We work with industry partners across our supply chain, from monitoring and reducing the use of harmful chemicals in product manufacturing to saving endangered rainforests. 

Managing chemicals with bluesign®

Chemicals are a big part of modern, high-performance fabrics. Every step of the textile manufacturing process – from weaving and dying to applying coatings– uses chemicals. The wrong chemicals or the wrong use of chemicals are harmful to people and the environment.

Bluesign® is an independent chemical auditor that works with producers, manufacturers and brands to reduce harmful chemicals in the textile industry.

Global fabric production alone accounts for approximately 25% of global chemical use, and only 10% of those chemicals come out in the fabric, the rest are either recycled or end up in our waterways, in our land and in our lungs. 

We partnered up with Bluesign® in 2016, and have access to its database of more than 900 chemicals, which are rated as blue (clear to use), silver (use with good management) or black (never use). Bluesign® helps factories manage silver chemicals with good practice and replace black chemicals with bluesign® approved.

“Becoming a bluesign® system partner is a significant step in our sustainable materials strategy,” says Textile R&D and Responsible Materials Manager Manu Rastogi. “We see bluesign® as the gold standard for ensuring that our products are free from hazardous chemicals and are made as responsibly as possible. When we choose bluesign® certified fabrics, we are assured that the raw materials we use help protect not only the environment but also those who come in contact with them: textile workers, factory workers and ultimately, our end consumers.”

Customers know that a bluesign® approved fabric has been manufactured in a way is safe for the environment, safe for workers and safe for consumers.

Protecting forests with CanopyStyle

The loss of these critical forests puts species, communities, our climate, the outdoors and therefore our business at risk. At Kathmandu, we support a future that does not use ancient and endangered forests in our man-made cellulosic fabrics.

Head of Product Innovation and Product Sustainability, Manu Rastogi

Is your top made of trees? Man-made viscose comes from wood fibres. It sometimes goes by name of rayon, modal or lyocell. The textile industry, especially the fashion industry, is using more and more of it every year. And that's fine, except when this growing demand starts to put pressure on endangered forests.

Every year, between 70 and 120 million trees are felled for fabric. That’s enough to circle the equator seven times.

Trees might not be the best source of pulp. The current process wastes approximately 70% of the tree and uses a lot of chemicals to manufacture. One of Kathmandu partner CanopyStyle’s solutions is to support the development of alternative pulp sources from agricultural waste.

By working with both producers and consumers (brands), CanopyStyle has locked in the manufacturers responsible for 70% of global viscose production to take steps to make sure they aren’t sourcing material from endangered forests.

As an individual, your choices matter. Ask questions. When you spot a tag that says rayon, modal or viscose, ask what the brand is doing to ensure that the fibre is not coming from ancient and endangered forests. Does the company have a policy in place to work towards the protection of forests?