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More clothes are being produced than used. According to one study, one garbage truck of textiles (about 12 to 14 tonnes) is wasted every second. In 2017, the value of unused clothes exceeded US$36 billion. In addition to these, consumer demand for fast, cheap apparel continues to increase.
While there already exists solutions to help consumers shift away from a throwaway lifestyle, companies are turning to responsible sourcing from more renewable sources and implementing innovation in the manufacturing process. This involves exploring alternative feedstock, making the process more closed-loop, reducing chemical usage and wastes, and accelerating the commercial implementation of trials, all the while maintaining high quality and affordability.
To address the opportunities and challenges arising from these trends, RGE announced a US$200 million investment over the next 10 years to help fast and linear fashion become more circular and sustainable.
Towards Circularity and Sustainability in the Fashion Industry
This announcement comes on the back of RGE Director Anderson Tanoto’s World Economic Forum opinion piece, which called for a move towards circularity and sustainability in an industry that is increasingly aware of its resource-intensive, wasteful and waste-generating ways.
Similar calls are also being made across the industry, with additional focus on embedding sustainability in the value chain and advancing the agenda for producers to innovate for closed-loop, regenerative textile manufacturing outcomes.
Revealed ahead of the Textile Exchange Sustainability Conference in Vancouver, the investment will focus on three areas: Scaling up proven clean technology in fibre manufacturing; bringing pilot scale production to commercial scale; and increase R&D in emerging frontier solutions. The investment is respectively apportioned 70:20:10.
Mr Bey Soo Khiang, Vice Chairman of RGE, shares the reason for the investment, “This is a strategic business growth area for RGE. Our integrated portfolio of companies across pulp, fibre and yarn production puts us in a unique upstream position in the textile value chain to realise commercial scale and affordable solutions that support downstream manufacturers and brands.”
Singapore-based RGE is the world’s largest viscose producer with a total annual production capacity of 1.4 million tonnes through its business groups Sateri in China and Asia Pacific Rayon (APR) in Indonesia.
Find out more in the news release.