How can companies judge progress in their sustainability efforts – both year-on-year and in comparison with their peers? The Corporate Fiber & Materials Benchmark (CFMB) provides a robust structure to help companies systematically measure, manage and integrate a preferred fiber and materials strategy into mainstream business operations, to compare progress, and to transparently communicate performance and progress to stakeholders.

Textile Exchange is proud to be a member of

Ways to Engage

Full
Benchmark

All benchmark questions & uptake volumes. Report card includes benchmark scores, rankings, and a gap analysis.

Modular
Approach

Alternative, focused approach for companies wishing to report on selected fibers or progress towards uptake targets.

rPET
Commitment

Brands commit to increase use of rPET by at least 25% by 2020.
Find out more.
 

Sustainable Cotton Challenge

Brands commit to sustainably sourcing 100% of their cotton by 2025. Find out more.
 

 
 
 
 

Getting Started

To get started on your benchmarking journey, we recommend you take 15 minutes to watch the recorded introduction to the program below, and then use the tools and resources on the right to guide you through the process. Please note that the 2019 program is now open for submissions until August 2 (extended from July 19), 2019. Further information on the program cycle and the benchmark framework can be found further down this page.

2019 Support Materials
Getting Started (pdf)
Survey Guide (pdf)
Technical Guide (pdf)
Fiber Uptake Calculation Guide (pdf)
Fiber Conversion Methodology (pdf)
SDG Companion Guide (pdf)
Frequently Asked Questions (web)
2019 Webinars and Recordings
15 Minute Guide to the CFMB (recording)
Mastering the CFMB (recording)
Webinar: Results of the 2019 program review (recording and ppt)
Previous Reports
2018 – SDG Insights Report (pdf)
2018 – Snapshot of Participants (pdf)
2018 – PFMB Insights Report (pdf)
2018 – PFMB Sector & Sub-Sector Feedback Report (pdf)
2017 – PFMB Insights Report and Key Insights (pdf)
2016 – PFMB Sector Report (pdf)
2015 – PFMB Pilot Report (pdf)

Access CFMB Portal
CFMB Getting Started Guide

The CFMB 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

Benchmark Framework

Our framework follows a systematic approach to integrating preferred fibers and materials into business strategy. It is divided into three key areas:

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 a confidential report card of their results and a position in the Benchmark, enabling them to to compare progress with the sector, and to transparently communicate performance and progress to stakeholders.

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 CFMB provides an important entry point to the SDGs. Company and industry-wide progress toward 2030 can be tracked through the CFMB. 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 CFMB Interacts with the Sustainable Development Goals

SDG Insights report

This briefing analyses the first two years of responses to SDG question set now included in the CFMB. Early findings suggest growth in SDG alignment, at least among the frontrunners. Access here.

SDG companion guide

This guide is intended as an initial step towards further supporting the textile industry on alignment with the SDGs. Access here.

Program Cycle

The Corporate Fiber & Materials Benchmark follows a cyclic and systematic approach to supporting companies integrating preferred fibers and materials into their business strategy.

  • Connector.

    Development

    October-April

    Program review and upgrades

  • Connector.

    Participation

    May-July

    Launch of new survey in May

  • Connector.

    Analysis

    July-August

    Submission review and results preparation

  • Connector.

    Reporting

    September

    Company feedback and sector report

  • Connector.

    Bench learning

    October-November

    Conference and peer learning program (tbc)

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.

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

Why is the CFMB 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 CFMB annual survey to benchmark our fiber use and practices against the industry, and gain insights into our internal operations and processes surrounding preferred materials. The CFMB 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


Please refer to our CFMB Getting Started Guide for a more comprehensive directory of Frequently Asked Questions.

Textile companies, with the roots of their businesses in the fields, forests, and deep underground, have an important role to play in the transition to a more resilient, regenerative and circular economy. Millions of people – fiber farmers, foresters, waste collectors, polymer engineers 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 opportunity’s textile companies can contribute to securing a sustainable future.

One of Textile Exchange’s key organizational objectives is to accelerate the uptake of preferred fiber and materials. This objective is built on the urgency to respond to key risks for the textile industry and the huge potential to make improvements in areas such as water, land, air – and the lives of people everywhere. These risks and opportunities are most likely to occur during the production of raw materials. By creating a benchmark program for companies, Textile Exchange not only measures and reports company and industry progress but provides strategic direction for the companies that participate. Through program engagement alone, companies embark on a “bench learning” journey, with the support of Textile Exchange staff and fellow participants. The contributing to and receiving of knowledge creates a virtuous circle of learning and improving. View a 3-minute video of stakeholders and experts explaining Textile Exchange’s benchmark.

Benchmarks work for five core reasons: First, they clarify what society expects from industries and companies. Second, benchmarks identify where and how companies can contribute to sustainability. Third, they promote a race to the top. Fourth, they help track progress. Fifth, benchmarks are a proven and effective engagement tool. For further details visit the World Benchmarking Alliance here.

The Corporate Fiber and Materials Benchmark (CFMB) Program is THE place to measure, track and compare a company’s sustainability progress related to fibers and materials.

The CFMB provides a robust structure to help companies systematically measure, manage and integrate a preferred fiber and materials strategy into mainstream business operations, to compare progress, and to transparently communicate performance and progress to stakeholders. The CFMB offers a quantified index ranking including 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. Participants receive a comprehensive report card comparing their own progress year-on-year and how they rank alongside their peers. Customized report cards are confidential to the participant, and an annual insights report, including benchmark leaderboards, is shared in the public domain. Staring in 2019, the CFMB integrates an enhanced alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well.

The CFMB is more than a benchmark and performance ranking. Companies benefit from taking part in multiple ways. Benchmarking gives you:

  • A roadmap to help your company build a robust fiber and materials strategy.
  • A framework for reporting fiber uptake targets, consumption data and progress.
  • A focal point for sector alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • A digital report card for ease of communicating results to team members, the board, and external stakeholders.
  • Performance tracking with peers and participation in a learning community.
  • The opportunity to demonstrate leadership through public rankings.

All brands and retailers of textile products are eligible to participate in the Corporate Fiber & Materials Benchmark (CFMB). In fact, the more companies taking part, the more meaningful the results for all involved. Due to popular demand, Textile Exchange is considering the applicability of the CFMB for suppliers and manufacturers of textile products and will be embarking on expanding scope of participation later this year.

There is no fee to participate. Further, the priority is to grow participation rates by making the CFMB accessible for all. However, as the program continues to grow, Textile Exchange is looking for partners to ensure the long-term sustainability of the program and the resources required to deliver a high-quality benchmarking product. We have also introduced a voluntary participation fee, and an “advanced” report card (see more about company report cards in Q15 below).

Due to the generous financial support of the C&A Foundation and Tchibo (the German multi-sector company), costs associated with the early developments of the program and the technology platform were covered. The strategic work leading up to the release of the 2019 survey has been kindly supported by Tchibo, C&A Global, and Stella McCartney.

All participants receive customized and confidential company report cards. Company reports offer a useful tool for each participating company to share with important internal and external stakeholders, including the investment community.

This year we have significantly changed the company feedback reporting. In response to popular demand, and improvements in the technology, report cards are moving to digital. This means they will be more graphic, and less text based, allowing for interactive displays of data driven information. We have also introduced two levels of report card: standard (free of charge) and advanced (for a fee of $3k). Textile Exchange Partner level members receive a complimentary advanced report card, supporter members a significant discount ($2k). Small and Medium Enterprises (SME/friend-level membership) can receive an advanced report card for an even greater discount ($1k).

The survey framework provides a holistic approach to fiber and materials reporting. Companies submitting a full survey response are eligible for the CFMB Leaderboard. Companies reporting on specific fiber and materials or sections of the survey (e.g. circularity) are still eligible for “Best in Class” Leaderboards. An important change is that Best in Class Leaderboards replace the volume-based Leaderboards of the past, and require companies to provide management as well as uptake data. A driver for the change in the Leaderboard came from the Textile Exchange Board who made a decision last year that going forward, the Leaderboards should not only focus on how much of a specific preferred fiber is being used, but how well it is being managed.

Circularity will play an ever increasing and critical role in reducing the industry’s dependence on natural resources. In addition, textile waste will increasingly serve as a feedstock to displace some of the virgin materials it currently relies upon. Addressing textile waste and its “re-invention” as a valuable resource has become a critical part of a fiber and materials strategy.

The 17 Global Goals (SDGs) are an overarching set of goals that can connect the textile industry to the world’s most important agenda. The SDGs cover environmental, social and economic themes that will be critical to the health and prosperity of people and planet – and the long-term viability of business. The CFMB helps companies make this connection.


The CFMB is managed through a portal called “Probench” developed by our software partners, 73Bit Ltd.

This Program is kindly sponsored by:

   

Quick Links

About organic cotton

Organic cotton is cotton that is produced and certified to organic agricultural standards.

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PFM ROUND TABLES

Preferred Fiber & Material Round Tables

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2018 Market reports

The 2018 Preferred Fiber & Materials Market Report and the Organic Cotton Market Report are now available.

Read more

Benchmark

The Corporate Fiber & Materials Benchmark helps companies measure, manage and integrate a preferred fiber and material strategy.

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SUSTAINABILITY ASSESSMENT

A framework for assessing the environmental, social & economic impacts of organic cotton agriculture.

Learn more

Glossary

A selection of some of the key terms and abbreviations used in the industry.

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