Our Environmental Impacts

There is no doubt the environmental impacts of fashion and textiles are far-reaching. In their 2020 report Fashion on Climate, McKinsey estimate that the fashion industry worldwide produces 4% of global emissions, is the second-largest consumer of water and the second highest polluting industry. In addition, the amount of clothing produced globally has doubled since 2000 - with consumers buying more but using their clothing less, with up to 85% of all textiles produced in a year ending up in landfills.

TFS Fashion Revolution 2022

Our aim at The Fabric Store is to lead the development of an ethical, circular and regenerative economy for textiles in Australasia. For our business, this means ensuring we are not negatively impacting waterways and ecosystems through monitoring the use of water and chemicals in our supply chain, aligning our operations with the New Zealand 2025 Packaging Declaration and engaging with our suppliers to help them transition to a carbon-zero economy. It means gaining a better understanding of regenerative agriculture and working with our suppliers to help them develop regenerative systems.

Learn more about our key areas of impact by clicking on the buttons below.


Fabric Supply Model

At the core of our business is a desire to rework the traditional textile supply model, and we've approached our buying with this in mind right from the start. Typically, fabrics for the creative community are commissioned or purchased as entirely new textiles. We believe this primary model creates a damaging and contradictory system of waste, a system essentially modelled on the fast-fashion industry, and one that increasingly impresses a ‘fast-sewing’ methodology upon the home sewist.

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Our mission at The Fabric Store is to ensure the fabrics and products we offer to the creative community are promoting slow sewing, through a transparent, safe and circular supply model.

Of the fabrics we purchase, around 85% are sourced as designer deadstock. The remaining 15% of our fabrics are those that we mill exclusively, and these are manufactured under strict code of conduct adherence in collaboration with mills we have trusted, long-standing partnerships with. Our aim is to provide transparent information about what we sell, and to educate our community as to the pros and cons for deadstock vs new fabrics, to help us all make informed decisions about our creative endeavours!

Learn more about our Exclusive Fabric ranges, and about Deadstock Fabrics, via the two links below.

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Water + Chemicals

The fashion and textiles industry is not only estimated to be the second most water-intensive industry in the world, but a major polluter of water at all stages of the value chain, from the agricultural runoff from crop growing fields, to the dying process releasing toxic chemicals and the washing of clothes releasing microplastics.

These are some scary statistics, and we're acutely aware of our responsibility to do as much as we can to ensure the fabrics we sell are not only completely safe for use by our community, but have as minimal impact on water and pollution as possible. Across the fabrics we mill directly, we look for a series of specific certifications that relate to water and chemicals, these include GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) and OEKO-TEX Standard 100.

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GOTS Organic

GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) is the international gold standard in organic textile certification, and we’re proud to say that our exclusive Organic Cotton and Organic Linen ranges are both GOTS certified by the independent auditing body Control Union [1146287]. Not only does GOTS ensure total organic fibre content, but it also covers a raft of other critical environmental criteria including:

— Use of GOTS approved colourants and auxiliaries in wet-processing only
— Processing units must demonstrate environment management, including wastewater treatment
— Technical quality parameters for colour fastness and shrinkage for finished goods required
— Restrictions on additional fibre materials
— Environmentally hazardous substances prohibited in chemical inputs
— Evaluation of toxicity and biodegradability for chemical inputs

For further reading, browse the full list of key features of the GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) here.

OEKO-TEX Standard 100

OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certification has become one of the most widely known textile certifications and ensures that finished textiles have been tested for harmful substances in human ecological terms. OEKO-TEX has globally standardised testing criteria and follows rigid independent testing.

To attain OEKO-TEX Standard 100® certification, fabrics must be tested and confirmed to be free from harmful levels of more than 100 chemicals that known to be unsafe for people. These include banned toxic or allergic substances such as azo colourants, formaldehyde, pentachlorophenol, cadmium and nickel, to name a few. Textiles also need to be colourfast and deemed safe for any emission of VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) and are also required to have a skin friendly pH level.

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Sustainable Laundering Tips

It's often easy to overlook the impact our own garment laundering at home can have on the environment and the health of our loved ones! Below are a few tips to help reduce the environmental impact of your laundry routine at home, as well as save you money and keep those handmade clothes lasting longer.

— Wash your clothes as little as possible, to help them last as long as possible! To help keep them fresh between washes, air them out and use gentle steam to revitalise.
— Pick an eco-friendly detergent and use it sparingly, avoiding optical brighteners, dyes, perfumes, bleach, or softening agents.
— Try to use cold water where possible to help your garments retain their colours for longer, plus you'll save in energy usage from not requiring water to be heated.
— Capture the microfibres, using a guppy bag or micro plastic filter.
— Air dry your clothes where possible to help lengthen their life and save in energy usage too!

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We are proud to say that all of our paper packaging and paper retail components are FSC certified! Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international, independent, non-governmental, not for profit organisation established to promote the responsible management of the world's forests. Products carrying the FSC® label are independently certified to assure consumers that they come from forests that are managed to meet the social, economic and ecological needs of present and future generations.

FSC certification creates an incentive for forest owners and managers to follow best social and environmental practices including the protection of wildlife habitats and high conservation value forests, annual forest management, worker safety and well-being, respect for the rights of indigenous peoples and communities, the safeguarding of waterways and the reduction of pesticide use.

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Our paper packaging and carry bags are coloured with non-toxic vegetable based inks, which are less harmful to the environment than their petroleum-based counterparts! Vege inks release significantly fewer VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) into the atmosphere during the drying process, and also allow our printers to use water-based products to clean their printing press after production.

Placed a mail order with one of our stores or made a purchase online recently? It's likely your order will have been delivered to you in one of our certified compostable (AS4736) mailer bags made from corn starch. We're still transferring over a few of our mailer sizes to this new material, and we encourage you to reuse these where possible. When you need to discard them they will break down in six months in home or commercial compost, including in a worm farm!

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Waste Management

We strive for responsible internal practices in all of our locations and our new Head Office and warehouse is at the forefront of this thinking with energy efficient lighting, heating and appliances as well as a worm farm, composting and rainwater filtering systems, and solar panels in 2022. We practise diligent recycling within all our branches and everything from fabric and paper scraps to plastic shipping bags are separated out and re-used or recycled in some way. Learn more about our fabric donation programmes here.

Our choices for all sundry items like cleaning products, sellotape and printing paper are all made with both the environment and local business in mind and we are constantly looking for ways to improve our choices!

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Energy + Emissions

At The Fabric Store, we are know the earth is in a fragile state and we recognise the need to transition our business to a carbon-zero economy. Decarbonising our business is no small task! As a business that operates primarily from New Zealand, our location presents us with many challenges. One of those challenges stems from New Zealand's inability to produce or mill fabric onshore at a commercial scale, meaning everything we purchase is sourced internationally. To get fabrics here, we're reliant on global freight companies powered by non-renewable fossil fuels.

This year (2022), as part of our Sustainability Strategy, we'll begin mapping and calculating our carbon footprint. We're aiming to work with local businesses here in New Zealand that favor offsetting projects focusing on the growth and protection of our indigenous forests.

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Mapping our carbon footprint will help us to better understand exactly what activities in our business produce the highest emissions, and therefore what we should prioritise! This will include the freight services we use, the amount of air travel we undertake, the type of company vehicles we use, the energy we consume at our various locations and the ways our team members travel to and from work. Alongside this, we're developing a supplier code of conduct which contains specific points regarding the management of greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency and air pollution.

© the Fabric Store
Location — Australia