New guide on how to clean the wet treatment

A new manual has been launched to help clothing and textile companies reduce the use of water, energy and harmful chemicals during the wet processing phase.

Produced for the Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Clothing and Textiles (AGT) by the NGO Solidaridad, the ‘Wet Processing Guide‘gives businesses practical tools on how to map so-called wet processes – including dyeing, printing and treating textiles – and how to dramatically reduce their impact on the environment.

Tackling water, energy and chemicals is a top priority for Dutch AGT companies, but many are struggling to identify the first steps to improve their wet processes.

“In addition to social dilemmas, the use of water, energy and chemicals in the textile supply chain carries great risks for workers and the environment. Often companies lack knowledge because of the technical aspects of this topic, ”says Tamar Hoek, Senior Sustainable Fashion Policy Advisor at Solidaridad.

The guide addresses this problem by showing good and bad practices and offering solutions, for example on how to reduce water consumption, and suggests alternatives for using harmful chemicals so that companies can have impact on their supply chains.

It is available free of charge on the AGT website, and explains the impact of different wet processes on the environment and guides companies towards more sustainable alternatives. There are many explanations, images, videos, questionnaires, contact details for experts and practical tools for companies to train suppliers to launch improvement programs.

AGT signatories include C&A, de Bijenkorf, Esprit, G-Star Raw, Hunkemöller, Kings of Indigo and O’Neill Europe, as well as trade associations, unions, NGOs and government. The aim is for at least 80% of the Dutch clothing and textile sector to support the agreement and work towards improving working conditions and wages in textile production companies as well as welfare animal and environmental protection.

The manual’s launch comes as separate research describes wet processing as the weakest link in fashion supply chains and examines water risks for investors.