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Textile Exchange describes its decision to make its latest iteration of PFMM accessible to everyone as “milestone move”.

Textile Exchange explains the new open-source tool for the industry assesses the performance of different sustainability standards within material categories, across 80 qualitative and quantitative indicators.

The updated version of the toolkit includes human rights, chemical management, and initiative integrity content that assesses the performance of different sustainability standards within material categories.

Textile Exchange hopes open source preferred material toolkit will aid fashion brands

Textile Exchange climate+ impact director Beth Jensen says: “We are thrilled to release the initial updates to the Preferred Fibre and Materials Matrix tool, which we believe will be useful for both brands and standards systems to provide a holistic view of impacts beyond just LCA data.”

The toolkit aims to enable a more in-depth evaluation of various sustainability standards within material categories, catering to the increasing demand for environmentally responsible and ethical sourcing practices.

It facilitates standardised performance assessment for standards owners and assists brands in making informed decisions when sourcing materials.

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By GlobalData

The Textile Exchange PFMM toolkit is an interactive resource that evaluates standard systems across multiple impact categories, including climate, water, chemicals, land, resource use and waste, biodiversity, human rights, and animal welfare. Plus, initiative integrity measures, providing insights into the strength and governance of each standard system.

Six of the 80 indicators employed rely on quantitative data derived from life cycle assessments (LCA). The PFMM also integrates qualitative indicators, emphasising the importance of management systems and monitoring in achieving beneficial environmental outcomes, such as emissions management.

Textile Exchange’s new PFMM updates

  • Refreshed indicators for Human Rights and Initiative Integrity, which measures the robustness and governance of a given standard system.
  • Subject matter expert organisations were engaged to support the development of methodology updates, including Ergon Associates for the redevelopment of the Human Rights indicators; NewForesight for the redevelopment of the Initiative Integrity indicators; and ZDHC for the Chemicals indicators.
  • The user interface has been updated for improved usability, including separating paired standard systems (such as EU Organic Regulation and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)), enabling users to view the performance of each. This also allows users to better understand how standards can be paired, to gain greater coverage of environmental and social practices across supply chain tiers.
  • The overall performance score has been removed, encouraging users to focus on the scoring within impact areas.
  • The methodology incorporates both qualitative and quantitative indicators, providing a holistic understanding of environmental and social performance. Textile Exchange is working with its members to fund high-quality LCA studies to help fill critical quantitative data gaps.

Textile Exchange points out the European Union Commission estimates that over 80% of product-related environmental impacts are determined during the design phase, making material choices critical role in reducing environmental footprints.

Jenson explains: “The PFMM will continue to help the industry understand what constitutes a ‘preferred’ material, and we are looking forward to building the number of programmes that are included in the tool in order to maximise its utility.”

Textile Exchange wants the PFMM’s future development to centre on expanding the assessment of standards systems within the cotton material category. Looking ahead to 2024, the tool aims to encompass a broader range of initiatives, including branded fibres and other sustainability programmes.