The Textile Industry Leaps Forward with Clean By Design: Less Environmental Impact with Bigger Profits


With past success and reputation in hand, NRDC officially brought the Clean By Design program to scale in 2013 to promote 10 Best Practices and support local industry efficiency improvement and energy saving targets. Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), together with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group promoted Clean by Design program by working in-depth with international leading apparel brands and retailers including Target, Gap, Levi Strauss and H&M through 33 textile dyeing and printing mills in Shaoxing and the Guangzhou area, two of the world’s textile manufacturing hot spots with the highest concentration of mills

By adopting simple efficiency improvement measures in production processes recommended by the program’s Ten Best Practices, those mills have dramatically reduced the pollution generated, cutting up to 36 percent of water use and 22 percent of energy use per mill and a total of at least 400 tons of chemicals. The program also brought a total of $14.7 million annually economic saving with a payback time of only 14 months. The effectiveness and success of the joint-efforts demonstrated that NRDC’s Clean by Design program can be a global model for manufacturing sustainability. The new NRDC report, The Textile Industry Leaps forward with Clean by Design: Bigger Profits Through Less Environmental Impact, summarizes more than 200 improvement projects grounded in the program’s Ten Best Practices and undertaken in the 2013~2014 Clean by Design program.

 “Great fashion can also be green fashion. Although apparel manufacturing is among the largest polluting industries in the world, it doesn’t have to be,” said Linda Greer, Ph.D., NRDC senior scientist and director of Clean By Design. “There are enormous opportunities for the fashion industry to clean up its act while saving money, and Clean By Design offers low-cost, high-impact solutions to do just that.”