Jakarta. As the potential impact of climate change becomes increasingly apparent globally, the fashion industry may be able to help the world reduce its carbon footprint through the use of sustainably-produced materials.
Wood and forest-based fibers, which are renewable raw materials, can help the fashion industry realize the goal to increasingly source fiber supplies from regenerative sources, according to a spokesperson from the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).
“Thanks to new technologies, wood-based fibers can be used to produce recyclable, renewable and biodegradable textiles, with a low environmental footprint. These types of textiles store carbon and are softer and more breathable than cotton or silk,” PEFC said.
According to the PEFC, forest fibers are low-carbon materials and can pave the way for sustainable fashion. Viscose, acetate, lyocell and other forest fibers make up 6.2 percent of global textile production.
“Provided they are sourced from sustainably managed plantations, the use of wood-based materials helps to preserve and enhance a forest landscape’s ability to capture carbon, while also making these areas more resilient to the effects of climate change,” the PEFC said.
The global fashion industry has a sizable impact on climate change. According to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the fashion industry makes up 10 percent of global carbon emissions. It is also responsible for 20 percent of global wastewater.
A report by the circular think-tank Ellen McArthur Foundation found that the emergence of ‘fast fashion’ has contributed to a two fold increase in clothing production over the period 2000-2015. In 2015, the number of items produced in the industry reached over 100 billion units. The think-tank estimates more than half of fast fashion products are disposed of in less than a year.
To this end, PEFC promotes sustainable forest management by providing certifications. Such certification helps fashion brands and retailers identify sustainably sourced fibers to produce their clothing.
Understanding the importance of sustainable and responsible fashion, Indonesia-based Asia Pacific Rayon (APR) is committed to the responsible sourcing of raw materials. The textile fiber producer’s main supplier is Riau-based pulp and paper producer, APRIL Group which has certification from the PEFC.
Since 2010, APRIL Group’s production facilities have been certified under the PEFC Chain of Custody (CoC) standards, ensuring that all raw materials coming into the mill are from non-controversial sources.
APR is Indonesia’s largest integrated viscose rayon facility with an annual production capacity of up to 240,000 tons. In February 2020, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo inaugurated the facility, providing a boost for the country’s textile sector and the government’s industrial 4.0 development strategy.
The APR facility is in the same production complex as PT Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper – APRIL Group’ operating arm. This enables an integrated operation where APRIL’s renewable plantation pulp supply feeds directly to APR for viscose rayon production.
APR is the only Southeast Asian textile company to sign up to the UN Fashion Charter for Climate Action. The industry-wide commitment comprises a target of 30 percent of greenhouse gas reductions by 30 percent as well as a net-zero emission by 2050.
APR has also recently upped their sustainability game by establishing the Jakarta Fashion Hub (JFH) — a collaborative space to unlock the potential of the domestic fashion, textile, and creative industries. At the hub, APR’s sustainable viscose rayon is readily available for support the creativity of designers and fashion enthusiasts.
“As sustainable fashion becomes increasingly important for consumers and producers, viscose can become an alternative for textile material production, which will help to realize the Government’s goal of making Indonesia one of the world's textile and fashion powers," APR director Basrie Kamba said.