Reducing the environmental impact of garments consumed in The Netherlands

Final report: Reducing the environmental impact of garments consumed in The Netherlands
Utrecht, Solidaridad, december 2012

Solidaridad is one of the stakeholders who actively participate in the discussions with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment and Agentschap NL in relation to improving the environmental footprint selected waste streams, namely the working group on textiles and garments. Next to fiber production, the processing of textiles (dyeing, washing and finishing) contributes considerably to the environmental impact in the production of garments.
Considering the fact that the vast majority of garments consumed within The Netherlands are produced in developing countries, it can be concluded that Dutch garment consumption contributes directly to environmental impact in textile producing regions including China, Bangladesh, India and Vietnam. One of the key challenges identified by the working group lead by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment for the waste stream textiles is that companies active on the Dutch market are interested to work with their supply chains to implement environmental improvements, but that they are looking for guidance on how they can effectively do so.
By means of this project, Solidaridad would like to contribute to the development of such guidance for fashion companies operating on the Dutch market. To answer questions like, what are best practices and how can companies on the Dutch fashion market supported by other (Dutch) organizations (e.g. sector associations, development organizations, advisory organizations) jointly achieve environmental improvements in the production of the garments the put on the Dutch market?
This report summarizes the results of the pilot project in Bangladesh, highlights the scope and nature of improvements as well as provide an answer to the following two questions:
1. How can companies in the fashion / garment industry work with their supply chain to realize environmental improvements?
2. On the basis of the experiences of various ongoing projects, how can a scale be reached which really creates an impact?