Regenerative vs sustainable: How are standards for sustainable apparel and fashion evolving?
In the fight against climate change, sustaining the planet’s current state is no longer sufficient. The aim is to become ‘regenerative’ - the latest buzzword in the sustainability conversation.
Regenerative fashion is widely understood as garments manufactured from fibres produced through regenerative agriculture, or organic farming practices that reverse climate change by replenishing the plants and soil.
On 27 April, we were at the Innovation Forum Sustainable Apparel and Textiles Conference, which addressed how apparel brands can adapt practices to deliver on growing stakeholder expectations.
PEFC International Board member Eduardo Rojas Briales spoke on the ‘Regenerative vs sustainable: How are standards for sustainable apparel and fashion evolving?’ plenary session on 27 April.
Amidst a wave of regenerative commitments from brands, this session looked to understand how regenerative methods change the approach to sustainability.
Forests, PEFC and regenerative fashion
Eduardo highlighted the vital regenerative functions of forests and how sustainable forest management practices help to restore degraded soil biodiversity and enhance forest ecosystems.
He explained that wood and forest-based fibres as renewable raw materials are available at scale and how this can support fashion industry in their vision of sourcing garments from regenerative sources.
Thanks to new technologies, wood-based fibres can be used to produce recyclable, renewable and biodegradable textiles with a low environmental footprint. Those textiles store carbon and are softer and more breathable than cotton or silk.
The origin of these fibres is critical and must be proven. This is where PEFC and sustainable forest management comes in, protecting our forests and the people that depend on them, while providing us with the materials needed to create our clothes.
Provided they are sourced sustainably, viscose, acetate, lyocell and other forest fibres help to preserve and enhance forests’ ability to capture carbon, and therefore have a huge potential to make the fashion industry more sustainable.
Find out more in our white paper: