This week is Fashion Revolution, a time where the fashion industry comes together to question itself and improve its practices. The week-long event centers around the anniversary of the tragic Rana Plaza factory collapse on 24th April 2013, which killed 1,138 people and injured many more.
2021 marks 8 years since the tragedy, and this year Fashion Revolution Week will focus on the intersection and interconnection of human rights and the rights of nature.
Aquafil, the producer of ECONYL® regenerated yarn, is taking part to help the campaign amplify unheard voices across the fashion supply chain and harness the creativity of our own community to explore innovative and interconnected solutions.
This article explores how Aquafil contributes to the three main areas of this year’s campaign: Rights, Relationships, and Revolution.
Aquafil is committed to respect and increase human and environmental prosperity.
Every day, the Company employees contribute to making the Group an international point of reference.
On its path of sustainable development, the Group chose the SA 8000:2014 standard as a management model to enforce its commitment to protect workers’ and human rights. Aquafil S.p.A. was the first company of the Group to obtain the SA 8000 certification in 2019.
The Group carries out various initiatives to train young people and bring them closer to the workforce. Through the national Italian program “alternanza scuola-lavoro” which enables students to seek internships in companies, youths can intern in the Group offices and gain first-hand experience in the field of circular economy.
Aquafil is committed to respect the environment in every phase of its own production process. For this reason, it made interventions to reduce impacts and recover energy. Some examples are the installation of new heating systems with heat recovery, sharing excess thermal energy with structures close to the factories, and choosing energy from renewable sources.
Over the past four years, the Group has managed to significantly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, thanks to a series of forward-looking investments that are consistent with its sustainability plan. Further details on the Company Sustainability Report.
Aquafil also works with The Healthy Seas Foundation, co-founded in 2013, to raise awareness of the environmental problem posed by the huge quantities of plastic waste on the seabed.
The foundation aims to prevent plastics from ending up in the seas and rivers, by raising awareness and encouraging the public, operators, and authorities to play an active part in this process. They also work with volunteer divers to remove and recover ghost nets from the sea. The nets made of Nylon 6 are reprocessed by Aquafil and regenerated into new ECONYL® yarn.
In order to create circular supply chains, constant comparison and collaboration with the various actors along the value chain are essential. Aquafil establishes solid relationships with its customers and suppliers, based on the commitment and desire to improve together.
One of the most important roles played by the Group’s suppliers is represented by the ECONYL® Qualified project, which was launched at the end of 2015 to make the ECONYL® supply chain even more efficient.
In order to obtain the qualification, suppliers must meet the environmental requirements defined in the ECONYL® Qualified Protocol, mainly concerning the use of materials and energy resources and the management of the production process.
Over the years, Aquafil has invested in strengthening collaboration with its customers as key players in order to achieve significant results in sustainability. The Company worked to raise awareness of sustainability issues and the circular economy and engaged its customers in initiatives such as the take-back programmes to recover manufacturing waste and support for the creation of innovative products.
Thanks to the pioneering collaboration with Aquafil, Tarkett closes the circle in the production of carpet tiles in Europe. Click here for more information.
Furthermore, another collaboration with Napapijri brand has allowed to create a completely circular product. The Napapijiri’s Circular Series, made of single material, ECONYL® yarn and standard nylon, not only is designed to be completely recycled, thanks to a take-back program it can be, also, returned after two years of use and regenerated into new ECONYL® yarn.
Aquafil was among the first companies in Italy to adopt the “Life Cycle Thinking” approach for designing the entire supply chain of our products, using the life cycle analysis methodology (internationally known as Life Cycle Assessment – LCA).
With this method, it is possible to measure the environmental performance of the processes “from cradle to grave” or even “from cradle to cradle”, and to identify and improve the phases with major energy efficiency and environmental issues.
One of the main results achieved through this methodology is the development of ECONYL® regenerated nylon.
With the establishment of the ECONYL® Regeneration System, Aquafil has launched a challenge to the entire economic system, clearly demonstrating how high-quality products can be created from secondary raw materials, and becoming a market leader in such processes.
More specifically, the ECONYL® regeneration system allows the production of ECONYL® Nylon 6 from post- consumer waste, i.e. products that have reached the end of their life, and pre-consumer waste, deriving from fabric production waste or plastic scraps.
ECONYL® Regenerated nylon has significant environmental advantages, as it is possible to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions generated by the production of the raw material by as much as 90%, while regenerating vast amounts of waste material that would otherwise be sent to landfill or in some cases would end up polluting the environment.
In order to achieve even better results in terms of circularity and environmental sustainability, Aquafil has initiated collaborations with upstream and downstream players in its supply chain.
Going beyond the bounds of the traditional economic system, the circular economy pushes companies to seek closer ties with other companies, to forge industrial symbioses that are key in creating innovative products inspired by this philosophy.
This Fashion Revolution Week, Aquafil encourages everyone from brands to end-consumers to get involved and together achieve the goal of shifting the relationships between brands and suppliers, so that the rights of people and the rights of nature hold more of the power wherever decisions are being made.
“We are all part of the wider living world and our right to a healthy environment depends on the health of our planet, each of us can play its role” – Fashion Revolution.