The PFM Benchmark program follows a cyclic and systematic approach to supporting companies integrating preferred fibers and materials into their business strategy.
Program review and upgrades
Launch of new survey in May
Submission review and results preparation
Company feedback and sector report
Conference and peer learning program (tbc)
The PFM Benchmark is a great tool and has helped us develop insights and strategies into areas for improvement. It’s not about being first or last on the chart, it’s more about learning and moving forward as an industry in a positive manner.
– Manu Rastogi, Kathmandu
Nudie Jeans repair Shop, Soho, London. Photo: Nudie Jeans
Our framework follows a systematic approach to integrating PFMs into business strategy. It is divided into four key areas:
Corporate Strategy looks at how fiber and materials are integrated into the business, and the tools a company uses to guide more sustainable sourcing decisions. It also identifies who holds accountability and responsibility to deliver on fiber and material sustainability.
Supply Chain determines the organizational approach to safeguarding the integrity, responsible growth, and supply security of the company’s preferred fibers and materials. This section looks at use of sustainability standards, supply chain transparency, and investment.
The Consumption section quantifies the volumes of preferred fibers and materials used by the company and captures year-on-year trends in converting from conventional fibers and materials to preferred options.
Consumer Engagement takes a look at the range of products and markets that the company’s preferred fibers and materials are entering. It covers B2C factors such as labeling, communications, and return on investment.
Companies follow a self-assessment process intended to help identify the 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. Companies receive confidential feedback on their results and a position in the PFM Index, enabling them to to compare progress with the sector, and to transparently communicate performance and progress to stakeholders.
Facing the reality that resources are scarce and that the population is continuing to grow, ARMEDANGELS, as a sustainable fashion brand solely uses preferred materials. The tool does not only provide us with a material benchmark of the industry in general; but also supports us in our own research on materials that are ecologically optimized and socially and ethically advanced and serves as a further spur to continuously make progressive change.
– Levinia Muth, ARMEDANGELS
Waste Collectors, Haiti. Photo: Thread International
DEFINING A PREFERRED FIBER OR MATERIAL
Textile Exchange describes a preferred fiber or material as ecologically and/or socially* progressive which has been selected because it has more sustainable properties in comparison to other options.
Ways to recognize or achieve a preferred status include:
The fiber or material has a recognized industry standard in place that confirms its status as preferred.
The fiber or material has sustainability criteria developed through a formalized multistakeholder process.
The fiber or material has been objectively tested or verified as having sustainability attributes, such as through a peer reviewed Life Cycle Assessment (LCA).
Data available now is proving that some of the biggest sustainability impacts and “hotspots” of textile production occur in the growing and extracting of raw materials.
A portfolio approach involves building a suite of preferred fibers and materials, from a choice of preferred options, through the consideration of impacts and organizational priorities. It involves embedding a strategy that leads to preferred options replacing unsustainable or less sustainable options*.
A preferred fiber and materials strategy should be based on the principles of continuous improvement and result in a positive impact.
Benchmark Portfolio Options:
The benchmark program allows participants to build their own portfolio based on the PFMs their company is implementing. The survey currently offers modules on the following PFMs:
As part of H&M’s efforts of leading the change towards a sustainable textile industry, we see partnership and cooperation as key for success. The Textile Exchange Preferred Fiber Benchmark is a great example of driving industry wide and credible increase in the use of preferred fibers with traceability from raw material to final product. We use the benchmark and market report for industry insights and as support in driving traceability initiatives.
– Mattias Bodin, H&M
Maine Forester, USA. Photo: Sappi North America, Inc
HOW THE BENCHMARK ALIGNS WITH THE SDGs
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are universal (for both developed and developing countries), holistic (people-centered and planet-sensitive), and measurable. Many companies are adopting the framework of the SDGs to plan a long-term approach to sustainability. Data available now is proving that some of the biggest sustainability impacts and “hotspots” of textile production occur in the growing and extracting of raw materials.
The PFM Benchmark provides an important entry point to the SDGs. Company and industry-wide progress toward 2030 can be tracked through the PFM Benchmark. For the textile industry, SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production is the gateway to many of the other SDGs, such as sustainable agriculture/zero hunger, land use, and industry innovation. Through improved practices on the land and in the fiber mills there is huge potential to reduce water and energy use, improve water quality, and decrease CO2 emissions.
The PFM Benchmark Interacts with the Sustainable Development Goals
Why is the PFM Benchmark Important?
It Supports a Company’s Transition From Conventional to Preferred Fibers and Materials
★ Knowing where raw materials come from is key to assessing supply risks and opportunities.
★ Science-based data (e.g. LCA) is proving that some of the biggest sustainability impacts of textile production occur during the production and mining of raw materials.
It Demonstrates Commitment to Measuring Progress, Transparency & Disclosure
★ There is growing pressure from stakeholders to measure both management and progress, and for public disclosure.
★ The industry at large is seeking reliable means to credibly and consistently account for and communicate progress.
It Links the Textile Industry to the Sustainable Development Goals
★ The SDGs are universal (for both developed and developing countries), holistic (people-centered and planet-sensitive), and measurable.
★ Many companies are adopting the framework of the SDGs to plan a long-term approach to sustainability.
As a brand that is purpose-driven and committed to sustainability, we use the PFM annual surveys to benchmark our fiber use and practices against the industry, and gain insights into our internal operations and processes surrounding preferred materials. The PFM Benchmark Insights are an invaluable resource for understanding the global systems impacting these fibers.
– Katina Boutis, Loomstate
Responsible Down Farmer, China. Photo: Allied Feather & Down
Frequently Asked Questions
Textile companies, with the roots of their businesses in the fields, forests, and deep in the ground, have an important role to play in the transition to a more resilient and circular economy. Moving towards a preferred fiber and materials portfolio is part of that transition and is a significant way to improve impact. Innovators in the sector such as agro-ecological farmers, materials recyclers, and eco-designers are shining the light on the path ahead. Our challenge – and opportunity – is how to accelerate, replicate and bring this innovation to scale.
The PFM Benchmark offers a quantified index ranking and reveals a company’s position in relation to peers and the overall industry (universe of participants). It provides an indicator of progress, helps companies identify strengths and gaps, and encourages year-on-year improvement and a “race to the top.” Company participants see a lot of detail about their performance, and industry averages are reported for public consumption.
All participants receive customized and confidential Company Feedback Reports. Company Feedback Reports offer a useful tool for each participating company to share with important internal and external stakeholders, including the investment community.
Explicit links are made between the PFM Benchmark and the Sustainable Development Goals – in particular SDG 12: Sustainable consumption and production. Companies are starting to adopt the framework of the SDGs and TE’s PFM Benchmark is built on foundations that align with this work.
The PFM Benchmark is managed through a portal called “Probench” developed by our software partners, 73Bit Ltd.
This Program is kindly sponsored by: