The production of footwear and apparel requires significant amounts of energy throughout various stages of production, including fibre production, fabric manufacturing, dyeing processes, transportation, and distribution. The emission level largely depends on the type of machinery and processes used in a particular factory and the energy mix in the region where each production stage occurs. The fact that some factories use renewable energy and the distance between production stages also affect emissions.
Due to the complexity and the global nature of the fashion supply chain, using industry averages (secondary data) is not deemed a viable option to accurately measure a product’s energy consumption and carbon footprint of individual production processes. Therefore, an accurate calculation requires a professional life cycle analysis (LCA) using data from the actual facilities and supply chain (primary data). However, conducting a comprehensive LCA ranges from €4,000 to €8,000 per product. Given the large number of products that a brand releases each year, this cost may be unaffordable for many companies.
SANE recognizes the importance of the measurement of product energy consumption and carbon emission. The material choice accounts for up to two-thirds of a fashion brand’s environmental footprint, so it is one of the main criteria for a material to be included in SANE’s Approved Materials List (see requirement 1.1).
Further calculation of carbon emission, including manufacturing processes, transportation, distribution, post-purchase phase, and end-of-life, will also be included in SANE’s requirements as soon as reliable data for individual products are available at a reasonable cost.