The textile industry has been encouraged by several organisations such as Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs (IPE), Greenpeace, Nature Resources Defence Council (NRDC) and Changing Markets to address their factories’ chemical use and hazardous waste, as well as air and water emissions that affect environmental quality and human health.

The impacts of pollution from viscose processing are important to consider parallel to the impacts related to raw material sourcing on ecosystems, water, biodiversity, climate and communities.

In the past year, The Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) has expanded its scope to include viscose and raw material production in its Roadmap to Zero Programme. ZDHC is developing a framework of guidelines for wastewater, sludge, waste and air emissions specific to viscose production, with pilots underway throughout 2019. More recently, Canopy and ZDHC have announced a formal collaboration to provide the clothing sector with the expertise and integrated tools needed to reduce both the sourcing and production impacts of viscose production.

Canopy looks forward to the key findings of ZDHC guideline implementation and to exploring the future linking of ZDHC resources with ranking tools such as the Hot Button Ranking.

As investments are being made in viscose facilities to address chemical use in processing, forward-thinking producers are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to simultaneously invest in scaling up the commercial production of textiles made from innovative lower impact feed stocks, such as recycled fabrics, microbial fibres and agricultural residues.