ISO 16759 for Textiles

medium_laurel2015.jpgThe weekly Verdigris blog by Laurel Brunner

When ISO 16759 for calculating the carbon footprint of print media products was under development, we mostly had in mind paper based prints. It is interesting to see this standard being deployed for other types of print media, which is what a Taiwanese supplier of textiles has done.

Shortly after ISO 16759 was announced in July 2013, Globle-Tex found that various sportsware providers were starting to take more interest in the carbon footprint of their products. This included some big names in the sports business such as Puma, New Balance, Lacoste and le Coq Sportif. Globle-Tex’s response was to develop carbon footprint data for its printed textiles, based on Life Cycle Analyses for these customers. Even though the target application for ISO 16759 is primarily paper based prints, Globle-Tex rightly recognised that the standard can be used for any type of print. This includes the obvious traditional printing applications such as books, newspapers, magazines and so on, but it also includes textile printing. According to Globle-Tex it applies to printed electronics and three dimensional prints such as shoes as well.

ISO 16759 is being applied at each stage of a Globle-Tex product’s development and extends to delivery. The company apparently measures the carbon footprint of the material manufacture and printing, the machinery used to do the printing and all subsidiary print processes such as labels, packaging and product literature. Globle-Tex state that they want to be able to determine the carbon footprint of everything required to produce their bespoke textiles.

Globle-Tex sells fabrics on demand, both fully and semi-processed, and produced on their own dye sub digital printers. Globle-Tex has rather curiously achieved certification to ISO 16759:2013 for its digital sublimation printing machine, as well as its digital UV printing machine. The certification extends to the materials produced on these printers, which are used to produce customised textiles printed on demand. The textile products are printed on what the company claims are eco-friendly materials and produced in a sustainable supply chain.

This company claims to be leading the Asian market with respect to its active engagement in print carbon footprinting. The certification to ISO 16759 is part of Globle-Tex’s effort to improve its social responsibility and to anticipate the expectations of customers, particularly in developed markets. With considerable foresight, Globle-Tex expects that apparel companies will expect suppliers to be able to demonstrate eco-friendly thinking that supports corporate sustainability goals. This is a sound approach, as government commitments start to trickle down to corporations and their supply chains, including print service providers.

– Laurel Brunner

The Verdigris project is an industry initiative intended to raise awareness of print’s positive environmental impact. It provides a weekly commentary to help printing companies keep up to date with environmental standards, and how environmentally friendly business management can help improve their bottom lines. Verdigris is supported by the following companies: Agfa Graphics, EFI, Epson, Fespa, HP, Kodak, Kornit, Ricoh, Spindrift, Splash PR, Unity Publishing and Xeikon.

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