Preferred Fiber and Material Matrix

A framework for holistically assessing preferred materials in the textiles industry

Up to 80% of a garment’s environmental impact is determined at the product design stage, so sourcing decisions can be critical. Together with partners, Textile Exchange is proud to announce the Preferred Fiber and Material Matrix, an interactive resource for assessing the trade-offs of different sustainability certifications, initiatives and branded materials.

The Preferred Fiber and Material Matrix aims to help apparel, footwear and home goods companies make informed sourcing decisions by providing transparent data and consolidated, validated guidance on over 65 of the industry’s most commonly used materials. The Matrix employs a rigorous methodology and considers a wide range of impact criteria including soil health, biodiversity, and animal welfare. Building on Gap Inc.’s Preferred Fiber Toolkit, the framework leverages existing tools like the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Higg Materials Sustainability Index (MSI), Textile Exchange’s Animal Welfare Framework, and third-party assessment of certifications and initiatives.

Not merely a ranking, but a robust way to assess materials across broad impact areas, the Matrix combines quantitative and qualitative data that allows for detailed comparisons within each specific material category, prioritizing the relevant hot-spots for each material type.

Stakeholder Consultation Now Finished

We welcome collaboration from brands, organizations and industry bodies to help us finalize the Matrix, due to be publicly released in early 2021. We have just finished a Stakeholder Consultation to help us co-create this valuable tool. The consultation feedback will be published shortly.

Download the Guidelines here

View the Instructional video here

Download the Methodology here


  • A valuable textiles assessment tool, created for the industry, by the industry.
  • Over 65 programs and materials assessed.
  • Robust methodology considers nine indicator themes, including climate and GHG, water use, water pollution, chemicals and toxicity, biodiversity, soil health, land management, human rights, and animal welfare.
  • Transparency of assessment criteria provides nuanced context — not just a score
  • Ability to make comparisons within material types to inform sourcing decisions.
  • Created in partnership with Gap Inc., the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, and others to be announced.
  • A dramatic way to impact sustainability goals at the source.

With special thanks to:

Gap Inc. Logo

The Preferred Fiber Toolkit was originally developed by Gap Inc. to help inform their designers and product teams of the impacts of their fiber and material choices. While Textile Exchange was part of the early days of the work, we are grateful to be given the responsibility and ownership of the tool starting in 2020. We will continue to improve upon the foundational work of Gap Inc. to create a tool that combines quantitative and qualitative data from materials into a decision-making tool for the industry. This tool will drive the work of Textile Exchange to meet our Climate+ goals.

Textile Exchange would like to thank Gap Inc. for their generous gift of this tool to drive a deeper understanding of Preferred Fibers and Materials.

Zalando Logo
In addition, Textile Exchange would like to thank Zalando for their generous contribution to the update of the PFM Matrix.