The ZDHC Foundation, which is working to reduce the textile and clothing industry's chemical footprint, has expanded the scope of its work to cover fibre production, with an initial focus on viscose and modal.

The move, introduced to account for the environmental impact of fibres, sees the latest set of ZDHC Guidelines give brands and manufacturing facilities producing man-made cellulosic fibres (MMCF) an "aligned approach" for emissions control as well as the recovery of sulphur compounds, part of the inputs, as well as by-products generated during the production process.

"This document gives fibre manufacturers essential guidance and helps to make tangible progress by providing targets to move forward and tackle emissions in a meaningful way," says Phil Townsend of M&S. "The guidelines support ZDHC's holistic approach to transforming the entire value chain."

Fibres are key components of production processes, and the guidelines give suppliers producing MMCF unified criteria for measuring output indicators like wastewater, sludge, air emissions and other process-related parameters.

"The release of the ZDHC MMCF Guidelines is an important milestone for the Roadmap to Zero Programme," says Scott Echols, Roadmap to Zero programme director. "It represents ZDHC's first guidelines focused on fibre manufacturing, addressing air emissions and for the first time, resource recovery in production. The ZDHC MMCF Guidelines are the result of a collaborative effort by our contributors."

By providing an aligned approach, the MMCF Guidelines advocate for the improvement of processes to minimise emissions and work towards the recovery of input substances and by-products, ZDHC says. This directly addresses the negative impact of outputs arising from MMCF production. The intention with the MMCF Guidelines is to continuously improve and adapt to technical developments and science-based evidence as part of their ongoing evolution.

ZDHC says it will further support brands, producers and other stakeholders to implement the Guidelines and to highlight the steps towards safer production practices. This will be done through a ZDHC MMCF Industry Implementation Guidelines, due for release shortly, outlining recommended actions.

Also publicly available shortly, the Implementation Guidelines, alongside a series of webinars, will provide additional implementation support and a template for communicating the adoption of the guidelines.