Editor's View July 2017

Eco’s Road To Mainstream

Eco-entrepreneur and educator, Marci Zaroff, shares insights into the state of organic textiles today in “Industry Views” on the right. She is also a fountain of knowledge when it comes to concrete ways in which the eco-friendly movement overall is strengthening in the world of textiles.
“There is now a big push for building a circular economy in the fashion and textile industries,” Zaroff reveals. “As the earth’s largest polluter second to coal, fashion and textiles also represent 10 percent of the world’s carbon impact. Many brands and retailers have now joined the effort to reduce textile waste, while building demand and closing the loop on cotton, recycling and other textiles.”

Zaroff cites these big-picture developments:
• The Cradle to Cradle Innovation Institute has launched the Fashion Positive initiative (fashionpositive.org). It is a collaborative model intended to drive the use of Cradle to Cradle Certified materials in the apparel industry.
• The October 2017 Textile Exchange Conference taking place outside Washington, D. C. has as its focus “United By Action: Catalyzing The Sustainable Development Goals In Textiles.”

“Businesses are recognizing their role and responsibility in being a part of the solution for a healthier and better world, and are taking a stand to pave the way via chemical reduction policies, sustainable and organic cotton strategies, recycling and connecting source to story for today’s more conscious consumers,” says Zaroff.

Although pricing challenges remain when it comes to making affordable eco-friendly and organic home goods options more accessible to consumers, the public’s interest is poised to rise.

“Like food in the farm-to-table movement, consumers are now also asking about the source of their fibers—who is growing/making them and how are they being made. A deeper desire to understand what is in and on our products is top-of-mind for many consumers, and with the Internet, the game has changed.

“Nielsen and Consumer Report studies have revealed that 83 percent of American consumers are now buying organic food, at least occasionally. So, with an increased awareness about GMOs and pesticides, and as consumers are understanding the interconnection of food and fiber (in fact 60 percent of a cotton plant goes back into the food stream), they are connecting the dots of lifestyle and seeking more organic choices over conventional.”

As an Organic Trade Association board member and chairman of its Organic Fiber Council, Zaroff is leading efforts to integrate organic and sustainable fiber textile strategies among farmers, factories, brands and retailers.

“Having launched MetaWear—the nation’s first GOTS-certified turnkey production facility—I am also working to use athis ‘factory of the future’ as a springboard to reignite organic cotton farming in America, while driving domestic sustainable apparel and home manufacturing efforts,” she explains.

Look for Zaroff’s first book, ECOrenaissance: Co-Creating A Stylish, Sexy & Sustainable World, on bookshelves in 2018.