Burton, New Balance, Patagonia, REI Co-op, W.L. Gore & Associates, and OIA come together through OIA’s Climate Action Corps to Decarbonize the Textile and Apparel Sector
BOULDER, CO [February 13, 2023] — Burton, New Balance, Patagonia, REI Co-op, and Gore’s Fabrics Division (Gore) – five members of OIA Climate Action Corps – and OIA are pleased to release the results of a joint-commissioned study regarding the feasibility of electrifying the textile and apparel industry. The study outlines substantial opportunities to implement practices that save companies money and reduce supply chain emissions. Patagonia served as the main sponsor of the study which OIA helped to facilitate. This collaborative project is the latest in a series of steps the industry is taking to mitigate the impacts of the climate crisis.
The study, Electrification of Heating in the Textile Industry: A Techno-Economic Analysis for China, Japan, and Taiwan, explored the potential energy savings, CO2 emissions reductions, and costs for electrification technology pathways. The main findings of the study demonstrate that shifting to industrial heat pumps can lead to substantial energy reductions, reduced CO2 emissions, and lower costs compared to conventional systems. The study also provides several key recommendations for the textile industry and policymakers to scale up electrification in the textile and apparel industry and accelerate carbon emissions reductions.
“One of the biggest issues in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in our apparel and textile supply chains is thermal energy – steam and hot water for heating processes in factories. Can we use something other than coal, natural gas, or other fossil fuels? Our study demonstrates how there is an opportunity to decarbonize thermal heating processes in apparel and textile factories in a way that reduces emissions, energy, and cost over time,” said Sarah Rykal, Senior Manager of OIA’s Climate Action Corps. “This is the first research of its kind, and we are thrilled to now be sharing these findings with suppliers in China, Japan, and Taiwan to help increase sustainability on a broader scale. These results impact the entire fashion industry, not just the outdoor industry.”
Burton, New Balance, Patagonia, REI, Gore, and OIA worked with the industrial decarbonization consulting firm Global Efficiency Intelligence to conduct the study. The goal was to gain critical insights into reducing emissions in the apparel industry’s supply chain by shifting from carbon-intensive thermal heating processes currently powered by fossil fuels to more efficient, clean electrified processes where low- or zero-carbon electricity is used. The research focused on the textile industry with a special focus on tier 2 factories – facilities where materials are produced and finished before going into finished products – in China, Japan, and Taiwan, and applies to other geographies.
“Electrification of process heating will play a vital role in the deep decarbonization of the textile industry and apparel supply chain when tied to renewable electricity. However, it seems like not many managers and engineers in the textile and apparel companies are aware of this huge opportunity. There is certainly a need for more work in this area,” said Ali Hasanbeigi, Ph.D., Research Director at Global Efficiency Intelligence and lead researcher for this study.
“Our global supply chain is the source of most of our carbon emissions, so we must work with factory partners to transform how we make products and reduce the harm done in our name,” said Kim Drenner, Head of Supply Chain Environmental Impact at Patagonia. “We joined REI, New Balance, Gore, and Burton to collaborate with the OIA on this study, so the researchers were able to cover a diverse range of factories and stakeholders. This research is a step forward because it provides tangible, cost-effective ways for suppliers and brands to end their reliance on fossil fuels. We look forward to helping implement these improvements.”
The collaborators have also hosted stakeholder engagement activities to inform stakeholders of the research findings and empower them to adopt clean heat processes that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the textile and apparel industry. The research results have been published on GEI’s website.
About the Outdoor Industry Association
Based in Boulder, Colo., with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is the leading trade association for the outdoor industry. For more than 30 years, OIA has served as the trusted convenor, resource, and voice of the outdoor industry. OIA unites and serves manufacturers, suppliers, sales representatives, and retailer members through its focus on trade and recreation policy, sustainable business innovation, and outdoor participation. The association provides its members with insights, advocacy, and opportunities for action that support the long-term success of outdoor businesses and ensure the outdoor experience for all. For more information, visit outdoorindustry.org
In 1977, Jake Burton Carpenter founded Burton Snowboards out of his Vermont barn and dedicated the rest of his life to snowboarding. Since its founding, Burton has played a pivotal role in growing snowboarding from a backyard hobby to a world-class sport by creating groundbreaking products, supporting a team of top snowboarders, and pushing resorts to allow snowboarding. Today, Burton designs and manufactures industry-leading products for snowboarding and the outdoors. As a sustainability leader within the outdoor and winter sports industries, Burton is the world’s first snowboard company to become a certified B Corporation®. Privately held and owned by Donna Carpenter, Burton’s headquarters are in Burlington, Vermont with offices in Austria, Japan, Australia, Canada, and China. For more information on Burton, head to www.burton.com and follow our line at facebook.com/burtonsnowboards, twitter.com/burtonsnowboard, and @burtonsnowboards on Instagram.
About Gore’s Fabrics Division
Gore revolutionized the outerwear industry with waterproof, breathable GORE-TEX Fabric more than 40 years ago and remains a leading innovator of performance apparel. Gore fabrics products provide comfort and protection in challenging environments and in everyday life, enabling wearers to safely and confidently achieve and experience more. From hiking in downpours to defense operations and fighting fires, Gore’s deep understanding of consumer and industry needs drives development of products with meaningful performance advantages. For more information, visit gore-tex.com and goretexprofessional.com
About New Balance
New Balance, headquartered in Boston, Ma has the following mission: Demonstrating responsible leadership, we build global brands that athletes are proud to wear, associates are proud to create and communities are proud to host. Manufactured in the U.S. for more than 75 years and representing a limited portion of our U.S. sales, New Balance MADE U.S. is a premium collection that contains domestic value of 70% or greater. New Balance owns five factories in New England and one in Flimby, U.K. New Balance employs more than 7,000 associates around the globe and in 2021 reported sales of $4.4 billion. To learn more about New Balance, please visit www.newbalance.com and for the latest press information please visit http://newbalance.newsmarket.com.
We’re in business to save our home planet. Founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973, Patagonia is an outdoor apparel company based in Ventura, California. As a certified B Corporation and a founding member of 1% for the Planet, the company is recognized internationally for its product quality and environmental activism, as well as its contributions of nearly $200 million to environmental organizations. Its unique ownership structure reflects that Earth is its only shareholder: Profits not reinvested back into the business are paid as dividends to protect the planet.
About REI Co-op
REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation’s largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of 21.5 million members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 181 locations in 42 states and the District of Columbia. If you can’t visit a store, you can shop at REI.com, REI Outlet, or the REI shopping app. REI isn’t just about gear. Adventurers can take the trip of a lifetime with REI’s active adventure travel company that runs more than 100 itineraries across the country. In many communities where REI has a presence, professionally trained instructors share their expertise by hosting beginner-to advanced-level classes and workshops about a wide range of activities. To build on the infrastructure that makes life outside possible, REI invests millions annually in hundreds of local and national nonprofits that create access to—and steward—the outdoor places that inspire us all.