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Microfibre Consortium Builds Global Reach

TMC Chair Sophie Mather Credit: Jonathan Simpson

The Microfibre Consortium (TMC) has announced details of three new members which have joined the organisation’s initiative to develop practical solutions to minimise microfibre release into the environment from the textile industry.

The American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC), Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE) and Textile Exchange have signed up as research and affiliate members, boosting the consortium’s growing international scope to support greater global topic alignment and collaboration.

Following the formation and management of The Outdoor Microfibre Consortium by the European Outdoor Group (EOG) in 2017, TMC was founded as a stand-alone organisation in November 2018. This move reflected the increasing importance of the topic and growing membership of the consortium, which now incorporates a diverse range of outdoor, fashion, sport and home textiles brands, retailers and suppliers.

TMC facilitates the development of practical solutions for the textile industry to minimise microfibre release to the environment from textile manufacturing and product life cycle. The consortium seeks to connect and translate deep academic research and align it with the reality of commercial supply chain production to offer solutions to its members and for the greater good of ecosystems.

The AATCC is joining TMC as a research member to continue the drive for global alignment, validation and long-term evolvement of a standardised methodology for achieving the shared aims. AATCC has been one of ten labs, including the University of Leeds (UoL), that have been supporting the existing Cross Industry Agreement on Microfibres working towards one aligned method.

AATCC has also represented the USA in the recent test methodology validation work that has been conducted by TMC in collaboration with UoL. On the completion of the alignment and validation work, the industry will be in a strong position to move forward with a reliable method of measurement. 

Research Institutes of Sweden’s (RISE) microfibre work (e.g. MinShed) already complements TMC workstreams and the organisation will also be a research member, enabling deeper strategic collaboration and expediting of research.

Most immediate work will focus on the development of textile understanding on fibres and fabrics. This will provide brands and retailers with the product development support required, to design products with better managed microfibre loss.

Formalising an existing strong relationship with TMC, the Textile Exchange is joining as an affiliate member, ensuring topic dissemination across its own large network and helping to leverage complementary work (including but not exclusive to the rPET working group). TMC will be facilitating two sessions during Textile Exchange’s upcoming Textile Sustainability Conference specific to the topic of microfibre release from textiles.

These new strategic memberships will support the TMC three-year work agenda, approved by the consortium’s recently formed governance board, appointed in January 2019. It is chaired by TMC’s Sophie Mather and comprises of representatives from adidas, the EOG, W.L. Gore & Associates, Marks & Spencer, Primark, and the University of Leeds.

Board member Philipp Meister, Senior Director Sustainability Strategy at adidas said, “As part of our sustainability efforts, we have been working on the subject of microfibre shedding for a few years, also with numerous partners. In our opinion, the textile industry would greatly benefit from having one ‘go-to’ organisation to define common standards and to develop tools to mitigate and reduce microfibre pollution from textile sources. TMC is perfectly positioned to take this role and to implement positive change based on scientific evidence.”

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