop practical solutions to minimise microfibre release into the environment from the textile industry, has been joined by three new members as it continues to scale up its three-year agenda.

The American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC), Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE), and Textile Exchange have signed up as research and affiliate members, boosting the consortium's growing international scope to support greater global alignment and collaboration.

Following the formation and management of The Outdoor Microfibre Consortium by the European Outdoor Group in 2017, The Microfibre Consortium (TMC) was founded as a stand-alone organisation in November 2018. The move reflected the increasing importance of the topic and growing membership of the consortium, which now incorporates a diverse range of outdoor, fashion, sport and home textiles, brands, retailers and suppliers.

TMC facilitates the development of practical solutions for the textile industry to minimise microfibre release to the environment from textile manufacturing and product life cycle. The consortium seeks to connect and translate academic research and align it with the reality of commercial supply chain production, to offer solutions to its brand, retail and supplier members and ultimately for the greater good of ecosystems.

Its three-year work agenda include the development of a test method; supporting brands and retailers as they develop products that release less fibre during consumer laundry; and helping textile suppliers to understand the key areas of loss within production and how to develop best practice procedures to manage it.

The American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) is joining TMC as a research member to continue the drive for global alignment, validation and longer term evolvement of a standardised methodology for achieving the shared aims.

Research Institutes of Sweden's (RISE) microfibre work (for instance MinShed) already complements TMC workstreams and the organisation will also be a research member, enabling deeper strategic collaboration and expediting of research. Most immediate work will focus on the development of textile understanding on fibres and fabrics, providing brands and retailers with the product development support required to design products with better managed microfibre loss.

Formalising an existing relationship with TMC, Textile Exchange is joining as an affiliate member, ensuring topic dissemination across its own large network and helping to leverage complementary work.

"Anyone who has been involved in standard development knows that these things take time, but the progress of the cross industry agreement in the first 18 months continues to impress me," says Dr Jane Turnbull of the European Outdoor Group. "This is in no small part due to the passion and dedication of the institutions that have come together to work on this project.

"We feel that the opportunities presented by attracting new research and affiliate memberships are huge as the industry looks to scale up an aligned understanding on the topic that can lead to real-world solutions for businesses."

TMC's governance and advisory board was appointed in January 2019. It is chaired by TMC's Sophie Mather and includes representatives from Adidas, the European Outdoor Group (which previously formed and managed The Outdoor Microfibre Consortium), WL Gore & Associates, Marks & Spencer, Primark, and the University of Leeds.

Eliminating microfibre pollution from consumer washing of synthetic materials was one of the goals set in the recently agreed Fashion Pact, which has been signed by 32 major fashion players representing 150 garment brands – including Adidas, H&M, Inditex, Nike and Gap Inc.