The apparel and footwear industries generate significant global pollution impacts. For example, making one pair of jeans produces as much greenhouse gases as driving a car more than 80 miles, making reducing CO2 emissions and scaling clean energy a priority for Aii. In fact, a large portion of that impact is a result of dyeing and finishing processes, which occur within textile mills.We are meeting the industry’s need to reduce such environmental impacts, including supporting the United Nations’ goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
Despite the fact that our planet is more than ⅔ water, water scarcity is a major global threat.
Billions of people around the world lack access to water, so it is crucial that we work with textile mills and other stakeholders in the industry to manage and measure their water impacts – specifically how water is used within the supply chain. Wet processing has some of the biggest impacts on freshwater withdrawal. Globally, water used in textile production adds up to nearly 25 trillion gallons and about 20% of industrial water pollution as the result of garment manufacturing.
The use of harmful chemicals at textile mills affects both environmental health and human
health, from the moments the chemicals are used in a mill until they are discharged into the
environment, causing pollution. For mills to improve their chemical usage, we support a shift to safer materials, green chemistry and effective wastewater treatment.
The selection of materials used in textile mills is critical, because it relates directly to CO2 and water impacts. In terms of production, each type of fabric that become a piece of apparel or footwear has embedded levels of energy, water and labor intensity. For instance, a polyester shirt has more than double the carbon footprint of a cotton shirt – so material impact is always taken into account in scaling improvements.
“There are clear efficiency and effectiveness benefits to both brands and manufacturers in aligning and coordinating mill improvement programs. Aii’s efforts to bring our programs together and to scale can make a very positive difference.”
LINDA GREER, PHDFOUNDER, CLEAN BY DESIGN
“We believe quality inputs are the foundation of sustainable manufacturing. As we’ve invested in improving the quality of our facilities, we’ve seen incredible growth in our brand partnerships. Aii’s MILL/impact program is a great opportunity for mills looking to improve their facilities, adopt best practices, and deepen their relationships with brand partners.”
J. SureshCEO, Arvind
“The future of our business requires a commitment to sustainability. By investing in a mill improvement program, we furthered that commitment and made drastic improvements to our facility that we could not have made on our own. The payback time on our investment was less than 18 months – and we believe it has had a significant positive impact on our relationship with our brand partners.”
TESTIMONIALMILL IMPROVEMENT ALUMNI
“The Apparel Impact Institute’s Mill/ Impact program is a pivotal step in the evolution of sustainable manufacturing. As the industry increasingly prioritizes sustainability impacts, brands and mills must partner together on action that drives lasting change. The AII Mill/ Impact program brings together leading brands, mills, and improvement experts, to collaboratively scale sustainability solutions.”
Amina RazviSAC Executive Director
“A greener supply chain is not just the right thing to do – it’s inevitable. Buyers care about the way their clothes are made. Sustainability practices are the rule, not the exception. And the international community has agreed a cleaner environment is all of our responsibility. It’s time to get on board with the future of apparel.”
LINDA GREERFOUNDER, CLEAN BY DESIGN
Our Current Programs
Aii leverages the legacy program methodology of Clean by Design (CbD) to identify, fund, scale and measure stepwise solutions for reducing the environmental impacts of textile manufacturing. By providing a collaborative, continuous improvement framework that builds upon CbD’s “Best Practice” methodology, we can support mills of any size, type or location to minimize their environmental footprint. We focus on scaling improvements across key areas of known impact in textile production: Energy, Water, Chemistry & Wastewater and Materials.
In partnership with leading industry experts we work to identify, recruit and support manufacturing facilities through a multi-year continuous improvement roadmap, broken into year-long increments.
Our work focuses on scaling initiatives designed to identify opportunities for wet processing mills to improve operational and environmental efﬁciency. Over the course of the year, mills receive training and expert support to implement resource and cost saving projects. Our project participants typically recoup their investments in these projects in less than 12 months.
Ready for scale
Apparel Impact Institute is currently focusing on aligning & scaling mill improvement, one of the most environmentally impactful segments of clothing production. The Mill/impact initiative is committed to reducing energy, chemical and water use.
We currently have mill improvement programs deployed in mainland China, Vietnam, India, and Taiwan. Our next growth areas are: Japan, Bangladesh, Turkey and Cambodia.
Achieved by top mills participating in improvement programs
The average amount our mill partners save each year
Payback time on initial mills investment
Typical of leading program participants
Clean By Design in Practice
What is CbD
Clean by Design (CbD) is an approach to green supply chain efficiency which brings together multinational apparel retailers and fashion brands to improve upon environmental impacts in their factories at home and abroad...Learn More
How the Program Works
Multinational apparel buyers, government authorities and industry trade associations encourage mills to join the CbD program. Then, all Mill/Impact programs that meet the CbD criteria, participating mills complete a performance scan which recognizes the facilities existing results while identifying…Learn More
The cornerstone of CbD is a set of 10 Best Practices that when implemented in any production facility can deliver almost immediate return on investment – most projects pay for themselves in less than one year. These foundational elements of resource management represent…Learn More
JOIN OUR NEXT COHORT
Mainland China, Taiwan region, India
Mainland China, Taiwan region, India, Vietnam
Mainland China, Vietnam
Taiwan region, India
Mainland China, TBD
*Geographic expansion expected in 2020; locations pending.