Sustainability communication in the textile sector, as key to the implementation of SDG 12
The aim of the project is to create a demand for healthy and sustainable textile products in Germany and globally by achieving the conscious behavior of consumers and strengthen cooperation and information sharing between manufacturers, retailers, and consumers. Generally the project promotes environmentally safe textile products, as well as the right of citizens to know about product sustainability in Germany and worldwide. It also contributes to the implementation of the National Sustainable Consumption Programme and the implementation of SDG 12. It makes important contributions to measures taken by the Federal Government, such as the Alliance for Sustainable Textiles, the Green Button, and the Blue Angel.
The project has the following objectives:
- Strengthening and expanding system for communicating product sustainability information to consumers;
- Raising consumers’ awareness about existing criteria for international labeling systems for textile products and sustainability-related textile product information;
· Raising consumers’ awareness of the environment and health impact of textile products and new environmentally and health-friendly innovations.
The project is focused on the development of an online clearing-house mechanism on textile, which is a platform for sharing information, good practices, expert opinion, scientific information, and knowledge about textile products. The portal provides clear, reliable, and useful information for consumers, decision-makers, manufacturers, retailers, waste managers, and other stakeholders interested to know more about textile products. It describes different types of textile fiber available on the market and provides information about sustainability labels and their meanings, for example, Blue Angel, to encourage companies to apply for these labels. It also highlights the importance of knowing the content of new materials in textile as consumers largely stay unaware of what it means. A special section on the platform is dedicated to voices from the ground: best-practice exchange from vendors, workers, and consumers. Stories from real people make the platform attractive for the general public as well as for decision-makers and the textile industry who have a chance to hear grassroots concerns and adjust the work accordingly. A special part of the clearing-house mechanism is dedicated to women's voices from the ground, information from women workers in the textile industry, and women as consumers. Cases of gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and abuse have been detected in all countries where clothes are produced. Women of childbearing age are at particular risk of developing breast cancer after menopause due to their exposure to man-made fibers, as well as miscarriages or birth defects linked to long hours of work, shifts requiring standing instead of sitting, or exposure to toxic chemicals. Suppliers to big chains fail to ensure safe working conditions for factory employees putting workers' health at risk. These and other issues faced by women workers in the textile sector are highlighted via the clearing-house mechanism which helps project beneficiaries better understand the problem and address it in their respective countries.
Our project affects German society and globally:
· It changes public demand for textile products, resulting in higher demand for sustainable, environmentally safe products, beneficial for human health and nature protection.
· It results in a new understanding of the impact of textile products, including products made of new materials, on nature conservation, including the use of natural resources such as water and energy. This became the starting point for a new project on textile product sustainability focusing on products made of new materials or recycled textiles.
· Out project aims to bring information to project beneficiaries, which include consumers, manufacturers, retailers, decision-makers, and the general public. This means that all beneficiaries well understand the data we generate and share. They also try to spread the news to their constituencies beyond the funding period of this project.