Singapore-based Huntsman Textile Effects – a manufacturer of chemicals and dyes for textile
processing, and a division of Huntsman International LLC – and Palo Alto, Calif.-based Genencor
International – a manufacturer of enzyme product solutions for a variety of industries, and a
division of Denmark-based Danisco A/S – have released the results of a life cycle assessment (LCA)
performed on their enzyme-based Gentle Power Bleach™ system that was introduced a little more than
a year ago
Bleaching, March/April 2009).
The two companies hired Quantis International — an organization that provides businesses and
governments worldwide with tools, guidance and knowledge for achieving sustainability by mastering
their product life cycles and reducing their environmental impacts — to perform the LCA, which was
the first study of its kind to assess an enzymatic bleaching solution used in textile processing.
The results, validated in production at existing production facilities using known processes, have
undergone external expert peer review and have been certified ISO 14044 compliant.
“Although the cotton pretreatment processing parameters will differ across the globe, we
found a substantial advantage for Gentle Power Bleach among each of the many environmental impact
categories that we tracked,” said Jon Dettling, U.S. director, Quantis International. “For
instance, the LCA concludes that if the relative benefits of Gentle Power Bleach were applied to
the roughly 26 million tons of cotton produced globally [a 2007-08 statistic], the savings in
freshwater consumption globally could be in the range of 10 trillion liters of water annually,
which is more than 1,000 liters annually for each person on earth. This result depends strongly on
the available information regarding cotton irrigation, but nevertheless, illustrates the large
potential benefits of the technology.
“Significant reductions in global greenhouse emissions are another benefit of this process,”
Dettling added. “It is estimated that Gentle Power Bleach has the potential to reduce global
[carbon dioxide] emissions by 10 [million to] 30 million metric tons annually.”
“Both companies see this technology as a critical step towards a more sustainable textile
processing industry,” said Paul Hulme, president, Huntsman Textile Effects. “Our vision is much
aligned with the one from Genencor, and that is that we need alternative solutions today to tackle
the critical challenges that future generations will face if we don’t act now. The LCA proves that
we are heading in the right direction. But there’s more work to be done in the field of more
sustainable textile processing as both consumers and merchandisers are increasingly demanding more
responsible practices from the industry.”
June 29, 2010