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UK’s eco efforts make a world of difference

The UK fashion and textile industry has been working hard to reduce its impact on the environment for many years, and can be rightly proud of its success in this area.

Leading companies have been aware of the economic benefits of controlling energy costs for years. However, with the imposition of the Climate Change Levy in 2001, the whole industry started to see the possible benefits to both the environment and the bottom line.

An industry energy-saving scheme, organised and run from 5 Portland Place, home of the UK Fashion and Textile Association (UKFT), and actioned by many other fashion and textile organisations, has resulted in a saving of more than 350,000 tonnes of carbon over the past eight years.

Benchmarking, free surveys and seminars, together with innovative solutions run and promoted by 5 Portland Place, have all helped
the industry achieve this impressive result. The scheme has also saved the industry more than £30 million since 2001.

The fashion and textile industry has also been very active in trying to monitor and restrict the use of harmful chemicals. Voluntary reduction schemes, advice from the UKFT, and an increasing legislative programme ensures that emissions to the air and water from UK textile factories are among the lowest in Europe. UKFT works very closely with both government regulators and the industry to ensure we continue to improve on this.

In business generally, consumer support for firms that are doing more than just paying lip service to “saving the planet” is becoming a factor in sourcing decisions, both of product and materials. This could augur well for UK textiles and manufacturing, as sourcing closer to home could become fashionable again.

  • Peter Lucas is chairman of the UK Fashion and Textile Association

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