EIM: Creating a New Global Standard for Apparel Sustainability
An Interview with Begoña Garcia Victoria, R&D Sustainable Processing Leader, Jeanologia
SciveraLENS® is proud to partner with Jeanologia to provide safer and sustainable chemistry insight to the global apparel industry. Our platform provides all chemistry impact scores used in Jeanologia’s EIM platform.
Jeanologia is a family company founded in 1994 with the mission to help promote an ethical, sustainable, and eco-efficient textile & apparel industry. They do this by helping clients optimize the finishing processes for garments—focusing on casual wear and denim.
As the company has expanded from consulting to actually developing technologies to help save time and resources in the finishing process, they’ve realized the need for a broader framework that could help suppliers, manufacturers, and brands get on the same page regarding expectations around water usage, energy consumption, worker health, safe chemicals, and other sustainable practices. Thus, they took their internal Environmental Impact Measurement (EIM) program and expanded it externally to help align supply chains.
We want to take an active part in transforming the textile industry into 100% sustainable. We would like to dehydrate, detoxify the industry by re-using or using zero water and waste, produce with zero waste-water, produce using “white chemistry” that is not harmful and cut the produce energy use to minimum.Begoña
WHY SUSTAINABLE FINISHING?
As much as 120L of water can be used in finishing a single pair of jeans. Plus, the chemicals used in dyes and acid washes could be harmful to workers and end consumers. Long story short, the finishing process can be unsafe and unsustainable. More consumers are pushing for sustainability and safety in their products, and so brands are implementing more and more sustainability practices to meet this growing need. This is trickling down to manufacturers and suppliers, and if suppliers are able to take control of their own sustainability efforts, they can create finishing processes that lend themselves to clean, sustainable, circular products.
Our innovation driver is sustainability, so we would consider everything that works for the environment and human health and discard anything that puts any of these two at risk. Basically, even if a production process is strong and gives a perfect end product, it’s not good enough if it doesn’t meet our sustainability goals.Begoña
WHAT IS EIM?
The Environmental Impact Management (EIM) program is a tool for improvement—not a certification. The reason for this is to reduce barriers for entry along the supply chain for suppliers who want to be more sustainable but may not be in a financial position to pursue certification. The EIM tool allows you to gather data easily for finishing processes to see where the process might have room for improvement.
EIM is implementing a common language in the industry by analyzing four key areas using the same criteria.
- Water consumption
- Energy consumption
- Chemicals used and their impact on environment and human health
- Worker health in manual textile production
By including chemical impact and worker health in its scoring methodology, EIM provides a holistic view into the impact of products and processes that brands and consumers can use to help ensure a product was created sustainably.
We have a common objective—to improve the finishes, and EIM is the language that we use. EIM has been very useful for brands to understand what’s happening with their garments without having to go very deep in the process or in requesting information on intellectual property of their vendors.Begoña
HOW DOES EIM SCORE?
EIM scores each of its key areas and then generates a cumulative score. For the chemical component, EIM utilizes the SciveraLENS platform. Within the platform, EIM users are able to submit products for scoring and preview their chemical impact while also benefiting from the many tools Scivera offers for safer chemicals management, including automatically checking regulatory lists and Restricted Substances Lists (RSLs), accessing 4,500+ Chemical Hazard Assessments that feature an easy-to-understand dashboard as well as deeper level information, and generating safety reports that don’t compromise intellectual property.
Chemistry is a very important component in garment finishing. For years, the industry hasn’t looked at chemistry. It was considered “dirty” because no one was thinking about what we are using, we were thinking about the end product we get. So chemical impact was hugely ignored. EIM is helping to shift that mentality to get suppliers to understand the importance of using safe chemicals both for the end user as well as their workers.Begoña
ARE THERE ANY ADDITIONAL BENEFITS FOR EIM USERS?
Once products are scored, they can be listed in the EIM registry, allowing suppliers to get their name in front of hundreds of finishing facilities and brands across the globe as they select inputs for manufacturing safe and sustainable garments.
EIM offers visualization into what laundries are doing and how to improve. EIM lets laundries have a global view of the process. They can ask questions and with this improve what they are doing. We work together to find alternatives and give laundries the information to visualize the problem and make conscious changes.Begoña
In conclusion, it will take all of us to create a more sustainable future. With tools like the EIM program, we can glean insights into how to make our processes and products more sustainable and safe. Scivera is proud to be a partner in the EIM program. Contact us to learn more about the SciveraLENS platform. Learn more about EIM and Jeanologia at jeanologia.com/eim/.
The transformation starts with us and it is necessary. Changing the mindset and taking responsibility is a challenge, but we are able to create products with very little impact and this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s more expensive—in many cases it’s cheaper. But the way of doing things needs to change, and EIM can help with that.Begoña
Begoña Garcia Victoria serves on the Innovation Team at Jeanologia as R&D sustainable processing leader. She focuses in promoting and implementing Jeanologia technologies as key elements for a more sustainable finishing industry. Ms. Garcia joined Jeanologia in 1997 and has lead various projects focused on industrial solutions to garment manufacturing and finishing process techniques. Since 2008 she worked to create the Environmental Impact Measurement (EIM) software, a standard to measure the environmental impact of laundry processes used nowadays for many brands and retailers all over the world. Prior to joining Jeanologia, Ms. Garcia received her degree in Textile Engineering with research focusing on Eco Labels. She completed her studies with a post degree in Quality Management and Business Administration.