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April 27, 2022updated 28 Apr 2022 9:01am

The Microfibre Consortium issues call to action to textile industry

The Microfibre Consortium (TMC) has issued a call to action to the textile industry to better control microfibres in wastewater during the production of apparel, ahead of the publication of its new guidelines. 

By Fi Forrest

TMC is a research-led sustainable textiles NGO, working to convene the global textiles sector through The Microfibre 2030 Commitment and Roadmap.

In support of the capture of unintentional fibre loss during manufacture, TMC is proposing a wide, cross industry adoption of the Preliminary Guidelines, ‘Control of Microfibres in Wastewater’ within the global supply base, so that an aligned and industry wide adoption of these best practices can achieve the greatest impact.

The document is the result of an extensive two-year development process led by TMC’s manufacturing task team and involved partners from across the industry, designed to help companies better control microfibres in wastewater during the production of apparel, it says.  

TMC says the document is the latest tool for manufacturers to use as part of meaningful, science-based, co-ordinated action on fibre fragmentation from natural and synthetic textiles and will be available to signatories of the Microfibre 2030 Commitment from 6 May.  

TMC has engaged with organisations throughout the global textile sector to develop these preliminary guidelines and is urging companies to get involved in the initiative and incorporate the guidelines into their manufacturing processes. As understanding improves, TMC says it will continue to work with the industry to revise and enhance the guidelines presented in the document. 

Dr Kelly Sheridan, head of research at The Microfibre Consortium, commented: “Getting involved […] has allowed me to combine my experience of writing and reviewing scientific publications with my forensic science background. This will ensure that the manufacturing guidelines are not only valid scientifically, but are also simply communicated from top to bottom, through policy makers to manufacturers, to provide an aligned action plan.” 

Following the publication of Control of Microfibres in Wastewater, TMC hopes that there will be wide, cross industry adoption of the preliminary guidelines. Support throughout the global supply chain will allow for an aligned and industry wide adoption of best practices that can achieve the greatest impact in a timely manner, it says. 

TMC says all businesses along the footwear and apparel value chain (i.e. brands, retailers and their supply chain partners) have a responsibility to adopt and adhere to aligned cross industry guidelines to minimise impact from fibre fragmentation and that equal priority should be placed on both synthetic and natural fibres which both shed during manufacturing.

Sophie Mather, executive director, TMC, adds: “To achieve substantive, long term change in the industry we need a critical mass of action across the supply chain. Control of Microfibres in Wastewater can be a key step towards securing that, but only if companies are prepared to commit to the manufacturing guidelines within the document. We’ve issued our positioning statement now to encourage organisations to follow our lead, get in touch, and help us to keep scaling up the work of the textile industry in addressing the issues of fibre fragmentation at key stages of the product lifecycle.” 

Last year, Eurofins Softlines & Leather joined the TMC as one of its first third-party laboratory members. 

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