An important element of the value chain
Fibres are an important part of the value chain. Therefore it’s a logical next step for ZDHC Roadmap to Zero Programme to include fibre production processes and their raw materials. In 2018, the scope of the Programme extended to include the production of Man-Made Cellulosic Fibres (MMCF). This is the first fibre production area included in the Programme. More materials will be added in the future.
Global viscose production is growing fast, which is why the initial focus is on Man-Made Cellulosic Fibres (MMCF; including viscose, modal and lyocell). MMCFs are produced from natural feedstock like wood or plants, using hazardous chemicals. Within the production process of viscose and modal, particularly where that’s not an integrated (closed loop) process, chemicals react with the cellulose. This creates by-products, which can be released into the air, water and soil, so we’ve been working to tackle the issue.
An 2018 industry expert report commissioned by ZDHC concluded that restricting chemicals via the ZDHC MRSL approach would not work. The restrictions would halt most MMCF production processes. We would achieve most impact by collaboratively setting guidance around good chemical management and limits for wastewater, sludge, and air emissions during fibre production. At the same time ZDHC can continue researching MMCF production processes using less hazardous chemicals.
In March 2018, ZDHC hosted the first multi-stakeholder MMCF roundtable with representatives from approximately 80% of the global MMCF production. Several ZDHC Signatory Brands attended, including C&A, Coop Switzerland, Esprit, Inditex, H&M, M&S, Primark, PVH Corp and F&F, as well as Value Chain Affiliates Lenzing Group, BIRLA CELLULOSE, Sateri, Canopy, Textile Exchange, Bluesign and the China Chemical Fibers Association (CCFA), the Collaboration for Sustainable Development of Viscose (CV) and the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles.
The roundtable agreed that ZDHC should lead a collaboration to develop a framework of guidelines for wastewater, sludge, waste and air emissions specific to MMCF production, and expectations for process by-product recovery rates. The guidelines will, for now, focus on MMCF production. Dissolving pulp production processes will be considered at a later stage.