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Diverse sustainable fabrics moving towards circularity

In recent years, FABRAA has embarked on a comprehensive journey with the goal of creating a diverse range of sustainable fabrics. Our collection now encompasses a creative and varied selection of fabrics, crafted with a high percentage of recycled materials. Materials that would otherwise harm the environment find new life as soft upholstery fabric. These include materials like PET bottles, discarded clothing, and production waste from face masks and diapers. They serve as the raw materials for FABRAA’s fabric yarns.

Ambitious goals

FABRAA has set ambitious objectives to drive impact reduction. Our main aim is to achieve a circular assortment of furniture fabrics by 2035. As a stepping stone, by 2030, we aim to reduce CO2-eq emissions by 50% compared to 2018 across the entire supply chain. Additionally, within the same timeframe, we aspire to introduce a CO2-eq neutral product range. These goals stem from a strong conviction that waiting for others to adopt sustainable practices is no longer an option. FABRAA aims to elevate sustainability on the agenda for our customers and the wider furniture industry, encouraging the adoption of sustainable furniture.

The origin

Our journey began by assessing the environmental impact of furniture fabric in comparison to traditional alternatives. Impact assessments revealed that yarn production for furniture fabric had the most significant environmental footprint. Consequently, our sustainability efforts commenced with the enhancement of yarns. Today, we are extending these efforts to encompass all stages of production for our sustainable fabrics.

Measuring impact of our sustainable fabrics

To evaluate the environmental impact of our sustainable fabrics, we employ a life cycle assessment (LCA). This methodology allows us to assess the environmental effects of a product, service, or process throughout each phase of its life cycle, from raw material extraction to waste disposal, following the “cradle to grave” principle. This approach provides a comprehensive understanding of how a product influences both the environment and society.

For instance, in the production of a textile product, adopting the “cradle to grave” perspective enables us to identify the environmental impacts of materials used and production processes, as well as potential repercussions upon disposal. The life cycle of a furniture fabric involves various steps, including raw material extraction, actual production, product use, and ultimate disposal. For FABRAA products, our focus is primarily on the stages leading up to the point when the fabrics leave our production facility, adhering to the “cradle to gate” principle.

LCA is a valuable tool for evaluating and comparing the environmental impact of different products or services, enabling us to determine the least environmentally burdensome production methods or the most eco-friendly products.

Understanding the complete life cycle of sustainable furniture, including its impact on the environment and society, is pivotal in designing and producing enduring sustainable products. This empowers companies to make informed choices, such as using renewable materials, reducing energy and water consumption during production, creating durable and repairable items, and providing recycling options at the end of their lifespan. While FABRAA currently emphasizes the “cradle to gate” principle, we also recognize the significance of expanding towards a circular assortment of furniture fabrics, focusing on post-consumer usage.

Specialized expertise in the textile industry

We conduct Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) in collaboration with bAwear, a specialized entity skilled in impact assessments within the textile industry. Precision is of utmost importance to us, and we are committed to avoiding vague assertions. Our clients deserve complete transparency and a profound comprehension of the specific intricacies of our textile products. However, conducting sustainability assessments and generating reports demands substantial expertise and investment. Hence, our partnership with bAwear allows us to rely on their profound knowledge of sustainability within the textile sector, combined with advanced and user-friendly software. This empowers us to independently measure, verify, and comprehensively report the ecological impact of our products.

bAwear’s methodology

Their methodology, developed in collaboration with SimaPro and built upon over 35 years of textile expertise, aims to create an objective and dedicated impact assessment method tailored to the textile industry. To achieve this, bAwear utilizes relevant data concerning fibers, water consumption, energy consumption, climate impact, chemical usage, and land use. This data is sourced from credible outlets such as scientific research and external LCA databases. The model encompasses all processes within the supply chain, from material sourcing to final packaging and transportation. This includes all steps such as spinning, weaving/knitting, finishing, and assembly. Through this comprehensive approach, bAwear is capable of measuring and reporting the full environmental impact of textile products.

Legislation driving sustainable transition in the textile industry

In addition to our own convictions, legislation is inevitably on the horizon. This legislation will drive the textile industry towards a sustainable transition. Global, European, and regional levels all have their share of legislation, such as the European Green Deal and the upcoming obligatory adoption of the CSRD method for furniture textiles. This legislation holds importance for various reasons:

Protection of health in sustainable fabrics

Many furniture fabrics contain chemicals potentially harmful to human and animal health. Legislation can ensure that hazardous substances are excluded from use in sustainable furniture.

Environmental protection

Numerous furniture fabrics are manufactured using unsustainable materials and processes detrimental to the environment. Legislation can mandate the production of furniture fabrics using sustainable materials and processes, thereby reducing environmental impact.

Consumer protection

Consumers have the right to know the composition of the sustainable furniture they purchase. Legislation can enforce transparency from producers and sellers regarding the materials and processes used, enabling consumers to make informed choices.

Stimulation of sustainable innovation

Legislation can encourage producers to invest in sustainable materials and processes, leading to a wider range of sustainable options for consumers. This can foster the market for sustainable furniture fabrics and increase demand.

In essence, legislation is vital for safeguarding health and the environment, protecting consumers, and promoting sustainable innovation. In our journey towards a circular assortment of sustainable fabrics, we are focused on specific key areas, demonstrating savings through percentages. We concentrate on five areas: reduced energy consumption, minimized water usage, decreased CO2-eq emissions, incorporation of recycled content, and upholding workers’ rights.

Raising awareness in the textile industry

Various models can be employed to raise awareness about sustainability in the textile industry. Waste reduction through a circular product assortment is a significant aspect. A circular product range entails reduced waste. Reducing textile waste is essential for mitigating our impact on the planet. The R-ladder serves as an excellent tool to gauge the degree of circularity and stimulate waste reduction. It encompasses various steps, including prevention, reuse, recycling, energy recovery, and disposal. An element of this strategy involves designing products for easy recycling at the end of their lifespan, known as Ecodesign. To this end, our product development explores how Ecodesign can be integrated during the design phase.

Presently, we collaborate with Frankenhuis to recycle our residual materials, an organization experienced in textile reuse. Addressing the question of where all the offcuts of our furniture fabrics should go, Frankenhuis repurposes waste for alternative uses, such as automotive padding or boxing bag filling. However, this isn’t the final destination. In a circular economy, we transform our fabrics back into new yarns, which can then be used to produce recycled furniture fabrics.

In summary, our journey towards a circular assortment of sustainable fabrics is a long one, but the initial steps have been taken.