The Fashion Pact, an affiliate member of The Microfibre Consortium

Coloured wool fabric under the microscope, tones of burgundy, mustard, dark orange, black and olympic blue. Macro photography. Generated by AI.

The Ocean mapping conducted by Systemiq end of 2021 put forward microfibre leakage in oceans and waterways as a priority issue to address as a collective.

As The Microfibre Consortium (TMC) is as an expert organisation conducting significant work in this space, The Fashion Pact became an affiliate member of The Microfibre Consortium in 2022 to support its efforts.  

In the aim of building on existing and ensuring alignment across the textile industry, The Fashion Pact encourages its members to join The Microfibre Consortium. Learn more here.

Why is microfibre leakage an issue? 

Microfibre leakage into the environment through water and air pathways has been shown to cause damage to marine life and respiratory stress to humans; both synthetics and non-synthetic textiles are a major contributor to microfibre shedding. 

The EU is looking to regulate the fashion sector to reduce these negative impacts and many brands/retailers are committed to reduce the microfibre fragmentation of their products.  

What can be done to address the problem? 

Switching to lower impact fabric, fibre and finishing options is the most direct way to reduce microfibre fragmentation (i.e. better design choices); however, there is not yet enough science-based evidence to inform which choices should be made to minimise microfibre loss.

Brands should contribute to the standardised testing of their fabrics in order to improve the statistical certainty on shedding properties, thereby accelerating the development of a global rating system and ultimately pull forward the timeline for action – the more brands do this the faster impact can be achieved as an industry.

How does The Microfibre Consortium help tackle the issue? 

The mission of The Microfibre Consortium (TMC) is to connect and translate deep academic research with the reality of commercial supply chain production; their goal is to offer solutions to brands, retailers and manufacturers to transform textile production for the greater good of our ecosystems.

TMC’s Microfibre 2030 Commitment and Roadmap lay a common framework towards zero microfibre fragmentation to the natural environment by 2030. TMC provides various tools to its signatories, including:

  • The TMC Test Method, a harmonized and validated test method to quantify fibre release from fabrics during simulated domestic laundering;
  • The Microfibre Data Portal, one of the largest industry database on fibre fragmentation globally that houses both test results and technical specifications. This acts as a pivotal tool for scaling research into root causes of fibre fragmentation to support greater data analysis and onward dissemination of learnings.
  • The Microfibre Knowledge Hub, a practical tool providing brands, retailers and suppliers with the information they need to act on microfibres (currently in development).

As an affiliate member of TMC, The Fashion Pact encourages its members to become full signatories of TMC to accelerate the timeline on closing the knowledge gap around microfibres and to implement mitigation actions.

If you are interested in joining TMC or if you want to learn more about their work, please visit their website here or reach out to them by clicking here.

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