The environmental impacts of textiles
The lifelong environmental impacts of textile products are affected by the raw materials, their origin and the durability of the product, in addition to the production method. According to research, as much as two thirds of the life-long environmental impacts of a textile product are created during the use and disposal of the product.
The products of Nanso Group are made from quality materials and they are intended to withstand use, meaning they are also an excellent choice for a consumer who values ecological products. The role of the consumer in reducing the environmental load of textiles is to buy a product appropriate for its intended use and to care for it in accordance with the care instructions.
The quality of products is an unambiguous value for Nanso Group and, when choosing raw materials, Nanso focuses primarily on their quality. Nanso Group has aimed to increase the proportion of ecological raw materials in the products and their packaging. This objective directs the product development of Nanso Group that follows the development of the industry and is constantly testing new material alternatives. It has been a challenge finding ecological materials that fulfil the quality requirements set by Nanso Group for its products.
Ranking materials according to their environmental qualities is challenging, since the quality of the raw material significantly affects the life of the product and, therefore, the environmental impacts of the entire life of the textile.
In 2013, the most-used raw material in Nanso Group products was cotton. Other raw materials commonly used in the company’s products are viscose, modal, and polyamide that is used as the basic raw material of tights. Diverse material choices offer the customers and consumers an opportunity to make choices that suit their own values.
We want to increase the consumers’ knowledge of the materials used in our products, which is why we will keep updating these pages with information on the environmental impacts of the materials.
Cotton is the most-cultivated textile fibre in the world, and in the developing countries, it is the economical base of many cultivation communities. The cultivation of cotton often takes place in areas with little water, which is environmentally challenging, due to the use of pesticides and extensive irrigation. In addition, the production chain of cotton is often difficult to track, as spinners usually mix fibres produced in different continents to make high-quality thread. The cotton threads used by Nanso Group are primarily made of cotton cultivated in Australia, the United States, Turkey, India, and Pakistan, but with the current tools, finding the exact origin is impossible.
Regardless, cotton has qualities that suit our products well. It is a relatively durable fibre that breathes, absorbs humidity, and is easy to dye. Cotton feels pleasant against the skin and does not develop static electricity. With modern finishing treatment, cotton’s weaknesses, such as wrinkling and shrinkage during washing, can also be significantly improved.
Fair Trade cotton
In addition to regular cotton, Nanso Group also uses cotton cultivated in accordance with the Fair Trade principles. The production of Fair Trade cotton always follows the Fair Trade principles that e.g. prohibit the use of genetically modified seeds in the cultivation and aim to replace synthetic fertilisers and pesticides with organic methods. The growers in the developing countries are paid, at the minimum, the Fair Trade guaranteed price for Fair Trade cotton. At the very least, this price always covers the costs of cultivation, even if the market price of cotton fluctuates. In addition, cultivation co-ops are paid a separate Fair Trade supplement that is used for developing initiatives benefitting the community.
The Fair Trade cotton that takes ethical and ecological aspects of cultivation into account fits well with the values of Nanso Group. We manufacture the products of the Nanso and Finnwear brands by using Fair Trade cotton.
Bamboo viscose is a modified fibre that is made from the cellulose of the bamboo plant, using the traditional production methods of viscose. The production of viscose fibre consumes extensive amounts of water, energy and chemicals hazardous to the environment. However, bamboo viscose can be considered to be a relatively environment-friendly alternative, as bamboo is one of the most rapidly growing grasses in the world, and its cultivation does not require irrigation, fertilisers, or pesticides.
The round shape and smooth surface of the bamboo fibre gives the knit a soft feel, a refined shine and vibrant, deep colours. Because of its hollow structure, bamboo fibre balances the temperature, i.e. warms the wearer in cold weather and cools the wearer in warm weather. Due to the fibre’s structure, bamboo can also absorb great amounts of humidity without feeling wet. Because of these unparalleled characteristics, bamboo viscose is particularly popular in products that are used close to the skin.
Lyocell (Tencel) is a modified fibre made from the cellulose of the eucalyptus tree. The production process of lyocell is very environment-friendly, as the mass diluent used in the process is non-toxic and it can be recycled during the process. Due to the closed production process, the production of lyocell also consumes less water and energy than the production of other modified cellulose fibres.
The feel of a lyocell knit is luxuriously soft and silky. The lyocell fibre’s ability to control the humidity balance is twice as good as cotton’s, and it has both a cooling and a warming effect. The downside of lyocell is its long and expensive production process.