If we as an industry are to operate responsibly, we need to keep abreast of the sustainability aspects of what we do. This doesn’t by any means suggest that we should shut down the presses and dryers, send everyone home, lock the doors, and go tree hugging. It just means that we need to be aware and, wherever possible, help to make a difference.
According to Ecouterre, a study out of Denmark by the IC Group (Tiger and Peak Performance brands) and endorsed by the head of the Danish Ministry of the Environment has used a process of “natural capital accounting” to show that the cost to the environment of producing a single cotton Tee is $3.40 (U.S.). It takes into account such things as the impact of fertilizer, water use, and carbon dioxide emissions.
The corporate responsibility manager of the IC Group is quoted as admitting what a lot of people have been telling the textile industry for some years now: “We in the clothing industry are well aware that we have some hefty environmental challenges.”
Collectively the textile screen-printing industry has a role to play in meeting the obvious environmental challenges too. For one thing, we can be mindful of the inks and chemicals we use and how we dispose of them.
We should also stay in touch with developments on the textile sustainability front not only in case it presents business opportunities but also to avoid being left behind as our competitors adapt.
An environmental impact of $3.40 per Tee! To put it in perspective, in a small country like Denmark with a population of under 6 million, the environmental impact of cotton Tees is $510 million every year.