Ralph Lauren Corp. and Dow released a detailed manual for the textile industry today on how to dye cotton more sustainably and more effectively than ever before using Ecofast Pure Sustainable Textile Treatment.
With this manual, Ralph Lauren and Dow are open-sourcing this improved dyeing process to encourage adoption in the textile industry and helping standardize a more sustainable and efficient cotton dyeing system for positive environment impact.
The codeveloped, step-by-step manual details how to use Ecofast Pure, a cationic cotton treatment developed by Dow, with existing dyeing equipment. Ralph Lauren is the first brand to use Ecofast Pure. The manual is free, and Ecofast Pure is available for purchase from Dow.
Ralph Lauren began integrating Color on Demand into its supply chain earlier this year and launched product using Ecofast Pure as part of the company’s Team USA collection for the Olympic & Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. Designed to help address water scarcity and pollution caused by cotton dyeing, Color on Demand is a multiphased system with the goal to deliver over time the world’s first scalable zero wastewater cotton dyeing system.
By 2025, Ralph Lauren aims to use the Color on Demand platform to dye more than 80 percent of its solid cotton products.
In April, Lauren said it had partnered with Dow to optimize and implement the technology in its cotton dyeing operations as part of its new Color on Demand platform. They said at the time they were jointly developing a detailed manual and were open-sourcing the first phase of Color on Demand.
Speaking in April at the Bloomberg Green Summit, Patrice Louvet, chief executive officer of Lauren, said it was their hope and expectation to see broad adoption of Color on Demand, “So that altogether as an industry we can transform water stewardship, wherever we operate. And that this also serves as a catalyst for more innovation like this that positively impacts both our industry and the planet.”
The manual notes that textile dyeing is the second largest cause of water pollution in the world. “Dyeing also consumes five trillion liters of water each year, which is nearly enough to supply all humanity with drinking water. By reducing the water, chemicals, dye and energy required to color cotton textiles, we can help brands meet sustainability targets while also addressing climate change, water pollution and water scarcity,” according to the manual.
In fact, conventional fabric dyeing processes that require trillions of liters of water generate approximately 20 percent of the world’s wastewater. Pretreating fabric with Ecofast Pure helps reduce the amount of water, chemicals and energy needed to color cotton, by enabling up to 90 percent fewer process chemicals, 50 percent less water, 50 percent fewer dyes and 40 percent less energy without sacrificing color or quality.
“As fashion supply chains look to recover from impacts of the pandemic, there is a critical window to build more sustainable practices into production processes,” said Mary Draves, chief sustainability officer at Dow. “By collaborating today to scale a less resource-intensive dyeing process, we can help address pressing challenges like climate change and water resiliency, in the long term.”
Halide Alagoz, chief product and sustainability officer at Ralph Lauren, added: “If we want to protect our planet for the new generation, we have to create scalable solutions that have never been considered before. This requires deep and sometimes unexpected collaboration and a willingness to break down the barriers of exclusivity. We are proud to have partnered with Dow on this innovation and to share it openly with our industry, with the hope that it will help transform how we preserve and use water in our global supply chains.”
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