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Textile Exchange: Catalyzing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Textile Exchange is a global non-profit that works to drive change in the textile industry through preferred fibers, integrity and standards, and responsible supply networks.  Thought leaders from around the world will gather at Textile Exchange’s Textile Sustainability Conference in Washington D.C. on October 9-13 to create action and develop a 2030 roadmap for the textile industry. To design this roadmap, Textile Exchange is framing the conference around adopting specific Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Although there are 17 Sustainable Development Goals with 169 associated targets, Textile Exchange has narrowed the focus to five SDGs that fit the textile industry in hopes of igniting leadership in these specific categories. Below are the select SDGs and sub-goals suggested for industry players to address:

  1. SDG Goal 6: Water. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
    • 6.3 By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally
    • 6.4 By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity
  2. SDG Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
    • 12.2 By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources
    • 12.4 By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment
    • 12.5 By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse
    • 12.6 Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle
    • 12.7 Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities
    • 12.8 By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature
  3. SDG Goal 14: Life Below Water. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
    • 14.1 By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
  4. SDG Goal 15: Life on Land. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
    • 15.9 By 2020, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts
  5. SDG Goal 17: Partnerships.  Textile Exchange members and conference participants will begin work to identify partnerships that will further advance work on the SDGs.

It’s great to see an organization helping to connect businesses with industry-based work toward achieving the SDGs.  Textile Exchange has identified these five SDGs as the key areas where textile companies can have the greatest, most meaningful impact. The conference will provide insights and examples of what companies can contribute to solving the highlighted global issues.

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