After the launch in 2017 of a “Sustainable Cotton Challenge,” Textile Exchange is now launching the “Recycled Polyester Challenge,” working in cooperation with the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action. The 85 brands and suppliers involved aim to increase the proportion of recycled polyester fibers used in their products from 14 percent to 45 percent by 2025, which would correspond to around 17.1 million tons. By 2030, the share should be 90 percent.
This project continues Textile Exchange’s Recycled Polyester Commitment, developed in 2017. The companies participating in the new “challenge” include Adidas, Athleta, H&M, Helly Hansen, Inditex, Lululemon, prAna, Sympatex and VF Corporation, among others. Companies that commit to the initiative are expected to send an annual report on their polyester consumption to Textile Exchange, which will eventually be evaluated anonymously.
Polyester accounts for 52 percent of the total fiber volume produced worldwide. In numbers, that is 57 million tons, of which 32 million tons are used by the fashion industry. Currently, only 14 percent of the volume is recycled fiber, mostly from PET bottles.
Textile Exchange also calculated in 2019 that only 22 percent of the cotton used around the world was sustainable based on its criteria. The “Sustainable Cotton Challenge” calls for the ratio to increase to more than 50 percent by 2025. The 82 companies that have subscribed to it have pledged to source 100 percent of their cotton from the most sustainable sources by then, eliminating or reducing the use of water, pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. In addition to Adidas and prAna, the subscribers include Asos, Burton, Nike and Timberland, among others, based on the list posted on Textile Exchange’s website.
Adidas has said that nine out of ten products in its range will be made with recycled, recyclable or natural materials by 2025.