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From The Editor

Textiles: Green And Sustainable

James M. Borneman, Editor In Chief

This issue of Textile World offers a classic example of how trends converge. Somehow, the concept of eco-friendly, green and sustainability became intertwined in almost every article in this issue. It wasn't really planned that way, but as TW editors reported on the happenings of the industry, almost every sector  has a going green story.

Green is also the subject of controversy. In "Going Green: Beyond Marketing Hype" TW Associate Editor Janet Bealer Rodie tackles the reality of green marketing, the potential for greenwashing - making misleading claims that could lead to problems with the Federal Trade Commission- and how challenging it is to recognize the degrees of green. It is apparent that what is green and what is greener will continue to be a topic of heated discussion.

Executive Editor Jürg Rupp's coverage of the 47th Dornbirn Man-Made Fiber Congress points out that the overarching focus was sustainability and searching out new opportunities with man-made fibers. The conference even broached the carbon footprint question posed by retailers regarding their finished products.

Rupp's reporting  continues with "Ecology and Economy In Textile Finishing," which features content based on  groundwork laid by Bill Fong, executive director, European operations, of Hong Kong-based Fong's Industries Co. Ltd. One of Rupp's sentences shows the extent to which many executives have embraced the sustainability challenge. As he writes, "Sustainability is no longer just a slogan for a clever marketing campaign, but a prerequisite for a long-term business and even survival." With the challenges of high commodity prices, erratic fuel prices and a need to move beyond commodity products, sustainable processes are becoming key to producers' success.

Recently, Cotton Incorporated produced a video titled "Textiles: The Sustainability Revolution."  What stands out is the degree to which environmentally friendlier chemicals and processes are available and being adopted by the global textile industry. The range in commentary is impressive. Nineteen leaders in chemistry, technology, and even brands and retailers give the sense that adopting green processes is more than a fad, it is good business. The video is available for  viewing at www.TextileWorld.com/video/cotton/.html  -  and as Dr. Claus Pedersen, director of sustainability, Novozymes, states, sustainability is about doing something good for the people affected by your activity, doing something good for the environment and making a profit at the same time.

There is little doubt that the current economic environment will challenge even the best textile companies in the world. Even so, it is activities like the greening of the industry that create opportunities across the supply chain including innovation in fiber, chemistry, applied science and technology - and generate opportunities with the consumer at a time when a differentiated product is essential.

November/December 2008