Preferred Fiber & Materials Benchmark | 2017 Annual Insights report

EXCLUSIVE FOR TEXTILE EXCHANGE MEMBERS-ONLY: The Preferred Fiber & Materials Benchmark helps companies systematically measure, manage and integrate a preferred fiber and materials strategy into mainstream business operations. This report provides insight into the collective progress and impacts of our benchmarking companies in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs give us all a new language to express our sustainability aspirations, and you’ll see they feature prominently in this report. 2018 is the year in which responsible consumption and production under SDG 12 is being reviewed at the United Nations High Level Political Forum, and the timing of this report is an ideal opportunity to focus on this important theme. We’d like to congratulate all of the companies on their commitment to benchmarking progress and on joining in on our fiber challenges. We look forward to another successful cycle in 2018.

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key findings

★ Participants are improving their scores 

It’s encouraging to see participants’ scores improve, with many of our pioneers consolidating their improvements and moving along the performance barometer. In particular, we see companies moving up from the “getting started” level to “developing,” where we now have 53% more companies occupying this higher performance level. New arrivals mean that we’ve grown participation by 70% in just three years, strengthening the PFM Benchmark as the accepted industry mechanism to measure and compare efforts in fiber and materials sustainability.

★ The materials mix is as important as the individual fiber

This report covers a complex field, but as our understanding of PFMs builds, one significant insight is that the mix of materials a company chooses is just as important as its sustainability efforts in each individual fiber. Careful consideration of the range of materials in use can have as much impact as striving for the best result in just one. It’s a complex task, but one with high impact.

★ Public disclosure is the future

We are also seeing a move to increasing disclosure, which our Benchmark reflects. One example is the 2016 EU Directive on non-financial information, which adds impetus to our development planning. We would like to see the PFM Benchmark approach the status of a CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) for apparel and textile materials. In the financial market, we are seeing socially responsible investors (SRI) converging with traditional market investors, who are now accounting for sustainability issues as they would traditional risks and opportunities. Over 50% of our participants said they had started to address materiality in regards to fibers/materials, and 39% said they were assessing the risks associated with sourcing.

★ Companies are setting priority SDGs

With 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN for 2030, our companies are starting to focus on the ones where they can make the most difference. In order of priority, the top six selected were SDG 12, 13, 8, 6, 3 and 8.