Sustainability and Circular Economy
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Low-carbon roadmap for the Finnish textile industry
The textile and clothing industry is estimated to produce about one tenth of global carbon dioxide emissions. Although the Finnish domestic textile industry is relatively small and low on emissions, the carbon footprint of Finnish textiles is significantly bigger if emissions along the value chain throughout the lifecycle are considered. The textile industry’s roadmap examines the current carbon footprint, the needed measures to reach carbon neutrality by 2035 and solutions that could reduce industry emissions globally.
Current and target state
The Finnish textile industry’s own operations had a carbon footprint of 0.06 Mt CO2 in 2018. The roadmap points out that presumably a significant share of the emissions is produced before the Finnish company operations or afterwards by the customer and end-user. The use of fossil fuels for heat, steam production and manufacturing processes generate almost half of the emissions (48%). The rest are from purchased electricity (27%), steam (16%) and heat (9%). Despite the reachable carbon neutrality goal, it may not be cost-effective or technically possible to completely avoid all emissions generated by the textile industry – unless every operator becomes a completely self-sufficient producer of renewable energy.
Finnish textile industry can become carbon neutral itself, and it also has solutions to offer to the global climate challenges of the world’s textile industry.
The decarbonization of energy industry alone decreases industry emissions significantly. Other key solutions for reaching carbon neutrality include replacing natural gas with biogas and switching from fuel oil to biomass. In heat production, changing to geothermal heat or district heating, however, would call for investments into new technology and equipment. The roadmap estimates that 41% of the emission reductions are a result of the decarbonisation of the energy sector and 48% are made possible by the industry’s own measures.
Needs and requirements
For the realization of emission reduction measures, the availability and competitiveness of zero emission energy is crucial. To accelerate low-carbon investment, an investment aid is welcomed by the industry.
Future and positive impacts
The roadmap describes opportunities and suggestions for measures that the Finnish textile industry can employ to increase their carbon handprint globally. In practice, the first step to push the transformation is the building of a “Future-proof loop” pilot and an ecosystem around the pilot. Within these, different actors of the industry could demonstrate and verify the sustainability and responsibility as well as the business potential of their novel solutions.
The roadmap also communicates ambitious industry targets for strengthening the handprint impact via global exports. The domestic production of recycled and cellulose-based textile fibres and the exporting of production technology are examples of how the Finnish textile industry can generate a positive handprint. New fibres and their production technologies are being developed in Finland by several companies. The new fibre technologies being developed in Finland have the advantage of carbon neutral raw materials: wood is a stable raw material that is easy to process, but other cellulose-based and recycled raw materials are also compatible with the process.
Did you know that...?
• The Finnish textile and fashion industry covers approximately 2% of Finland’s GDP.
• The Finnish textile industry’s carbon footprint amounts to 0.1% of Finland’s total emissions.