e-textile: the Online Source for Efficient Textile Production

  • Project no.3407
  • Duration 04/2003 - 10/2004

Production processes that extend across several continents are widespread in the age of globalisation. The majority of businesses that operate transnationally depend on raw materials, intermediate or finished products from every continent. As a response to businesses' growing political and economic influence in the course of the globalisation, expectations to improve the sustainability performance are being voiced by governments and other stakeholders.

This development is particularly pronounced in the textile industry, given that the production of the clothing worn in Western countries has largely been moved to other parts of the world. An international project consortium lead by the Wuppertal Institute has developed the e-textile toolbox, promoting sustainability improvements along the textile chain.

e-textile combines elements of further training with practical management tools and a database with technical improvement options - its aim is to increase businesses' awareness of social aspects of sustainability and to raise eco-efficiency in the textile industry. Systematic identification of improvement potential and documentation of current performance also help improve communication along the chain and increase product quality.

Key elements of the open internet platform are:

  • e-learning: An online course with background information on eco-efficiency, cleaner production, textile production and environmental management systems.
  • e-efficiency: a simplified performance management system which tackles specific improvement areas such as cleaner production, quality control or risk management to help realize the potential for ecological and social improvements. Step by step, users learn how to identify the status quo in their business with the aid of performance figures, uncover potential for improvements and implement appropriate measures.
  • e-solutions: A database giving an overview of over two hundred tested textile-specific eco­efficiency measures; a search engine gives easy access to descriptions of individual measures.

The primary target group of the toolbox are small and medium-size businesses engaged in textile production. While the emphasis is on Asia, the project also addresses large, transnational corporations managing the manufacturing and subcontracting chains.

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