News & Views

Novozymes partnership to focus on sustainability in textiles

02/10/2012

By David Stevenson
Mon Feb 6 2012, 16:46 PM

Novozymes has entered into a joint project with the Danish Fashion Institute in a bid to make the textile and fashion industry more sustainable.

According to the biotech company, the textile industry is one of the largest polluting industries in the world, which requires huge amounts of energy, water and the use of toxic chemicals.

The two organisations will team up for the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, which will see the launch a collaboration between the United Nations and the Nordic Initiative Clean and Ethical (NICE) to develop the first fashion sector-specific sustainability initiative under the UN’s Global Compact.

Sebastian Søderberg, director at Novozymes, said: “We need to enter new partnerships and find new ways in the industry, but we also need politicians to set a framework in order to create a sustainable change in the textile industry.

“Chemicals, pollution and the use of large amounts of water are still quite cheap in many parts of the world. An idea as simple as political commitment on introducing an industry standard that retailers and brands will find useful could be an idea. Any kind of initiatives that will foster local legislation could also prove valuable,” he added.

In addition, the company conducted a life cycle assessment (LCA) on the annual production of T-shirts. It found that using enzymes can help save 70,000 litres of water and one ton of CO2 per ton of knitted fabric, which equals savings of 20–30 litres of water and a reduction of 0.3 kg of CO2 for each T-shirt produced.

Mr Søderberg said: “It's possible to rethink every aspect of the textile industry and make it more sustainable. Biotechnology gives us the tools to replace the harsh chemicals widely used in the industry. This means less pollution from textile mills. Biotechnology also enables the industry to significantly lower its energy and water consumption.”

Novozymes and the Danish Fashion Institute have worked together in the past when they teamed up for the "I do 30" campaign, followed by the 2009 Fashion Summit.

Company: 
Novozymes

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