Oeko-Tex presents the carbon impact calculator for clothing
Oeko-Tex has launched a new impact calculator for the apparel industry that allows companies to measure and report their carbon emissions and the impact of their water consumption at the facility level with the aim of achieving climate goals.
The Impact Calculator provides production facilities with an initial estimate and evaluation of the materials and process steps that contribute the most to their overall environmental impact. Participation is voluntary and is open to any textile production factory applying for or already holding STeP by Oeko-Tex certification.
The tool measures the carbon and water footprint of each process step, the overall process and one kilogram of material/product.
“Transparency is the decisive factor for measuring and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption in supply chains,” explains Secretary General Georg Dieners. “Providing concrete solutions to industry challenges is the guiding principle behind Oeko-Tex’s 30 years of commitment to businesses and consumers. Oeko-Tex continues to develop scientific solutions and digital systems for our customers to manage processes in terms of environmental and social impact. The integration of CO2 emissions and water consumption criteria is a logical step towards even greater transparency.
Specifically, the Impact Calculator will allow individual facilities to:
• Identify the most significant carbon and water impacts by materials used or produced, as well as by production process.
• Take action to improve operations and achieve reduction targets.
• Share carbon and water footprint data with customers, investors, business partners and other stakeholders.
In creating the calculator, Oeko-Tex identified over 100 key production activities, using industry standard methodologies for product and company life cycle assessment, to measure and quantify the consumption of carbon and water. If real-time data is available, facilities can enter their numbers directly into the tool. If data is not available, Oeko-Tex offers the best industry averages from credible industry experts and databases.
The new initiative is part of the STeP by Oeko-TexX Roadmap to Excellence program which provides a digital tool to calculate a carbon and water footprint for 1 kg of material.
How does the Impact Calculator for the Apparel Industry work?
Oeko-Tex and its partner Quantis used a Screening Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach to develop the tool.
Oeko-Tex explains that an LCA is a framework used to analyze the potential environmental impacts of products or services throughout their life cycle. It covers five stages: raw material extraction, manufacturing and processing, transportation, use and retail, and waste disposal.
Oeko-Tex believes that a screening LCA is simpler, faster and less expensive than a full LCA and provides sufficient initial and credible insight into where the greatest carbon emissions and environmental impacts are occurring. water in a facility throughout its treatment stages and for the types of fibers used.
The company explains that its tool methodology required a customized approach to calculate carbon emissions and water footprints that meet the specific needs and processes of apparel and textile production facilities.
The company also notes that there are different types of LCAs: product LCAs (assess the environmental impacts of a single product along its value chain), comparative LCAs and corporate LCAs (often defined as the corporate footprint assesses the overall footprint of an organization, including employee transportation and typically prioritizes only the carbon footprint and not the water footprint).
Oeko-Tex applied elements of Product LCA to measure impacts at the production level of materials, and Enterprise LCA to measure impacts at the overall facility level.
Oeko-Tex has integrated recognized international databases and recommended standards into its impact calculator:
- The Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol recommends the IPCC 2013 100a approach for calculating carbon emissions (Co2-eq).
- The European Commission recommends the AWARE methodology for measuring impacts on water (m3).
Once a facility has entered its data into the tool, the totals are split across production processes and multiplied by the relevant data from ecoinvent v.3.5 and the World Apparel and Footwear Database (WALDB). OEKO-TEX explains that the WALDB is internationally recognized and developed by Quantis in collaboration with many textile companies.
Oeko-Tex unveils new regulations for 2022
Oeko-Tex has also published its annual updates to the test criteria, limit values and requirements of its certification which will come into effect after the transition period on April 1, 2022.
The organization is hosting a webinar on its website with detailed information about its new regulations on January 18, 2022.
In mid-2022, the company is also expected to introduce a new certification for business due diligence called Responsible Business by Oeko-Tex. This is a new certification for brands and distributors committed to international agreements for human rights and environmental protection.
It aims to help companies fulfill their due diligence obligations within their own operations and global supply chains.