The ZDHC Foundation oversees the implementation of the ZDHC Roadmap to Zero Programme, a collaboration of major fashion brands, value chain affiliates and associations. Together, we drive the global implementation of safer chemical management practices. Our Mission is to enable the textile, apparel and footwear industries to implement sustainable chemical management best practice across the value chain through collaborative engagement, standard-setting, and implementation.
Q: What are the highlights from your work over the past year?
Back in 2018, we began to look into the chemical management aspect, during the MMCF fibre production. Given the importance of fibre production in terms of environmental impact and circularity of the industry, the Roadmap to Zero Programme expanded its content scope to include fibre and raw material production. We have been working in a collaborative approach to develop a clear framework of guidelines for wastewater, sludge, waste and air emissions for MMCF production and for process by-product recovery rates. For now, the focus is on the production of MMCF (dissolving pulp production process will be considered at a later stage). Follow our progress here.
Q: How is your project / initiative contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals?
Our Vision is the widespread implementation of sustainable chemistry, driving innovations and best practices in textile, apparel and footwear industries to protect consumers, workers and the environment. This vision is directly related to several of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in particular, the Goals related to Health, Water, Sustainable Consumption, and Climate Change. We feel that we can best impact these goals by the collaborative setting of guidance around good chemical management and limits for wastewater, sludge, and air emissions and expectations for process by-product recovery rates, during fibre production while calling for continued further research into processes for MMCF production using less hazardous chemicals.
Q: What inspires and excites you to produce/use/work with this particular fiber/material?
The willingness of representatives from manufacturing, brands, government, and non-government organisations to all sit together to discuss how we can collaborate has been exciting and is the best way to move forward.
On the technical front, it’s exciting to see the landscape of MMCF expanding to innovations featuring the use of recycled materials and by-products of non-textile industries.
Personally, what inspires me the most, it’s to have the possibility of having a positive impact on this growing sector of the industry (MMCF). Especially when it comes to working to develop tools intended to facilitate the transition to a more sustainable way of production.
Q: What are the biggest challenges you face in your work?
One of the biggest challenges for us so far has been to establish standards in order to secure the quality of the data we collect from our tools. In the case of MMCF, the challenge was to work on the understanding of the different laboratory testing possibilities around the globe and its comparability when it comes to the results for different parameters. We consider this to be one of the keys to obtaining quality and comparable data.
Q: Does your project / initiative have any specific goals or targets for the next year?
Looking at 2020 exciting times are ahead for us. When it comes to the ZDHC work on MMCF, we expect to release our set of guidelines to address the discharge of hazardous chemicals in wastewater, air, and sludge and of course also the resource recovery expectation that begins to address the circular aspect of the production with our ‘best practices’ guidelines.
Q: What are the top three priority SDGs being addressed by your project / initiative?
The top are Health, Water, Sustainable Consumption, and Climate Change.