Glossary

SDG

D

E

F

G

H

I

L

M

O

P

R

S

T

W

D

Data gathering

As most of the impact happens across the supply chain, it is crucial to collect
information about the facilities and different processes across tiers 2-4 directly
from the production partners.

Data validation

The ability to evaluate if primary data collected is correct or realistic, and the
ability to choose the right and most appropriate secondary data.

Data transparency

Nowadays, stakeholders demand brands to communicate openly about what they know and don’t know about their scope 3. The new norm is for complete transparency of all inventory data, its sources and its accuracy rates.

E

Energy (environmental indicator)

The use of energy across all processes and sub-processes is measured, such as use of electricity and heat sources.

Environmental impact

Any change to the environment, resulting from a product, facility's activities or services. It is important to acknowledge both as consumers or participants in the fashion value chain that consumption comes with impact on the environment.

Environmental indicators

A practical system to track the condition of the environment.
An environmental indicator is a methodical tool that uses measurable variables to describe a complex environmental issue.
The main indicators are: GHG, Water depletion, Energy, Terrestrial ecotoxicity, Human non-carcinogenic toxicity, Stratospheric ozone depletion, Eutrophication, Land use, Terrestrial acidification, Freshwater ecotoxicity, Global warming, Ozone depletion, Human carcinogenic toxicity, Fossil resource scarcity, Marine ecotoxicity, Ionizing radiation

Eutrophication (environmental indicator)

Indicator of the enrichment of the aquatic ecosystem with nutritional elements, due to the emission of nitrogen or phosphor containing compounds.

F

Fashion pact

On the 24th of august 2019, a global coalition of 32 companies signed what became known as The Fashion Pact: a plan to reduce the environmental impact of the global fashion industry. The plan focuses on environmental goals in three areas: stopping global warming, restoring biodiversity and protecting the oceans.
The agreement is an important landmark which accelerated the implementation of Science Based Targets and GHG reduction in the operations across the supply chains of many major companies. 

Fossil resource scarcity (environmental indicator)

Indicator of the depletion of natural fossil fuel resources.

Freshwater ecotoxicity (environmental indicator)

Impact on freshwater organisms of toxic substances emitted to the environment.

G

Greenwashing

Any sort of statement that deceives consumers to think of an organization’s products, aims, or policies as environmentally friendly. Types of greenwashing are:

  • Vague statements - statements that sound great but are unclear as to what they are based on or what they actually mean.
  • Hidden tradeoffs - presenting a new product, material, or a process as better for the environment, but in fact replacing one problem with another.
  • Partial truth or false claim - a claim that is actually not entirely true or partially true and thus misleading.

Greenhouse gases (GHG) (environmental indicator)

Greenhouse gases are those that absorb and emit infrared radiation in the wavelength range emitted by Earth. Measured in CO2 equivalent, it includes gases such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane.

Global warming (environmental indicator)

Indicator of potential global warming due to emissions of greenhouse gases to air.

H

Human non-carcinogenic toxicity (environmental indicator)

The study of the effect of materials on human health is divided into substances that can increase risk of cancer and those that do not but may harm the health of those exposed to them.

Human carcinogenic toxicity (environmental indicator)

Impact on humans of toxic substances emitted to the environment.

I

Insetting

Insetting approach refers specifically to carbon reductions that are directly related, either by geography, production, or commodity. For example, a shoe company will invest in renewable energy in its final assembly facility in Dongguan, China, to reduce their emissions in energy usage. Insetting is the future of the industry and one of the main keys for reaching Science Based Targets. (See offsetting)

Inventory data

A list of data used to calculate environmental impact, primary and secondary data. Usually inventory data lacks data transparency.

Ionizing radiation (environmental indicator)

The result of high-energy radiation that has enough energy to remove an electron (negative particle) from an atom or molecule, causing it to become ionized. Ionizing radiation can cause chemical changes in cells and damage DNA.

L

Life-cycle assessment / LCA

Also known as life-cycle analysis, LCA is a scientific methodology for assessing environmental impacts of goods, processes or services.

The study can be done in different scopes, commonly from cradle (the extraction or production of raw materials) to gate (until the product is ready at the final assembly). The study of the environmental impact from cradle to grave, meaning until it is discarded, is often controversial as the use and end-of-life phases require rough estimations.

Land use (environmental indicator)

The environmental impacts of occupying, reshaping and managing land for human purposes.

M

Multiple source approach

The multiple source approach is based on the understanding that each process and facility differ in their impact due to size, efficiency, sub processes and geo-specific factors. In a multiple source approach multiple known variables are compared against a vast number (big data) of primary and secondary data sets to find the closest raw data from which to calculate impact. Made2Flow developed this unique approach for completing data gaps and data validation purposes to guarantee credible results. (see Single source approach)

Marine ecotoxicity (environmental indicator)

Impact on sea water organisms of toxic substances emitted to the environment.

O

Offsetting

Carbon offsetting approach aims at reducing an equivalent of emissions in another area. For example, a shoe company producing its line in Dongguan, China may emit 10 tons of Co2. In order to balance it out, the brand will pay to plant trees in a project in Venezuela, which is estimated to absorb a similar amount of Co2 across their lifetime. (see Insetting)

Ozone depletion (environmental indicator)

Indicator of emissions to air that cause the destruction of the stratospheric ozone layer.

P

Paris agreement

The Paris Agreement is a landmark international accord that was adopted by nearly every nation in 2015 to address climate change and its negative environmental impacts. The agreement includes commitments from all major emitting countries to cut their climate pollution and to strengthen those commitments over time. Following the Paris agreement fashion brands have started publicly to commit to reduce the carbon emissions and set clear goals (see Fashion pact, SBT)

Primary data

Data gathered directly from the supply chain by the enquiring party, in comparison to secondary data, which is data that was collected as part of previous LCAs or peer reviews (literature). Most impact calculations are based solely on secondary data.

R

ReCiPe Method

ReCiPe is a method for the life cycle impact assessment (LCIA). It was first developed in 2008 through cooperation between academic researchers, sustainability organisations and governmental institutions. The primary purpose of the ReCiPe method is to transform the long list of life cycle inventory results into a limited number of environmental indicator scores. In ReCiPe indicators are being determined in two levels: Midpoints and endpoints. Midpoint indicators focus on single environmental problems (e.g water depletion), while the endpoints indicators sum up the environmental impact through different damage paths into three higher aggregation levels: effect on human health, biodiversity and resource scarcity.
(see Environmental indicator)

S

SBT (Science based Targets)

A set of goals developed by a business, brand or supplier, to provide it with a clear route to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. An emissions reduction target is defined as 'science-based' if it is developed in line with the scale of reductions required to keep global warming below 2°C from pre-industrial levels. (see Fashion pact)

In the fashion industry it is accepted to make reduction goals in relations to one of the following:

  • Project - Choosing a project such as “packaging” or “deliveries” and target an emission reduction within that specific scope. Often such projects represent 1-5% of total emissions.
  • Scope 1-2 - Target to reduce own and used electricity within the control of the brand or supplier.
  • Scope 3 - Reduction across the supply chain, the most significant step a brand can take to be part of the solution.

Scope 1-3

Brands often declare they have reduced or will reduce emissions. When talking about sustainable targets, it is important to understand in which scope the change refers to.

Scope 1 – All direct emissions from the activities of an organisation or under their control. Including fleet vehicles, air-conditioning, leaks & fuel combustion on site such as gas boilers.

Scope 2 – Indirect emissions from electricity purchased and used by the organisation. Emissions are created during the production of the energy and eventually used by the organisation.

Scope 3 – All other indirect emissions from activities of the organisation, occurring from sources that they do not own or control. In simple words; the supply chain, the emissions from making the clothes. 70-95% of the emissions of the fashion industry are in scope 3.  Lack of traceability and inability to perform data gathering prevent fashion brands from calculating their scope 3 emissions.

Secondary data

Available data that was collected as part of previous LCAs or peer reviews (literature), in comparison to primary data, which is data that was gathered directly from the supply chain by the enquiring party. Most impact calculations are based solely on secondary data.

Single source approach

The common practice in the fashion industry is to rely on a single data source to complete data gaps. For example, it is very common to use the same figure of water depletion across different scenarios, relying on a single study made several years ago, and was based on data from a single geo-location.  In reality the quantity of water used for cotton cultivation can vary up to 70% between geographies, farmers or practices. (see Multiple source approach)

Stratospheric ozone depletion (environmental indicator)

Indicator of emissions to air that cause the destruction of the stratospheric ozone layer.

T

Terrestrial acidification (environmental indicator)

Indicator of the potential acidification of soils and water due to the release of gases such as nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides.

Terrestrial ecotoxicity (environmental indicator)

The effects of chemical substances to terrestrial organisms and terrestrial plants.

Tiers 0-4

The fashion industry value chain is divided by tiers:

Tier 0 - Direct operations of the brand such as stores, warehouses and offices.

Tier 1 - Final assembly of the items, often referred to as cut & sew facility.

Tier 2 - Preparation and production of subcomponents such as fabrics and trims.

Tier 3 - Process of raw material such as yarn production

Tier 4 - Cultivation, production and extraction of raw materials from earth, plants and animals, such as cotton cultivation, sheep farming or extraction of fossil fuels.

Since the Rana plaza disaster in Bangladesh in April 2013, it is the norm in the fashion industry to disclose all tier 1 suppliers, the race to full disclosure of the supply chain is underway, currently focusing on tiers 2-3.

Traceability

Traceability is the ability to follow the route that a product is undergoing in all it’s production phases. Fashion supply chains are long, complex and dynamic. The ability of a brand to know who makes their clothes is critical in its attempt to measure and reduce impact.

The fast changing pace of the fashion industry, or the mere need to change from season to season, cause brands to lose track of their own supply chain.  
Dynamic supply chains demand dynamic solutions, in order to facilitate reliable traceability beyond tier 1, where sub-suppliers change constantly.

Transparency

How open is the communication of a brand regarding its suppliers and its impact on people and planet.

Transparency is about being open and accepting the fact that not everything is perfect. Brands are increasingly disclosing scientific information about waste management, energy sources or water depletion across their supply chain. Transparency is the key to customer loyalty in the direct to consumer economy, so much that it reduces customer acquisition and customer retention costs (CAC & CRC).

W

Water depletion (environmental indicator)

The sum of water used in the direct-process or sub-processes (such as energy generation).

SDG

3.9.2.
Plan development for reduction of exposure to chemicals in the air, soil and water

6.4.1
Measure & reduce water depletion across scope 3

7.2.1
Increase energy efficiency & adoption of renewable energy across scope 3

12.2.1
Measuring usage of raw materials tiers 1-4

12.4.1
Better chemistry management across the supply chain

12.6.1
Increase number of sustainable reporting and increase of accuracy rate in reporting by out clients

12.8.1
Increase awareness of sustainable lifestyle and education

13.1.2
Development of Science Based Targets & commitment and reduction plan of Co2 emissions

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