Jan 2021 Textile and Fashion Industry EHS News; Regulating Groups of Chemicals

By January 5, 2021 No Comments

Textile chemicals market: Sustainability and eco-friendly initiatives drive developments

The global textile chemicals market is expected to reflect a moderate growth for the period of forecast between 2020 to 2030, supported by growing consumer awareness, according to FACT MR research.

According to the Fact MR study, the coronavirus outbreak is expected to negatively impact players participating in the textile chemicals market. Supply chain disruptions are a concern, and lockdown restrictions on production facilities are limiting growth opportunities.

Textile chemicals market- Key takeaways

  • Coating and sizing textile chemicals are leading contributors to revenue, aided by rising demand for flexibility and abrasion resistance in apparel and furnishings.
  • Chemicals for technical textile applications reflect high growth rate owing to wide scope of applications in packaging, automobile, construction, and healthcare sectors.
  • North America is a leading regional market for textile chemicals driven by the high production volume of technical textiles and fast-fashion apparel.

Textile chemicals market- driving factors

  • The global growth of disposable income levels and improvements in organized retail for apparel drives demand.
  • Government initiatives supporting research & development and production of textile materials in emerging economies have bolstered growth.

Textile chemicals market- major restraints

  • Fluctuation of prices for varying textile chemicals is holding back scalability and profitability in the industry.
  • Strict environmental regulations over air and water contamination has resulted in restrictions on production.

COVID-19 impact on textile chemicals market

The coronavirus pandemic has had a disruptive effect on the textile chemicals market. Lockdown restrictions imposed by governments around the world have hurt production facility operations and supply chains for raw materials.

Also, changes in consumer spending behavior towards essential commodities instead of apparel and furnishings have impacted sales. Potential for uses in technical textiles in the health care sector provide lucrative growth opportunities. Recovery is likely to be gradual owing to the largely non-essential nature of many textile applications.

Regulating groups of chemicals: a cost-effective option for chemical safety

There are currently more than 23,000 chemicals produced or imported at quantities of more than one ton per year just in Europe. We find them in the clothes we wear, the shampoos we use, and in many other daily activities, according to the OECD Environment Focus blog.

This number alone is indicative of the regulatory scope needed if this is dealt with by adopting a substance-by-substance approach in order to evaluate the safety of each chemical. Policy makers are now looking at grouping the substances as a potential solution to facilitate decision-making on chemical safety. But challenges persist.

Chemicals often represent an essential component in various economic sectors. We can appreciate their importance in the textile industry, whether it is in the form of pesticides to grow raw materials such as flax or in fabric dyeing for apparel. 

However, the benefits gained can come with significant risks. The health and environmental consequences of ineffective chemical safety regulations can be disastrous. For example, failures to regulate persistent organic pollutants (POPs) could make people exposed to the chemicals more likely to be diagnosed with cancer or to suffer from reduced cognitive functions. Some POPs made headlines in the 1960s when author Rachel Carson published a seminal book on the environmental impact of DDT, a chemical compound found in insecticides that were widely used in agriculture at the time.

While it is crucial for their safe use, the risk assessment of thousands of chemicals can be a costly and difficult process. The ground-breaking Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants was a first step towards easing the regulatory procedure by addressing all chemicals that share similar intrinsic properties (i.e. chemicals that are Persistent, Bio-accumulative and Toxic or PBT). The Convention thereby introduced a global ban on DDT for agricultural use several decades after Carson’s book was published as part of a first group of 12 substances and is regularly adding to its list of restricted substances. The PBT-criteria for identifying Persistent Organic Pollutants were also implemented in national and regional legislations, such as the EU REACH regulation or the US Toxic Substances Control Act.

The methodology of the EU’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) legislation puts the burden of proof on companies to guarantee the risk management of the chemical substances they use. If they fail to do so, the substance may be considered unsafe, which can lead to a ban. The EU has also defined the criteria for very persistent and very bio-accumulative (vPvB) substances. The EU has adopted this approach to regulate other groups of chemicals, which can be observed with the automatic ban of carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic (CMR) substances in consumer products.

However, the EU’s recently adopted chemical safety strategy, a key component of the EU Green Deal, seeks to expand chemicals grouping. The European Commission indicates a preference for increasing the scope of group standards by proposing groupings for other chemicals like persistent, mobile and toxic substances, while gradually moving away altogether from the substance-by-substance approach

The costs of a substance-by-substance approach can be prohibitive for many countries and the prevalence of “regrettable substitution” inexorably complicates the regulatory process. However, with the potential health and environmental consequences, the importance of chemical safety cannot be underestimated. Group approaches to facilitate risk management can be a vital tool to ensure chemical safety.

Adidas coaches its suppliers in the sustainability marathon

Adidas has a plan to reduce supplier emissions quickly, which relies on the philosophy that 20% of effort yields 80% of results, according to Supply Chain Dive.

Adidas has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from its own operations and energy sourcing (scopes 1 and 2) and its suppliers (scope 3) 30% by 2030 compared to a 2017 baseline, in accordance with the Fashion Pact and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

It’s also committed to growing the bottom line, and that means tackling supply chain emissions in an effective yet efficient way. That’s where the 80/20 rule comes in.

Tier 1 and tier 2 suppliers make up 50% of Adidas’ total emissions. And those suppliers often represent the closest relationships too, paving the way to operational change.

Most suppliers don’t have the information they need to start reducing emissions. So Adidas has stepped in.

Adidas measures its core suppliers’ emissions monthly and offers them a framework for reduction that zeroes in on four categories:

  • Energy efficiency.
  • On-site energy sourcing.
  • Offsite renewables sourcing.
  • Coal elimination.

Providing a framework for suppliers to work on their own emissions is becoming a hallmark of companies taking control of their scope 3 emissions reduction targets. In fact, McKinsey says a deeper level of supplier collaboration is essential to progress — especially in Adidas’ industry.

Just 18% of fashion industry emissions can be mitigated by brand-named companies addressing their own operations and energy purchasing, according to McKinsey. The rest stems from the supply chain.

Through the 80/20 approach, Adidas and its suppliers have realized not every emissions reduction tactic is right for every supplier. 

Energy transition is crucial to decarbonizing the fashion industry and could cut upstream emissions by 63%, according to McKinsey. And suppliers are finding it easier to make the switch as prices drop for on-site solar energy and off-site alternative energy, especially in Asia, Nilsson said.

EU still undecided over “essential” hazardous materials

Since 2013, the EU has had a ban in place on the testing of cosmetic products and cosmetic ingredients on animals under the Cosmetics Regulation EC No. 1223/2009​. However, under ECHA’s REACH Regulationon chemical safety, animal data could sometimes be required to prove the safety of ingredients relating to long-term worker exposure or environmental emissions, according to

This discrepancy had long caused concern among industry manufacturers and suppliers alike, but this year industry had joined forces with animal rights groups and other non-profits to step up and publicly challenge the regulatory framework, following two ECHA Board of Appeal rulings that called for animal data on two Symrise ingredients destined for sunscreen formulas. Several beauty majors signed an open letter​ last month stating ECHA was undermining the EU animal testing ban – a claim the agency refuted – and many industry leaders had since called on ECHA and other regulatory bodies to accept next-generation, non-animal methods that had fast evolved in recent years.

Christel Musset, ECHA’s director of Hazard Assessment, said: From a scientific perspective, ECHA staff follows and contributes to the development of such assessment methods. Examples of ECHA’s active contribution include validation of these methods in the context of the OECD test guidelines program, development of the QSAR Toolbox, or participation to international projects to assess how the new approach methods can be integrated in chemical management.

“However, we would also like to highlight that, to progress and ensure alternative methods can replace animal testing, coordinated effort at the level of policy makers is needed – from research to method development and validation. This is an area for the European Commission,”​ Musset said.

 “…ECHA does not make the laws – our role is to implement them. ECHA is responsible for implementing REACH while the European Commission deals with the Cosmetics Regulation. Since 2013, we have been in regular contact with the European Commission to clarify the interface between the REACH and Cosmetics regulations. We have thereby reached a common interpretation.”​

Leave a Reply

By using this site you accept the terms of our Privacy Policy and acknowledge that this site uses Cookies to track user data. I Accept