Textile Exchange’s Material Change programme has seen its membership grow by 10% in the last year, with the greatest participation growth from within the apparel and footwear sub-sector.
“The Material Change Index is the largest peer-to-peer comparison initiative in the textile industry,” says Claire Bergkamp, chief operating officer at Textile Exchange. “We see the MCI as an essential enabler for furthering industry accountability. Through benchmarking we want to help companies and suppliers focus their efforts and drive towards substantial change. There is no time to waste, we must move now in order to achieve the comprehensive systems change that will be required to keep us within the 1.5 degrees Celsius pathway.”
The Material Change Insights Report is said to provide one of the most data-backed and comprehensive analyses of how the industry is progressing in its shift to preferred materials, as well as alignment with global efforts like the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the transition to a circular economy. This year the report launches alongside Textile Exchange’s Material Change Index (MCI) that tracks individual company progress.
Highlights of the Index:
1. Participation up 10% – 191 participants compared to 173 the previous year, greatest participation growth was within the apparel/footwear sub-sector.
2. Index average score up 17% – The average MCI score was up 9.8 points this year (increasing by 17% from 63.24 last year to 72.53, while remaining at the Level 3 ‘Maturing’ performance band. Companies in the MCI Level 4 Leading band increased 125% from 16 in 2019 to 36 in 2020.
3. Circularity drives the increase – The Circularity average score moved the Circularity Index average up from a Level 2 to a Level 3 (up 16.01 points from 34.82 to 50.83). Circularity scores increased on average by 37% with the biggest growth among outdoor/sports brands. Nine companies achieved the Leading Level 4 ranking in Circularity: C&A, H&M Group, Knickey, MUD Jeans, Nudie Jeans, Outerknown, Patagonia, prAna, and The North Face.
4. Preferred materials now 44% of Index portfolio – Uptake of preferred materials was up 24%, (from 1.7m tonnes reported in 2019 to 2m tonnes reported in 2020) and preferred materials now account for 44% of the Index portfolio (previously, 39%). Preferred renewable cotton and recycled polyester accounted for most of this growth. Preferred cotton increased by 26% (1.3m to 1.6m tonnes/63% of cotton uptake) and recycled polyester by 30% (from 0.2m tonnes/17% of polyester uptake to 0.3m tonnes/18%).
5. Greenhouse gas savings show some improvement – The most evidence of greenhouse gas emission reduction is linked to the use of recycled polyester. Savings there were 0.7m tons CO2eq, a 16% saving over a fully conventional polyester equivalence.
Textile Exchange is launching its report, leaderboard, and dashboard together to provide a comprehensive, multi-pronged analysis of the state of the industry and allow users to explore and engage with the data in multiple ways.
The 2020 launch includes a new and interactive MCI Leaderboard. It shows how companies performed and where they are focusing their efforts.
The Dashboard models outcomes and impacts associated with preferred materials sourcing and is a key tool to track industry progress towards Textile Exchange’s climate goal of a 45% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade.