Key Drivers of Sustainability for the Future

In recent years, the textile care industry has increasingly focused on sustainability. Not without reason: focus on sustainability not only makes a positive contribution to a better world, but also ensures financial savings in the own company and a positive corporate image that can be propagated to stakeholders. The key drivers in the field of sustainability in the future lie in three areas: 1. Sustainability in the textile service sector itself. 2. Intensification of textile use. 3. Circularity. Together they form the basis for healthy business operations in the future.


Core value

Sustainability is increasingly seen as a core value that not only generates the goodwill of stakeholders and thus a positive corporate image, but is also necessary for survival in the future. Companies that today fall short in propagating the right sustainability or social values ​​are increasingly being publicly reprimanded. A study by Morgan Stanley shows that the most successful investors in the world see sustainability as a core factor in companies: without a focus on sustainability, a company is no longer a safe investment. 88% of these investors selected climate change, water conservation, plastic waste and a circular economy as the most important elements of sustainability. It is therefore not only desirable, but imperative that the textile service company of the future distinguish itself in these areas and make it increasingly meritorious. The good news: spectacular results can be achieved, especially if the textile chain starts working together in this area. A future in which sustainable professional cleaning contributes to a more intensive use of textiles and clothing and the sector has the potential to become almost completely circular.


Key Driver 1: Sustainability in the textile service sector itself

The textile services sector is now aware of what it can achieve itself in the context of sustainability. Professional washing is five times more sustainable than washing at home. In the B2C segment, laundry-on-demand initiatives continue to build on the trends among consumers to manage their acquisitions online, want to outsource and experience convenience. In the B2B sector, the importance of hygiene, quality and sustainability is becoming increasingly crucial. This will inevitably steer the healthcare, catering and trade & industry of the future towards the professional capacities of (industrial) laundries. With water savings of 35-80%, energy savings of 17% and a reduction in CO2 emissions of 24%, professional textile care offers a solution in the areas that 88% of investors consider essential in a company. The environmental impact of plastic microfibers will also increasingly come to the fore.



Phenomenal results in drinking water savings through professional textile cleaning

The future: bigger & better

The savings that are currently being achieved await continuous optimization for the future. Trends such as the analysis of data that are kept during washing, extensive automation, advanced logistics and continuous improvement of energy and water-saving equipment for both textile cleaners and laundries are increasingly sharpening the position of these companies. From savings in one or more areas, more and more companies will focus on a holistic concept in which all savings are aligned to achieve results of a whole new level. The German CHMS, which won the CINET GBPAP 2020 Award for Sustainability in the Industrial Textile Services category, is a good example of this. Through intensive knowledge of all techniques and processes, this company has created an exceptional level of sustainability that inspires others.

The textile industry is the second most polluting industry after oil

Key Driver 2: Intensification of textile use

The textile industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. She uses the most raw materials and water after the food, housing and transport industries. It is No. 2 among the largest land consumers and No. 5 among the most CO2 emitting sectors. It emits even more CO2 than international aviation and sea shipping combined. Most worryingly, apparel production has doubled in the last 15 years. The world population is growing explosively and the middle class is growing proportionately faster and has more to spend. Fast fashion clothing collections follow each other in rapid succession, with constantly new fashion styles, and often extremely low prices.


Rental concepts and cooperation with the textile cleaner

Where the textile service sector has been engaged in rental concepts for its customers for much longer (rental of sheets, towels, but also corporate clothing is increasingly the norm), these concepts are also experiencing an emergence in the fashion industry. Companies such as Rent the Runway in the US, clothing library LENA in Amsterdam and online clothing rental company WAUWCloset, which won the Young Executive Professional (YEP) Award during the CINET GPBAP 2020, are achieving widespread success. By renting clothes, the consumer can always wear something different without having to make a purchase, especially interesting when it comes to expensive designer clothes. With these rental concepts, the customer often does not have to clean the clothing himself. After use, it is returned to the clothing rental company, which works together with a textile cleaner. For example, YCloset in Beijing, China, works together with renowned textile cleaning chain and laundry Nantong Fornet and WAUWCloset in the Netherlands entered into a partnership with professional cleaner Vendrig in IJsselstein. Cleaning, stock management, logistics and return logistics, carrier management systems and access to the clothing industry are carefully coordinated at Vendrig and WAUWCloset. For example, the textile services sector can make a major contribution to an intensification of textile use.

Clothing rental of expensive designer clothes is the future


Key Driver 3: Circularity

The result of fast fashion is that most of our clothing ends up in the landfill within a year. Every year, we take no less than 85% of our wardrobe to the landfill: that’s the equivalent of one garbage truck full of textile per second. Less than 1% of that is recycled. Dizzying numbers. The idea that the textile industry could be circular is now gaining ground. H&M introduced the world’s first in-store recycling system, in which the clothing is cleaned with ozone, shredded and spun into yarn: after about five hours, the machine has made a new garment from the discarded item. Social enterprise i-did creates design products from discarded corporate clothing from, for example, KLM, Ikea and  the amusement park Efteling. Together with Ikea, which aspires to be fully circular in all its products by 2030, it also created a collection of table runners, towels, tea towels and kitchen aprons. In the textile care sector, HAVEP was already at the forefront of recycling post-consumer textiles into new corporate clothing. Where it can now recycle 75%, it wants to increase that further in the future. If the textile sector succeeds in joining forces chain-wide, it will have all the capabilities in-house to open the doors to a thoroughly restructured future and to put itself on the map in an impressive way.

i-did gives new life to corporate clothing from KLM, Ikea and Efteling