Hemp can play a fundamental role for the textile sector in terms of sustainability. Currently the textile industry is exploring new materials and working methods in order to move towards a more responsible production model. For this, the industry focuses on the production and transformation of fibers of natural origin from renewable sources. Materials such as hemp had already been used by our ancestors for clothing. Cristóbal Colón himself and the crew on the expedition to India wore hemp fiber-based garments.
The domino effect driven by hemp
Currently the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) is at the forefront of these textile projects based on hemp fibers.
The textile sector represents the fourth largest consumer of raw materials and water, only ahead of us can we find the food sector, construction and transport.
As of 2021, among the main objectives of any economic model should be the reduction of the carbon footprint and the low environmental impact in the production and transformation of raw materials. That is why the EU aims to boost the market for sustainable textiles with eco-friendly design. In the use of hemp, the use of local raw materials is promoted and the use of chemical substances is reduced in its production.
Positive value chain
The European textile industry has experienced a period of difficult progress in its small and medium-sized industries due to the production and transformation of raw materials on other continents. Currently the EU continues to recover pieces of its sovereignty in the industry. However, 60% of the production in terms of value, continues to originate outside the continent.
Recovering the European textile sector would mean a positive domino effect to boost the value chain and the creation of local jobs. Boosting the European textile sector would mean promoting the development of new varieties of hemp for fiber production, thus increasing the productivity and efficiency of the raw material as well as the quality of the fabrics. In addition to reinforcing other products from hemp.
Some of the EIHA recommendations:
- Study and recognize the potential of the hemp plant as a fixative of atmospheric CO2 to the soil.
- Publicize the incredible attributes of the plant in terms of soil regeneration and its contribution to biodiversity.
- Recognize the value of natural fiber in the market and consider it as an alternative to a current unsustainable model.
- To achieve models close to zero waste, the recyclability and compostability of the final products must be considered.
- Investigate and apply the best possible technologies to provide innovation and tools that allow the development of sustainable models.
- Reduce polluting products from agriculture to the end of the process of transformed products. Taking into account the environmental impact of microplastics where a review of the regulations of the used products is needed to avoid their release and a clear regulation with imminent deadlines and terms.
- Regulate traceability with new technologies with certification systems that add value to certain environmentally responsible products.
- Implementation of established European standards and set aside private certifications in the textile industry.
- Establish contact with the interested parties in the participation of the value chain where points of interest are established and expose the concerns on equal terms and design between all and all favorable policies for the sectors involved in production without neglecting sustainability of the processed products.