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Environmental Textile Glossary

The terms in this Glossary define the global "Green" movement. From the cotton fields to the laboratories, to the retail sales floor, this Glossary is a window into the complexities with which to view the environmental footprints we leave and the social responsibilities these footprints represent. Developed by the California Fashion Association, an organization of manufacturers, contractors, suppliers, educational institutions, and other allied associations that provide a collective voice promoting the "Created in California" image; the continued growth of California’s Textile & Apparel Industry; and providing a competitive advantage for its members.

Click on a letter to jump to your alpha choice.

A
Ag Tech - Any type of agriculture technology, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, drones, and robotics, used to automate or increase the efficiency, sustainability, and profitability of farming processes.
  Agronomic data - Reveals the soil conditions, biodiversity, average yield, water resources, plant populations, and other details about a concentrated area and its surroundings. This data is used to track compliance with environmental regulations, predict pests and crop diseases, and guide spraying decisions.
  Agronomy - The science and technology of crop production. It has expanded to include research conducted around soil science, plant genetics and physiology, and meteorology.
  Alternative Energy Source - Any energy source, such as wind or solar, other than fossil fuels such as oil and gas.
  Anthropogenic Emissions - Greenhouse gases emitted as a result of burning fossil fuels, fertilization, industrial processes, deforestation, and other activities.
  Asbestos - A mineral with long, thin fibrous crystals. It is a toxic substance known to cause serious illnesses, including malignant mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. Because it is soft, pliant and able to withstand heat, it can be woven into fabrics to improve flame-retardant and insulating properties. While its use is banned in many countries, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency still allows many consumer products to contain trace amounts of asbestos.
 
B
Bamboo Fabric - A natural textile made from the pulp of bamboo grass, it is considered sustainable, because the bamboo plant grows quickly and does not require the use of herbicides and pesticides to thrive. However, bamboo fiber is produced through the cellulosic process. Bamboo fabric retains many of the same qualities it has as a plant, including excellent wicking ability that pulls moisture away from the skin. It also retains antibacterial qualities, reducing bacteria that often thrives on clothing, which causes unpleasant odors.
  Bast fiber - A natural fiber collected from the inner bark surrounding the stem of certain dicotyledonic plants. Most bast fibers are obtained from herbs cultivated in agriculture, including flax, Jute, hemp and ramie, but can include wild plants as well. Fibers typically have higher tensil strength than others kinds and are therefore used for textiles like ropes, yarn, paper, composite materials and burlap. While labor intensive, its production is considered more eco-friendly than the production of artificial fibers which are petroleum based.
  Bio-based Polymers or Biopolymers - Bio-based Polymers (Biopolymers) are natural polymers produced by the cells of living organisms. Like other polymers, biopolymers consist of monomeric units that are covalently bonded in chains to form larger molecules. These polymers are used in the production of man-made/synthetic textile fibers and plastics.
  Bio-PP - This polymer is the bio-based counterpart of polypropylene (PP).
  Biobased Materials - A bio-based material are materials intentionally made from substances derived from living organisms. These materials are sometimes referred to as biomaterials, but this word also has another meaning. Strictly the definition could include many common materials such as wood and leather, but it typically refers to modern materials that have undergone more extensive processing. Unprocessed materials may be called biotic material. Bio-based materials or biomaterials fall under the broader category of bioproducts or bio-based products which includes materials, chemicals and energy derived from renewable biological resources.
  Biodegradable - The ability of a material to break down through interaction with bacteria and fungi. It’s important to recognize that not all materials break down at the same speed or in the same way.
  Biological Agriculture Systems in Cotton (BASIC) - A program developed by the Sustainable Cotton Project to help cotton growers in California develop a working knowledge of chemical reduction techniques that can be successfully and economically applied. BASIC offers strategies to save the grower money by reducing the need for insecticides, miticides, chemical fertilizers and water.
  Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship - A membership-based research organization founded in 1985. They are involved in helping businesses leverage their social, economic, and human assets to ensure success and sustainable poliicies. Most recently, they collaborated with the Reputation Institute in ranking the U.S.'s top 50 companies.
  Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP) - A project launched in November 2008 by the sustainability organization, Ceres. BICEP offers an arena for business involvement to advance climate and energy policies created to counter the far-reaching risks and challenges posed by global climate change. BICEP members firmly believe that a vibrant economy requires the certainty derived from effective and meaningful climate change regulation, and ensures public investment in renewable technologies and environmentally sustainable jobs. BICEP members incldue Nike, Levi Strauss & Co., Timberland, Sun Microsystems, and Starbucks.
 
C
Cap and Trade - A system through which a central body sets a cap on the amount of pollutants that can be emitted. Abiding companies or nations therefore have allowances (credits) representing the right to emit a certain amount up to the predetermined cap. If a company exceeds their allowance, they must purchase credits from companies emitting less; this is referred to as a trade. See also "Emissions Trading".
  Carbon Capture & Storage - The process of capturing and storing carbon emissions so they do not enter the atmosphere and contribute to climate change. Carbon capture involves taking emissions from industrial processes (ex: manufacturing steel), transporting pollutants from where they were produced, and storing them underground. Carbon capture is one method companies can use to reduce their carbon footprint.
  Carbon Credit - A carbon credit is a tradeable certificate or permit that enables the holder to emit a certain amount of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases. One carbon credit currently permits the emission of one ton of carbon dioxide or its greenhouse gas equivalent. Supporters of the carbon credit system maintain that it leads to measurable emissions, and eventual reductions of greenhouse gases from certified projects. Once purchased the credit is retired and cannot be used again. Each has a serial number and can be tracked through publicly available emission registries.
  Carbon Dioxide (CO2) - Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a colorless greenhouse gas that comes from the extraction and burning of fossil fuels, such as oil, coal, and natural gas, and from natural events such as volcanic eruptions. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere heats up the planet, triggering climate change. According to NASA, human activities have pushed the atmosphere's carbon dioxide content up by 50% in less than 200 years.
  Carbon Emmissions Trading - It is a method by which countries can meet their obligations under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce carbon emissions and reduce global warming; specifically for the emission of carbon dioxide, which currently makes up the bulk of emissions trading.
  Carbon Footprint - A measure of the impact that human activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of greenhouse gasses produced directly or indirectly, measured in units of carbon dioxide.
  Carbon Intensity - Carbon Intensity refers to the volume of carbon emissions per unit of gross domestic product (GDP). Decreasing carbon intensity means that energy use is more efficient.
  Carbon neutral - A product or process that does not add more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, over its life cycle.
  Carbon Neutrality - Carbon neutrality refers to the mitigation of greenhouse gases. This can be achieved by balancing new emissions with gas removal, such as through carbon offsetting, or by eliminating emissions altogether.
  Carbon Offsetting - Carbon offsetting refers to purchasing carbon credits and retiring them to compensate for greenhouse gas emissions. There are a large number of offset projects across the world that individuals and companies can invest in by purchasing carbon credits. These include maintaining solar and hydro projects to decrease reliance on fossil fuels, reforestation to industrial gas destruction.
  Carbon Tax - A carbon tax is a tax levied in the burning of fossil fuels, primarily coal, oil, gasoline, and natural gas. Carbon taxes are designed to reduce the usage of fossil fuels. It is in essence a Pigouvian tax as it is a tax that is placed on activities that create a negative impact.
  Carbon Trade - The buying and selling of carbon credits.
  Catechu - An extract of any of several species of Acacia (a type of shrubs and trees) produced by boiling the wood in water and evaporating the resulting brew. It occurs in a deep brown to black color. See also Natural dyes.
  Cellulose - A common material of plant cell walls that naturally occurs in cotton fiber, and found in all plant material, including wood, leaves, and stalks. It is a major constituent of paper and cardboard and of textiles made from cotton, linen, other plant fibers. Acetate, lyocell and rayon are also considered cellulosic fibers because their components a made from part natural cellulose and part chemical products.
  Ceres - A national network of investors, environmental organizations and other public interest groups that works with companies and investors to address sustainability challenges such as global climate change. Its mission is to integrate sustainability into capital market for the health of the planet and its people.
  Circular Economy - The circular economy is a framework of production and consumption where everything has a value, and nothing is wasted. Its circularity is designed to transform a throw-away economy into one that eliminates waste. This is done by circulating resources and giving them as much longevity as possible by reusing and recycling as well as adopting low- carbon efficiencies.
  Circularity - Circularity is a product created with its own end-of-life taken into account. In a circular economy, once the user is finished with the product, it goes back into the supply chain instead of the landfill. The motto for the circularity movement is "Waste Not, Want Not".
  Clean Development Mechanism - A flexible mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol that allows industrialized nations with a greenhouse gas reduction commitment to invest in projects to reduce emissions in developing countries as an alternative to more expensive emission reductions in their own countries.
  Clean Tech - Also referred to as green tech, clean technology, and services improve efficiency and productivity without harming the environment. Unlike climate tech, clean tech companies aren’t required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  Cleaner Cotton™ - A name given to "California-grown Cleaner Cotton", which uses up to 73 percent fewer chemicals than conventional cotton, and directly benefits the local environment.
  Cleaner Cotton™ Campaign - Part of the Sustainable Cotton Project, this campaign helps manufacturers develop strategies to incorporate Cleaner Cotton™ and organic cotton fibers into existing products.
  Climate Change - Climate change is a long-term change in global or regional climate and temperature patterns. Historically, climate change has occurred naturally via solar radiation and shifting ocean currents. At present, however, it is most influenced by greenhouse gas-emitting human activities and the disruption of natural carbon sinks. The term is often used interchangeably with “global warming,” though global warming refers to the steady and consistent change in global temperatures.
  Climate Disclosures - Climate disclosures are a pivotal step in reaching net zero carbon emissions. By meeting investor and public demands for disclosure, it is hoped that transparency will make organizations greener. The US released a proposed ruling in March 2022 to make it mandatory for all publicly listed companies to make disclosures. The rule amendments would require domestic and foreign registrants to include certain climate-related data in their registration statements and reports. These include climate-related risks and their actual or impacts on the registrant’s business, strategy, and roadmap, information about climate-related targets and certain climate- related financial metrics.
  Climate Neutral Now - The Climate Neutral Now initiative was launched by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) to grow climate action by encouraging and supporting organizations and individuals to work together voluntarily to achieve a climate neutral planet by 2050, as outlined in the Paris Agreement.
  Climate Tech - Technology and services, like carbon capture and solar power, that are aimed directly at reducing greenhouse gas emissions to stop global warming.
  Closed Loop or Closed System - Closed Loop refers to a zero-waste system where all material in a supply chain is reused, recycled, or composted. This approach is designed to stop excessive waste from entering landfills, conserve natural resources, and increase environmental efficiencies. The idea is that recycled items require less labor and energy. In an ideal world, products would be in a continuous circle of closed loop recycling.
  Clothing Miles - The distance that clothing and its various components travel from the field, to the factory, to the consumers’ wardrobe. As most clothing and components are manufactured overseas, transportation over such large distances produces considerable carbon emissions.
  CO2 - See "CO2" definition under "Carbon Dioxide".
  Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES) - CERES is a not-for-profit sustainability advocacy organization founded in the US in 1989. Over the years, CERES has built up a network of investors, companies, and nonprofits to provide data-driven resources on sustainability, risks, and opportunities. to be endorsed by CERES organizations must commit to a ten-point code of conduct known as the CERES principles. These are a set of guide rails to assist them with their sustainability behaviors. In addition, members must measure their performance against the principles annually and produce a publicly available environmental report.
  Cochineal - This refers to both the insect of the same name and the crimson (red) dye derived from it. The insects are harvested for dye in a number of ways, each producing a different color.
  Coconut Fiber - Fiber created from patented technologies where recycled coconut shells are heated at high temperatures to activate carbon, that is then infused into fibers like cotton, polyester or nylon. The fiber has been known to provide evaporative cooling, odor resistance and UV protection; all while using environmentally friendly technologies.
  Coir Fiber - A coarse fiber extracted from the fibrous outer shell of a coconut. Brown coir is harvested from fully ripened coconuts. It is thick, strong and has high abrasion resistance; it is typically used in floor mats and doormats, brushes, mattresses, floor tiles and sacking. White coir fibers are harvested from the coconuts before they are ripe. These fibers are white or light brown in color and are smoother and finer, but also weaker. They are generally spun to make yarn that is used in mats or rope. See also "Natural vegetable fibers".
  Color Removal & Enzymes - The process of color removal and abrasion with enzymes seen as a more environmentally acceptable alternative to bleaching and stonewashing. Introduced into the market in the 1980s, recent advances in this technology have increased the number of shades achievable via enzyme treatment. There is no risk of over-bleaching with only a minimal level of fiber strength loss.
  Conference of the Parties (COP) - For nearly ten years, the United Nations (UN) has been bringing together every country in the world for global climate summits for Conference of the Parties or COPs. The meetings are responsible for monitoring and reviewing the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change. COP21, held in Paris in 2015, was historic in its creation of the first international climate change agreement.
  Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) - An independent U.S. federal regulatory agency created in 1972 to protect the public from unreasonable risks of injuries and deaths associated with consumer products.
  Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) - This bill, signed into law in August 2008, establishes consumer product safety standards and other safety requirements for children’s products. It will serve to modernize and reauthorize the Consumer Product Safety Commission by boosting funding to $136 million by 2014 and increasing staff. The legislation will increase consumer access to information about hazardous products while encouraging information sharing among local and federal agencies; it will also require the CPSC to create a publicly accessible database of harms related to the use of consumer products that are reported by consumers, government agencies, health care professionals, and other non-governmental sources.
  Corn Fiber - A biodegradable synthetic fiber produced with the lactic acid obtained through cornstarch fermentation. It is an entirely new type of synthetic fiber derived from plants instead of petroleum. See also "Ingeo®" and "Sorona®".
  Corporate Social Responsibility Index (CSRI) - A ranking of the top 50 companies in the United States distinguished by the general public for their corporate social responsibility. Results were compiled by the Boston College for Corporate Citizenship and Reputation Institute (RI), and were based on results from RI’s Global Pulse Study.
  Cotton - A shrub native to tropical and subtropical regions around the world, including the Americas, India and Africa. It is a fiber most often spun into yarn or thread and used to make a soft, breathable textile, that is the most widely used natural-fiber cloth in clothing today.
  Cradle to Cradle - The development and production of products with the aim that they can truly be recycled or upcycled at the end of their natural life.
  Cradle to Grave - Awareness and responsibility for a product/asset from its inception to its final disposal.
  Cruelty-Free - Cruelty-Free means that a product and its ingredients were not tested on animals.
 
D
Deforestation - The deliberate clearing of forested land. Deforestation has dramatically altered landscapes across the globe. Today the largest deforestation projects are happening in tropical rainforests for roads, logging as well as to create large cattle ranches, oil palm and rubber plantations.
  Distributed Generation - Also known as distributed energy, on-site generation, or district/decentralized energy, distributed generation is when power generation technologies are located near where the electricity is used, which reduces environmental impact, decreases transmission and distribution losses, and improves grid stability and security.
 
E
Earth Pledge - Founded in 1991 in New York City, Earth Pledge Foundation collaborates with government, businesses, and communities to advance the adoption of sustainable practices. FutureFashion, one of several company initiatives, serves to demonstrate that fashion can be sustainable. They are currently working with industry and the public to promote the use of renewable, reusable, and non-polluting materials and methods.
  Eco - Of or relating to habitat or household, mostly used as a prefix related to ecology. Eco comes from the ancient Greek word "oikos" (house). e.g. eco-label, eco-friendly, eco-shopping. Within the textile industry, "eco" refers to fibers/fabrics that are sustainable or friendly to the environment.
  Eco-friendly - A term used to describe services and goods that cause very little, if any, harm to the environment.
  Emissions - The particles, substances, or radiation released into the atmosphere. Emissions are one of the driving forces behind global warming and climate change.
  Emissions Trading - A proposed administrative approach designed to reduce pollution by providing economic incentives for reductions in the emission of pollutants. A government or international body will set a limit on amount of a pollutant that can be emitted. Companies or nations are issued emission permits which dictate a specified allowance for the amount of pollutants they are allowed to emit. Upon exceeding their allowance, companies may purchase credits from companies that pollute less, thereby rewarding those with excess allowances. See also "Cap and Trade".
  End of Life - End of life describes the final stage of a product’s useful life where it is then disposed of, reused, or recycled.
  Engineered Polymer-based Materials - These fabrics are produced by a modified or engineered manufacturing technique, rather than through conventional or unconventional engineering processes. The need for today's engineered fabrics have evolved from the automobile sector into aeronautics, marine, and geo-engineered materials into sports items, packaging materials, and bio-based materials. Engineered fabrics are becoming the base for a variety of innovative textile developments for wide variety of applications. The popularity of engineered textile fabrics can also consist of processes involving triple layer and 3-D fabrics, as well as non-woven applications for building products and tannery materials. The growth of engineered fabrics can be linked to applications made from both natural and manmade fibers.
  Environment, Social, & Corporate Governance (ESG) - ESG describes an organization's corporate commercial interests that focus on sustainable and ethical impacts. Captial markets are increasingly using these non-financial factors as part of their analysis in evaluating an organization and identifying material risks and growth opportunities.
  Environmental Management System - An EMS is a set of processes and practices that allow organizations to reduce their environmental impact and at the same time increase operational efficiencies. This is achieved through consistent review, evaluation, and enhancement of environmental performance. Each EMS is designed to meet the specific requirements of the organization.
  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - An agency of the U.S government established in 1970 that serves to protect human health while safeguarding the natural environment: air, water and land. The agency conducts environmental assessments, research, and education. It has the primary responsibility for setting and enforcing national standards under a variety of environmental laws, in consultation with various levels of government. The agency also works with industries in a wide variety of voluntary pollution prevention programs and energy conservation efforts.
  Enzymes - Proteins that act as a catalyst and control the various steps in all chemical reactions.
  ESG - (See also Environmental, Social and Governance Standards). Material topics in each of the ESG pillars and operational/ business approach to ESG varies by business, company, stakeholder group compositions and values. 1) Environmental factors include the contribution a company or government makes to climate change through greenhouse gas emissions, along with waste management and energy efficiency. Given renewed efforts to combat global warming, cutting emissions and decarbonizing is become more important. 2) Social includes human rights, labor standards in the supply chain, any exposure to illegal child labor, and more routine issues such as adherence to workplace health and safety. A social score also rises if a company is well integrated with its local community and therefore has a ‘social license’ to operate with consent. 3) Governance of a corporation refers to the rules, processes, laws, guidelines and guiderails that inform a company’s operations and controls. Corporate governance takes into account the decision-making authorities, rights and impacts on various stakeholders including a board of directors, shareholders, management and employees.
  Ethical consumerism - Involves purchasing products and/or services that are made ethically. This typically means that there is minimal harm to or exploitation of humans, animals, and the natural environment. It is practiced through positive buying, when ethical products are favored over those that are not. This type of consumerism has led to a rise in green brands, which has increased interest in ethic-based decisions in the mass market, including more understanding and information about business practices.
  European Green Deal - The European Union’s (EU) Green Deal presented in 2019 is a strategy designed to make the EU the first climate neutral continent by 2050. It is designed to build the EU into a sustainable economy by turning climate and environmental challenges into opportunities by transitioning to a cleaner, circular economy. It is backed by an investment plan totaling 1 trillion Euros.
 
F
Fair Trade - An organized social movement and market-based approach with a main goal to help developing countries to achieve better trading conditions and adopt sustainable practices. The movement advocates the payment of a fair price as well as placing social and environmental standards on the production of a wide variety of goods.
  Fair Trade Cotton - Cotton produced by suppliers who are guaranteed a fair price for their organically produced goods, and whose production process meets stringent, internationally established labor standards.
  Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International (FLO) - A non-profit, multi-stakeholder association involving 23 member organizations, traders and external experts. The organization develops and reviews Fairtrade standards and provides support to Fairtrade Certified Producers by assisting them in gaining and maintaining Fairtrade certification and capitalizing on market opportunities.
  Fast Fashion - Trendy fashionable clothing that is designed and manufactured quickly and inexpensively to both drive & satisfy consumer purchases. Fast fashion results in overproduction and waste estimated in the millions of tons of fabric/garments a year.
  Flax - A natural vegetable fiber that is soft, lustrous, and flexible. It is stronger than cotton fiber but less elastic. The best grades are used for linen fabrics, such as damasks, lace, and sheeting while coarser grades are used to manufacture twine and rope.
  Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) - Created in 1993 and headquartered in Bonn, Germany, the FSC is a non-profit, independent organization dedicated to encouraging the responsible handling of the forests in the world.
  Fossel Fuel - Fossil fuel is a generic term that is used for non-renewable fuels such as coal and its byproducts, natural and derived gas, crude oil, and petroleum materials. The term refers to the fact that they are made up of decomposed, buried carbon-based organisms that died millions of years ago. Fossil fuels are used to produce energy. Their supply is limited, and they will eventually run out.
  Free Trade Area (FTA) - A designated group of countries that have agreed to eliminate tariffs, quotas, and preferences on most goods and services between them. Members of a free trade area do not have the same policies with respect to non-members, which results in different quotas and customs. As an example, the United States is currently involved in a free trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, known as NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement).
  FutureFashion - An initiative of Earth Pledge, FutureFashion helps the fashion and home furnishing industries make the transition to sustainable materials. The initiative provides guidance to designers, manufacturers and distributors to help them transition to sustainable materials and methods.
 
G
Geo-Engineering - Also referred to as negative emission technologies, geo- engineering can manipulate the environment on a large scale to offset the impacts of climate change. It does so by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, managing solar radiation, and modifying weather. An example of a geoengineering technique is spraying aerosol over oceans to brighten the clouds and reflect more sunlight away before the water absorbs it.
  Geothermal Power - Energy that is generated by heat stored in the earth, or the collection of absorbed heat derived from within the earth, in the atmosphere, and from the oceans. Currently, the U.S. produces the greatest amount of geothermal energy in the world. As a renewable energy source, it is extremely price competitive and reduces the reliance on fossil fuels and their price unpredictability.
  Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) - Launched by representatives of organic cotton producers, the textile industry, and consumers in 2002, GOTS was instituted in order to unify organic standards within the industry, allowing manufacturers to market their products to different countries under a single certification that is acceptable in all major markets of the world. Prior to the launch of GOTS, numerous standards existed in the niche market of organic textiles, causing confusion among producers, retailers and consumers.
  Global Pulse Study - Conducted by the Reputation Institute, it is the largest study of corporate reputation in the world, annually measuring over 1,000 companies in 27 countries. It is intended to identify the companies with the “best corporate reputations”. In 2008, more than 200 U.S. companies were measured.
  Green Brands - Brands that consumers associate with environmental conservation and sustainable business practices. Typically when marketing a ‘green’ product, companies will use environmentally friendly, recycled and/or recyclable material, or reduce excess packaging.
  Green Hydrogen - Hydrogen is a universal, highly reactive fuel that can be used to generate electricity, power vehicles, heat homes, and more. Green hydrogen is the product of electrolysis, an environmentally friendly chemical process that uses an electrical current to separate hydrogen from oxygen in water.
  Green Living Lifestyle, Inc. - Located in Beverly Hills, California, this company provides green living and lifestyle solutions for both home and work environments. Their experts make planet friendly services and products accessible to the consumer. Comprehensive services range from finding the perfect non-toxic and environmentally friendly cleaning solution for a client with allergies, to project managing the construction of a healthy and energy efficient home or office, as well as implementing a green program for an entire corporation, production or event.
  Green vs. Sustainability - Green refers to all facets of being environmentally friendly, from the activist movement itself to fashion, furniture, and buildings. Sustainability goes one step beyond the environment and is also concerned with health, economic, and social equity.
  Greenhouse Effect - Caused when greenhouse gases trap radiation released by the Earth’s surface, raising the temperature of the Earth’s lower atmosphere and surface. It is a natural process that regulates the temperature of the Earth. In the last 200 years, humans have released much higher quantities of greenhouse gases (both natural and man-made), which is trapping more heat in the atmosphere and cited as the main driver of global warming.
  Greenhouse Gases (GHG) - Gases in the atmosphere that trap infrared heat energy trying to escape into outside the earth’s atmosphere. This process raises the temperature of the lower atmosphere and the Earth’s surface in contact with it. Natural greenhouse gases include water vapor (moisture), carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone. New man-made chemicals that are being released into the atmosphere include CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons), HCFCs (hydrochloro-fluoro-carbons) and HFCs (hydro-fluoro-carbons).
  Greenopia - A Los Angeles service guide to green living. Their mission is to create a directory of eco-friendly retailers, services, and organizations. Not a paid directory, they have conducted extensive research on those listed in their guide. Companies cannot pay to be included and all those listed are included because they have meet Greenopia’s strict standards for eco-friendliness.
  Greenwashing - Greenwashing is the practice of making an unproven claim that deceives consumers into believing that an organization's products or services are environmentally friendly.
 
H
Hemp - A course fiber made from the inner bark (bast fiber) of the hemp plant used primarily in twines and cordages, and most recently apparel. Grown naturally without pesticides, it is one of the strongest sustainable fibers and is excellent for moisture absorption, anti-bacterial properties and ventilation. Hemp is popular for macramé jewelry, cloth and diapers. Growing hemp in the United States is legal, but producers are required to obtain a special permit through the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
  High-density polyethylene (HDPE) or polyethylene high-density (PEHD) - This thermoplastic polymer is produced from the monomer ethylene. With a high strength-to-density ratio, HDPE is used in the production of plastic bottles, corrosion-resistant piping, geomembranes and plastic lumber. HDPE is commonly recycled, and has the number "2" as its resin identification code.
  Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) - Any of several organic compounds composed of hydrogen, fluorine, and carbon. HFCs are produced synthetically and are used primarily as refrigerants. They became widely used for this purpose beginning in the late 1980s, with the introduction of the Montreal Protocol, which phased out the use of chemicals such as halons and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that contribute to the depletion of Earth’s ozone layer. However, while HFCs have an ozone depletion potential of zero, they are potent greenhouse gases, and thus their manufacture and use became increasingly regulated in the 21st century.
  Hydrophilic - Having a strong affinity for water; attracting, dissolving in or absorbing water.
  Hydrophobic - Lacking the ability to absorb water. Denote a finish normally applied to create water-repellent products.
 
I
Indoor Farming - Also referred to as vertical farming, this process requires less land and water to grow more crops. The process continues to advance with AI-powered vertical farms.
  ISO 14001 Certification - ISO 14001 is an internationally agreed upon and recognized standard for Environmental Management Systems. It applies to all types and sizes of organizations, including public and private sector and non-profit.
  ISO 26000 Guidance - ISO 2600 is defined as an international standard developed to help organizations assess and address their social responsibilities. It is designed to serve as guidance and is not a certification.
 
J
Joint Implementation - A flexibility mechanism set forth in the Kyoto Protocol that helps nations meet their greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. It allows industrialized nations to invest in emissions reduction projects in other industrialized nations as an alternative to reducing emissions domestically.
  Jute - A vegetable fiber produced primarily from the plant material cellulose and wood fiber lignin (partially textile and partially wood). It is 100% bio-degradable and one of the cheapest fibers. It is the second-most important vegetable fiber, after cotton, in terms of usage and availability. Off-white to brown in color, it accepts cellulosic dyes.
 
K
Kenaf - A plant native to south Asia that has similar properties to jute. The stems produce two types of fiber, a coarser fiber in the outer layer (bast fiber), and a finer fiber in the core. The main uses of kenaf fiber have been rope, twine, coarse cloth (similar to that made from jute), and paper. See also "Natural Vegetable Fibers".
  Kumazasa Herb - This Japanese herb used to make a Japanese paper fiber that is completely natural, highly renewable without the use of chemicals, and does not require chemicals to process. It is used in the production of Sasawashi fabric. See also "Sasawashi".
  Kyoto Protocol - An international environmental treaty intended to achieve stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. It establishes legally binding commitments for the reduction of six greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride, hydrofluorocarbons, and perfluorocarbons) produced by industrialized nations. Under the protocol, the nations have agreed to reduce their collective greenhouse gas emissions. There are “flexible mechanisms” that allow member economies to meet their emissions requirements, including Emissions Trading, the Clean Development Mechanism, and Joint Implementation. As of 2008, the United States has not yet ratified Kyoto Protocol stating that it is “fundamentally flawed” and “not the correct vehicle with which to produce real environmental solutions”. Since withdrawing from the protocol, the U.S. government has established separate environmental initiatives to address global climate change.
 
L
Lac - Once used as a natural dye, this is a resinous substance secreted by the lac insect onto the twigs and branches of certain trees (typically fig). The dye is similar to cochineal and is commonly used in southeast Asia as a skin cosmetic and dye for silk and wool.
  Landfill - This is a site for the disposal of waste materials by burial and is the oldest form of waste treatment. Historically, landfills have been the most common methods of organized waste disposal and remain so in many places around the world.
  Laser technology - A textile treatment using laser machines to achieve a detailing or all-over effect in finishing a fabric, typically denim. The frequency of the laser is set to erode the indigo surface and alter the color or burn through. Exclusively used in the upper end of the denim market, laser technology is considered a more environmentally acceptable process than traditional denim finishing methods.
  Lifcycle Assessment (LCA) - An LCA is a systematic analysis of products or services throughout their entire lifecycle to check for the potential of environmental impacts. Every part of the lifecycle is examined from extraction of raw materials to production and what happens to it at the end of life.
  Limestone - A sedimentary rock composed mostly of the mineral calcite and comprising about 15% of the Earth's sedimentary crust; can occur in many colors but is usually white, gray, or black. See also "Mineral Dyes".
  Linear Economy - An economy in which raw materials are extracted, turned into a product, and discarded as waste. Many consider this to be our current economy. (See also: Circular economy.)
  Linen - A textile made from the fibers of the flax plant. It is labor intensive to manufacture, but when it is made into garments, it is valued for its exceptional coolness and freshness in hot weather. Linen fabric is highly absorbent and a good conductor of heat, yet it remains cool to the touch. It is also the strongest of the vegetable fibers, with 2 to 3 times the strength of cotton. See also "Natural Vegetable Fibers".
  Logwood - Logwood is the English name of both the dye and the tree from whose heartwood the dye comes. Preparation requires that the heartwood first be well cleaned of the surrounding sapwood and bark. Then it must be rasped or planed into shavings, which are "aged" through a mild fermentation process. The rich, dark wood is then dried and packaged to avoid deterioration by moisture. Typically, the dye colors can be violet, purple, silver, grey, or black.
  Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) - Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) is a thermoplastic made from the monomer ethylene. It was the first grade of polyethylene, produced in 1933. Its manufacture employs the same method today. The EPA estimates 5.7% of LDPE (resin identification code 4) is recycled in the United States. Despite competition from more modern polymers, LDPE continues to be an important plastic grade.
  Low-Impact Dyes - Dyes that bond chemically to fibers for stronger color fastness over conventional dyes. The dyeing process uses less water and generates less wastewater runoff and contamination.
  Lyocell Fiber - This fiber is made from the wood pulp cellulose of such hardwood trees as birch, oak, or eucalyptus, and is typically classified as a fiber cousin to rayon. Lyocell shares many properties with other cellulosic fibers such as cotton, linen, ramie and rayon. Some main characteristics of lyocell fibers are that it is soft, absorbent, very strong when wet or dry, and resistant to wrinkles; it can be machine- or hand-washed or drycleaned, it drapes well, and it can be dyed many colors, as well as simulating a variety of textures like suede, leather, or silk. In the United States, it is manufactured by Lenzing, Inc. and marketed under the trademarked brand name Tencel®.
 
M
Madder - A type of plant known for its climbing herbs and shrubs native to Africa, temperate Asia and North America. It has been used since ancient times as a vegetable red dye for leather, wool, cotton and silk. For dye production, the roots are harvested in the first year. The outer brown layer gives the common variety of the dye, the lower yellow layer the refined variety. See also "Natural Dyes".
  Malachite - This very popular semi-precious stone is named for the Greek word for "mallow", a green herb. The color is dark green. See also "Mineral Dyes".
  Manganese - Manganese is a gray-white metal, resembling iron. It is hard and very brittle. The color is a metallic silver to black. See also "Mineral Dyes".
  Manila - A type of fiber obtained from the leaves of the abacá, a relative of the banana. It is mostly used for pulping for a range of uses, including specialty papers and once used mainly to make Manila rope. Manila envelopes and Manila papers take their name from this fiber. See also "Natural Vegetable Fibers".
  Methane - Methane is a highly flammable gas made up of carbon and hydrogen. Methane enters the atmosphere by both natural and human related activities. It has been cited as a potent greenhouse gas causing climate change.
  Mineral Dyes - A natural dyestuff made from minerals, including ocher, limestone, manganese, cinnabar, azurite, and malachite.
  Mordant - A substance that fixes a dye in and on textiles or leather by combining with the dye to form a stable insoluble compound.
  Munjeet - A dye obtained from the roots of an herb plant grown in India; it is also known as Indian Madder. It produces a range of colors, from brick red to bright orange, and burgundy. See also "Natural Dyes".
 
N
Natural Dyes - Dyes that are made from mineral, vegetable (plant) or animal; otherwise obtained from natural sources. The most common types include Indigo, Cochineal, Lac, Logwood, Madder, Munjeet, Catechu, Brazilwood, Osage Orange, Fustic, Weld, Tannin, and Quercitron.
  Natural Enzymes - Biomolecules created freely in nature that spark chemical reactions. Whether they occur naturally in a dye or are added to a solution, they allow the dye to strongly bind to a mordanted fiber.
  Natural Vegetable Fibers - These are normally comprised of cellulose and include the following: Bamboo, Coir, Cotton, Flax, Hemp, Jute, Kenaf, Linen, Manila, Pina, Raffia, Ramie, and Sisal.
  Net Negative Emissions - This is the process of greenhouse gas removal from the atmosphere through negative emissions. This involves more greenhouse gases having been removed from the atmosphere than are added. This can be done by using forests to absorb carbon dioxide, for example. It is hoped that negative emissions technologies will be innovated at scale.
  Net-Zero Emissions - Net-zero emissions is the goal of achieving a balance between greenhouse gas emissions produced and those removed from the atmosphere. To avoid a climate disaster greenhouse gas emission needs to be kept as low as possible.
  Nettle - A sustainable and organic fiber derived from a coarse, wild herb. It is naturally moth-repellant.
  North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) - A trilateral trade bloc between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The agreement was signed in 1992 by the leaders of these countries and came into effect in 1994.
 
O
Ochre - Any of several earthy mineral oxides of iron occurring in yellow, brown, or red and used as pigments. See also "Mineral Dyes".
  Organic - Products that are grown or raised without synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or hormones.
  Organic Cotton - Cotton that is grown without pesticides from plants that are not genetically modified using crop rotation and biological pest control instead of pesticides and artificial fertilizers.
  Organic Cotton Exchange - A charitable organization committed to expanding organic agriculture, with a specific focus on increasing the production and use of organically grown fibers such as cotton. To support this goal, they bring together brands and retailers with their business partners, farmers and key shareholders to learn about the social and environmental benefits of organic agriculture and to develop new business models and tools that support greater use of organic inputs. In addition, they raise consumer awareness about the value of organic farming and the availability of products containing organic cotton.
  Organic Linen - An extremely durable sustainable fiber that is made from the flax plant and grown without herbicides or pesticides.
  Osage Orange - A large shrub native to central and southeastern United States, The roots and inner bark produce colors ranging from bright yellows to khaki green. See also "Natural Dyes".
  Ozone Bleaching - An alternative bleaching process used for finishing in denim manufacturing. It is environmentally acceptable because it does not use harmful chemicals, requires a low quantity of water, and bleaching is achieved in a relatively short amount of time at room temperature.
 
P
Palm Oil - An edible plant oil derived from the fruit of the Arecaceae Elaeis oil palm; it has surpassed soybean oil as the most widely produced vegetable oil in the world. Palm oil production is a basic source of income for many of the world's rural poor in South East Asia, Central and West Africa, and Central America; many social initiatives use profits from palm oil to finance poverty alleviation strategies. This rising demand for palm oil has resulted in tropical forest being cleared to establish new palm plantations. There is growing concern that this will be harmful to the environment in many ways, including significant greenhouse gas emissions, habitat destruction of endangered species, and eventual extinction of such species.
  Paris Agreement - The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change that was ratified by 196 parties at COP 21 in Paris on 12 December 2015. It came into force on 4 November 2016. The Paris Agreement is designed to work on a 5-year cycle of increasingly ambitious climate actions by member countries. Under the Paris Agreement enhanced transparency framework, countries will report transparently on their progress with climate change mitigation, starting in 2024.
  Petrochemicals - Chemicals made from petroleum, coal and/or natural gas. First synthesized in the mid-1800s, scientists created chemicals that could be substituted for natural products. Today, many common household and industrial products are derived from petrochemicals, including plastics, soaps, detergents, drugs, pesticides, aspirin, furniture, and apparel.
  Phthalates - These chemicals are salts or esters of phthalic acid. The esters are commonly used as plasticizers to soften polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and increase the flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity of plastic products. However, when ingested, phthalates can cause kidney and liver damage. Due to these health concerns, phthalates are now being phased out of many products in the United States, Canada, and the European Union.
  Piña - A fiber made from the leaves of a pineapple and is commonly used in the Philippines. It is sometimes combined with silk or polyester to create a textile fabric. The end fabric is lightweight, easy to care for and has an elegant appearance similar to linen. See also "Natural Vegetable Fibers".
  PLA Fiber - A polymer fiber made with 100% annually renewable resources, such as corn. Fabrics, made with PLA, look and feel like those made from a natural fiber. But they have the performance qualities of a synthetic. The properties, inherent in the fiber, remain constant throughout the production cycle, whether the use is for the raw fiber or finished product.
  Plastics - 1) PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) - A form of polyester used to produce plastic bottles and other products. PET is regarded as ‘straightforward’ to recycle. 2) HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) - A thermoplastic polymer produced from the monomer ethylene—widely recyclable, used to produce plastic bottles, milk jugs, cutting boards, and piping. 3) PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) - High strength thermoplastic material widely used in applications such as pipes, medical devices, wire and cable insulation. PVC is seldom recycled. 4) LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene) - A thermoplastic polymer produced from the monomer ethylene, used for applications such as shrink wrap, packaging, pallet wrap, bags and coverings. Can be recycled, but can be easily contaminated by the items it has been used to wrap, contain. 5) PP (Polypropylene) - Thermoplastic ‘addition’ polymer made from a combination of propylene monomers. Used for packaging, plastic parts for various industries and for textiles. It is recyclable. 6) PS (Polystyrene of Styrofoam) - A naturally transparent thermoplastic that is available as both a solid plastic as well as in the form of a rigid foam material. It is not commonly recycled. 7) Miscellaneous Plastics - Polycarbonate, polylactide, acrylic, acrylonitrile, butadiene styrene, fiberglass, and nylon.
  Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or (PETE) - A strong, stiff synthetic fibre and resin and a member of the polyester family of polymers. PET is spun into fibres for permanent-press fabrics and blow-molded into disposable beverage bottles. PET is produced by the polymerization of ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid. Ethylene glycol is a colourless liquid obtained from ethylene, and terephthalic acid is a crystalline solid obtained from xylene. When heated together under the influence of chemical catalysts, ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid produce PET in the form of a molten, viscous mass that can be spun directly to fibres or solidified for later processing as a plastic.
  Polylactic Acid (PLA) Fiber - A synthetic substance produced from the fermentation of plant sugars derived primarily from corn, which is then made into a fiber. Lightweight, hypoallergenic, and providing more UV protection than polyester, it uses about half the energy required to manufacture other synthetic polymers and is biodegradable. Downside: growing just one acre of corn uses enough water to run a household dishwasher over 30,000 times. See also "Corn Fiber".
  Polypropylene - Also known as polypropene, is a thermoplastic polymer used in a wide variety of applications. It is produced via chain-growth polymerization from the monomer propylene. Polypropylene belongs to the group of polyolefins and is partially crystalline and non-polar. Its properties are similar to polyethylene, but it is slightly harder and more heat-resistant. It is a white, mechanically rugged material and has a high chemical resistance. Polypropylene is the second-most widely produced commodity plastic (after polyethylene).
  Positive Buying - This involves favoring ethical products, whether it involves fair trade, cruelty-free products, organic, recycled, re-used, or produced locally.
  Precision Agriculture - Also referred to as precision farming, precision agriculture digitizes farming operations by using sensors to monitor and analyze crops and livestock. For example, a farmer may use the data to identify the best time to water and fertilize a crop, reducing the amount needed to optimize crop growth while producing the same or, in some instances, increasing its yield. The goal is to use fewer resources to produce the same or a better outcome.
  Precision Irrigation - Provides nutrients and water to plants at the optimal time and in the most ideal locations.
 
Q
Quercitron - A yellow dye obtained from the bark of the Eastern Black Oak, a forest tree indigenous in North America. The dye is prepared by grinding the bark in mills after it has been freed from its black outer layer and sifting the product to remove the fibrous matter, producing a fine yellow powder. See also "Natural Dyes".
 
R
Raffia - A type of palm that is native to tropical regions of Africa and parts of Central and South America. The fiber is used for ropes, sticks, supporting beams and various roof coverings are made out of its fibrous branches and leaves. The membrane on the underside of each individual frond leaf is taken off to create a long thin fiber which can be dyed and used for decorative ribbon for gift-wrapping, or woven as a textile into products ranging from hats to shoes to decorative mats. See also "Natural Vegetable Fibers".
  Ramie - A sustainable bast fiber, similar to flax, taken from the stalk of a plant grown in East Asia and China. It’s three to five times stronger than cotton, extremely absorbent, and dries quickly. It is often mistaken for linen.
  Raw Material - A natural unprocessed material used in a manufacturing process; defined as “unfinished goods consumed by a manufacturer in the production of finished goods”.
  Reclaimed Fabrics - To return to or bring into an acceptable condition for re-use. These fabrics are basically made from spinning room floor waste that is made into mop yarns or has other low-end industrial uses.
  Recyclable - Any material that can be made into a new product.
  Recycled - Any material from a previous product that has been reprocessed into a new product. Sources for recycling include any reclaimed material that would otherwise be discarded. Recycled production prevents useful materials resources from being wasted and reduces consumption of raw materials.
  Recycled polyester - Polyester that has been manufactured by using previously used polyester items; it can be created from used clothing as well as recycled plastic containers.
  Recycled Polyester (RPET) - Recycled polyester (RPET) is a fabric made from recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is a type of plastic. PET is a synthesis of ethylene glycol and dimethyl terephthalate, both of which are derived from petroleum. It’s the same material that virgin polyester fibers are made from, but the recycled version of the fabric draws its source of PET mostly from discarded clear plastic water bottles.
  Regenerated Agriculture - Regenerative agriculture is focused on improving soil health, which has deteriorated due to the use of fertilizers and insecticides. The idea is that healthy soil can be more productive, store more carbon, and increase biodiversity.
  Renewable Energy - Energy generated from natural resources, including sunlight, wind, rain, tides and geothermal heat, all of which are renewable and easily replenished.
  Reprocess - To process again in order to reuse.
  Reputation Institute - A private advisory and research firm specializing in corporate reputation management founded in 1997 in New York. They provide knowledge-based consulting services to companies interested in measuring and managing their reputations proactively. Since 2005, they have been responsible for conducting the Global Pulse Study.
  Residual Waste - Residual waste is a significant environmental issue that requires our attention and understanding. It refers to the waste that remains after recycling, composting, and other waste management processes have taken place. It is important to explore the impact and management of residual waste, highlighting its importance in creating a sustainable future.
 
S
Saran - The trade name for a number of polymers that share similarities to vinyl. The main advantage of Saran film is a very low permeability to water vapor, flavor and aroma molecules, and oxygen compared to other plastics. The barrier to oxygen prevents food spoilage, and the barrier to flavor and aroma molecules helps food retain its flavor and aroma.
  Sasawashi - A sustainable fabric that is derived from a blend of Japanese paper and kumazasa herb. Saswashi is a beautiful fabric that has a soft touch similar to cashmere or Egyptian cotton, but is has a dry feel like linen. It does not pill or fuzz, and is twice as absorbent as cotton. It is said to have natural anti-allergen and anti-bacterial properties.
  Scope 1 Emissions - Emissions from sources an organization owns or directly controls, such as fuel emissions from a company’s fleet of vehicles.
  Scope 2 Emissions - Additional emissions a company causes indirectly via the energy it purchases and uses. For example, the emissions caused when generating electricity for a factory.
  Scope 3 Emissions - Emissions that are produced neither by the company (scope 1 emissions) nor assets owned and controlled by them (scope 2 emission), but by those that the company is indirectly responsible for across its value chain. For example, products purchased, used, and disposed of by customers.
  Silk - A natural protein fiber, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. The best-known type of silk is obtained from cocoons made by the larvae of the mulberry. This process kills the larvae and is heavily criticized by animal rights activists. "Wild silks" are produced by caterpillars other than the mulberry silkworm and cannot be artificially cultivated.
  Sisal - A cactus plant that yields a stiff fiber traditionally used in making twine and rope. The plant originated in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, but has spread to Florida, the Caribbean islands and Brazil, as well as to countries in Africa and Asia. See also "Natural Vegetable Fibers".
  Sliver - A continuous bundle of loosely spun assembled untwisted fibers. These fibers are drawn by drawing frames, and are eventually twisted into a yarn during the sliver knitting process. A sliver is made by blending and then carding together particular fibers that can include different properties and different lengths and colors. The textile industry uses sliver knitting techniques to form the sliver, which are picked up by the knitting needles along with the ground yarns and are locked into place as the stitch is formed. The performance options of pile fabrics are endless, and are based on the fibers, blends, pile heights, densities, finishes and jacquard patterns. create knitted fabrics with sliver.
  Sliver Knitting - A type of circular knitting that creates high pile fabrics. The fibers are knitted by the drawing-in the sliver using the special knitting needles. In sliver knitting, the sliver is fed into the sliver knitting machine, which is designed to work with the loose fiber, sliver. The sliver is fed through a series of rollers and needles that pull and shape the fibers into a continuous knitted fabric. The resulting fabric has a loose, open texture, similar to a woven fabric, but with the added stretch and flexibility of a knit fabric. Sliver knitting creates a wide range of textile pile products with unique textures and surface interest, because the loose fibers of the sliver can be manipulated to create different patterns and designs. Sliver knitting utilizes sliver made from a wide variety of fibers, including wool, cotton, silk, and synthetic fibers. The process allows for creativity in the types of fabrics that can be developed. In addition, unconventional fibers can be used to create these unique fabrics, including: recycled materials or the specialty fibers of mohair or alpaca.
  Slow Fashion - Slow Fashion is the opposite of fast fashion. It advocates the design, production and purchasing of quality garments that will last longer; slower production schedules; reduced carbon footprints; use of sustainable materials. There are multiple ways for consumers to reject fast fashion, including buying clothes that are sustainable and made ethically; buying locally made products buying second hand or vintage garments; and buying clothes less often to slow the rate of fashion consumption & waste.
  SOEX, Inc. - A corporate group that implements recycling of textile merchandise with the used textiles as raw material imput, producing an output which consists of products for insulation and other industrial products.
  Solution-dyed - A type of fiber dyeing in which colored pigments are injected into the spinning solution prior to the extrusion of the fiber through the spinneret. Fibers and yarns colored in this manner are color-fast to most destructive agents. This process uses no additional water and reduces the pollution in dyeing.
  Soy Cotton - Soy fibers blended with cotton to create a textile that has the benefits of both fabrics and can be colored using low impact dyes. With a very soft hand, it is a popular choice for baby clothes.
  Soy Ink - A non-petroleum based ink made from soybeans; non-toxic and biodegradable; environmentally friendlier than traditional petroleum based ink.
  Soybean Fiber - Also known as “vegetable cashmere”, soybean fiber is a sustainable textile fiber made from the residue of soybeans from tofu production. It is part of an effort to move consumers away from petrochemical textile products and turn waste into useful products. Soybean fiber has superior warmth retention, moisture transmission and bacterial resistance; it is also soft, smooth, and light. With a cashmere-like texture, it has a silky luster and the same moisture absorption as cotton. It is typically used for underwear, socks, scarves, sheets, and yoga/exercise apparel.
  Supply Chain Traceability - Supply chain traceability enables companies to identify, track, and trace a product and its components as it moves along the supply chain, from raw materials to finished product. This data plays a vital role in provenance and sustainability.
  Supply Chain Transparency - Supply chain transparency refers to visibility and accessibility to data at every stage within the supply chain. Supply chain transparency is the best way to build trust between companies, their partners, and customers.
  Supply Chain Visibility (SCV) - Supply chain visibility is the ability to track every component of a product from raw material to the customer. For retail operations, this extends to tracking goods from suppliers through to the end customer. As well as improving customer service, inventory management, and cost controls, supply chain visibility can show sustainable proficiency against competitors.
  Sustainability - Sustainability means having the ability to maintain and support a process continuously. In 1987 the United Nations Brundtland Commission defined sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.
  Sustainability Intensification - Increasing productivity on existing agricultural land with positive environmental and social impacts using innovative products and processes.
  Sustainable Cotton Project - This project focuses on the production and use of cotton. Because it is the most widely grown and chemical-intensive crops in the world, along with being versatile enough for foods and fiber products, it is one of the most widely traded commodities in the world. The production of a basic t-shirt can therefore take a toll on the earth’s air, water, and soil; thus the Sustainable Cotton Project encourages the production and demand for California-grown Cleaner Cotton™.
  Sustainable Development Goals - Developed by the United Nations (UN) the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a group of 17 interlinked global goals designed as a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future”. The SDGs have a 2030 deadline for implementation. They include no poverty, zero hunger, good health and well-being, quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, decent work and economic growth, industry innovation and infrastructure, reduced inequality, sustainable cities and communities, responsible production and consumption, climate action, life below water, life on land, peace and justice, strong institutions, and partnership to achieve goals.
  Sustainable Fashion - Sustainable Fashion, also called eco-fashion and ethical fashion, involves the design and manufacturing of clothing, home furnishings and other textile product in a sustainable manner, that takes into account any environmental and socio-economic impacts. The goal is a system that respects the environment by causing minimal to no damage and promotes the ethical treatment of workers and social responsibility. Sustainable Fashion involves all stages of the product’s life cycle from design; selection & production of raw materials; manufacturing; dyeing/finishing; sewing/assembling; packaging/storing and transportation. It includes the use of recycled materials and components; reuse of waste; and, the careful use of natural resources, such as water, land, soil plants and animals. From a socio-economic perspective, there is a responsibility to maintain ethical working conditions for workers in the field, the factory and the office, including complying with best practice and applicable codes of conduct. The consumer also has responsibilities: to stay educated and maintain awareness of sustainability issues when making purchases; avoid short-term fads that drive fast fashion; properly care for and repair clothing to extend its life; avoid over-washing; recycle, repurpose and donate old garments. You can also join organizations that promote sustainability that can be joined.
  Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) - Organized in 1994 by members of the American Forest and Paper Association, the SFI focuses on combining sound business decisions with responsible environmental behavior. The program certifies forests to insure they are being managed in a sustainable manner. With forest certification, an independent organization develops standards of good forest management, and independent auditors issue certificates to forest operations that comply with those standards. This certification verifies that forests are well-managed—as defined by a particular standard—and ensures that certain wood and paper products come from responsibly managed forests.
  Sustainable Material - Any material that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. In so doing, the way that these materials are harvested or used assures that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged. The resource can therefore continue indefinitely without a significant negative impact on the environment or its inhabitants.
  Synthetic Enzymes - Man-made biomolecules that spark chemical reactions.
  Synthetic Fibers - Manufactured fibers that attempt to improve upon naturally occurring plant and animal fibers. Before synthetic fibers were developed, artificially manufactured fibers were made from cellulose, which is derived from plants. Common synthetic fibers include rayon, acetate, nylon, acrylic and polyester. Specialty synthetic fibers include Lyocell and PLA.
 
T
Tannin - A bitter, astringent plant derivative that is commonly used to tan animal hides into leather. Tannins produce different colors, including either blue, blue black, or green to greenish black. See also "Natural Dyes".
  Traceability - The ability to trace products and their components back through each step of the supply chain, all the way to raw materials.
  Transparency - A transparent object is one that can be seen through, with nothing hidden. In business the concept of transparency means openness without hidden practices; ongoing communications/relationships built on trust with an absence of hidden agendas; and, public accountability for policies, products, decisions & actions, including being answerable for the resulting consequences. Eco-certifications by third- parties provide verification of transparency & adherence to applicable standards.
 
U
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change - The UNFCCC is the United Nations (UN) Framework Convention on Climate Change. It sets out a basic legal framework and principles for international climate change cooperation between participating nations.
  United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) - The UNGC claims to be the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative. Its aim is to mobilize a global movement of sustainable companies and stakeholders. To make this happen, it supports businesses with principles on human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption. It also takes action to advance wider societal goals, such as the UN Sustainable Development goals.
  Upcycling - Upcycling involves the converting or repurposing of old, worn or discarded textile products into new products of a higher value/purpose. Upcycling helps reduce the over 12 million tons of clothing that is disposed of in landfills each year.
 
V
Value Chain - A value chain is a progression of activities that a business or firm performs in order to deliver goods and services of value to an end customer. The idea for a Value Chain is based on the process view of organizations, the idea of seeing a manufacturing (or service) organization as a system, made up of subsystems each with inputs, transformation processes and outputs. Inputs, transformation processes, and outputs involve the acquisition and consumption of resources. How Value Chain activities are carried out determines costs and affects the business profits.
  Vegetable Dye - Dyes derived from insects or from the earth, including dyes made from plants and bark, which includes madder root, indigo, milkweed, pomegranate, Osage, cutch and cochineal. These also include natural dyes produced from berries, roots and bark. They are not as colorfast as chrome dyes and produce unusual shades of blue, green and other colors. They contain no synthetic chemicals and, due to their natural ingredients, tend to fade faster than chrome dyes.
  Vinyon - A synthetic fiber polymer made from polyvinyl chloride. In some countries other than the United States, vinyon fibers are referred to as polyvinyl chloride fibers and is similar in nature to vinyl. It can bind non-woven fibers and fabrics. It was invented in 1939. See also Synthetic fibers.
 
W
Water-Based Products and Finishes - An environmentally-friendly alternative. These products and finishes are nonflammable and odorless. They offer reduced exposure to toxic materials and help reduce environmental pollution. Water-based products are easy to clean and dry faster than other non-water-based products.
  Weld - A weeding plant that has been used as a source for a brilliant yellow dye. It was originally from the Middle East, North Africa, and the Mediterranean area, but has subsequently spread throughout Europe and parts of the United States. Weld is harvested by cutting and binding the flowering stalks together after the flowers are nearly finished blooming. Most of the dye is contained in the seeds. See also "Natural Dyes".
 
Z
Zero Waste - Also known as waste minimization, this is a set of principles focused on waste prevention that encourages redesigning resource life cycles so that all products are repurposed (i.e. “up-cycled”) and/or reused. The goal of the movement is to avoid sending trash to landfills, incinerators, oceans, or any other part of the environment. Currently 9% of global plastic is recycled. In a zero waste system, all materials are reused until the optimum level of consumption is reached.
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