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PFM report shows 61% companies set targets to uptake more sustainable raw materials

Non-profit organization Textile Exchange (TE) released the ‘Preferred Fiber and Materials (PFM) Report 2016’ on 28 March, which shows 61% of participating companies have set ambitious targets for uptake of more sustainable raw materials to be a more sustainable source of cotton, three quarters having a specific target for organic.

The report has mentioned that 71 bold and ambitious companies, ranging from adidas to Woolworths, stepped up to the mark and put themselves forward for the 2016 PFM Benchmark, linking their efforts to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

PFM barometer of progress (source: Textile Exchange PFM Benchmark Report 2016)
Figure 1: PFM barometer of progress (source: Textile Exchange PFM Benchmark Report 2016)

Over the last 15 years, the number of apparel and textile brands adopting preferred fiber and materials has increased significantly. The sectors they represent and the fiber types they use have diversified. This PFM Benchmark Sector Report comes at a critical juncture for the textile industry. In 2015, TE launched the PFM Benchmark Program for measuring how a company systematically integrates a preferred fiber and materials strategy into mainstream business operations. In 2016, the organization released the first fully weighted and scored PFM Index that reveals a company’s position in relation to peers and the overall universe of participants. By creating a benchmark program for companies, TE not only measures and reports company and sector progress, but provides strategic direction for the companies that participate, according to a media release of TE.

TE recommends a “portfolio approach,” building a suite of preferred fiber and materials from a choice of preferred options, through the consideration of impacts and product range priorities. The goal is that PFMs are produced to a globally accepted standard, with strict criteria that qualifies the product as preferred, and can be traced through the supply chain.

 “Millions of people – cotton farmers, foresters, and other textile feedstock providers – form the base of the textile supply network and are impacted by the decisions brands and retailers make every day. Influencing improvement in fiber and material production is one of the greatest opportunities textile brands and retailers can contribute to securing a sustainable future,” said Liesl Truscott, Materials Strategy Director for TE.

“Preferred” is another way of saying “more sustainable.” TE defines a “preferred” fiber or material (PFM) as one that is ecologically and socially progressive and has been selected because it has more sustainable properties in comparison to conventional options.

“The mix of fibers in your product range can be just as important as the sustainability profile of each fiber. It’s great to have a forward-thinking cotton program, but if most of your range is synthetic you should be concentrating on recycled choices. Our benchmarking will point companies towards that,” Liesl Truscott added.

 TE works closely with all sectors of the textile supply chain to find the best ways to minimize and even reverse the negative impacts on water, soil, air, animals, and the human population created by this $1.7 trillion USD industry. TE accomplishes this by providing the knowledge and tools the industry needs to make significant improvements in three core areas: Fiber and Materials, Integrity and Standards, and Supply Chain.

All brands and retailers of textile products are eligible to participate in TE’s PFM Benchmark Program. In 2016, of 71 participated companies, 65% were apparel or multi-sector brands and retailers, 20% were outdoor/sports, and 15% were home textiles. Here companies follow a self-assessment process intended to help identify their strengths and the gaps where future progress can be made. By comparing section scores with those achieved by the whole sector, companies can plan improvement efforts and prioritize action areas. The PFM Benchmark provides a robust structure to help companies systematically measure, manage and integrate a preferred fiber and materials strategy, to compare progress with the sector, and to transparently communicate performance and progress to stakeholders. The program is open to all brands and retailers of textile products.

  • April: Stakeholder Consultation – your chance to provide feedback and input on the program to help us tailor it to your needs
  • Early May: Launch of the 2017 PFM Benchmark Survey (covering 2016)
  • Mid June: Close of the 2017 PFM Benchmark Survey

If you would like to take part in the 2017 program, visit the link http://pfm.textileexchange.org/signin/?ReturnUrl=%2fportal%2f  or contact Support@TextileExchange.org . In addition, to know more details of PFM Benchmark Program visit http://textileexchange.org/preferred-fiber-materials-benchmark/.

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