Ralph Lauren Revolutionizes How the Fashion Industry Dyes Cotton
Company to create the world’s first scalable zero wastewater cotton dyeing system
NEW YORK, NY — March 22, 2021 — Ralph Lauren Corporation (NYSE:RL) today introduces Color on Demand, a revolutionary dyeing platform that will transform how the fashion industry colors cotton – more sustainably, more effectively and faster than ever before. The Company has established Color on Demand, a multi-phased system, with a clear ambition to deliver the world’s first scalable zero wastewater cotton dyeing system.
Every year, trillions of liters of water are used for fabric dyeing alone, generating around 20% of the world’s wastewater.1,2 This untreated wastewater is incredibly polluting and traditionally required rigorous, lengthy and costly treatment to make the water reusable. Designed to help address water scarcity and pollution caused by cotton dyeing, Color on Demand is a new system composed of a set of technologies that will enable the recycling and reuse of all water from the dyeing process, establishing the world’s first scalable zero wastewater cotton dyeing system. In addition to significant water savings, Color on Demand dramatically reduces the amount of chemicals, dye, time and energy used in the cotton dyeing process. Further, for the first time in the industry, Color on Demand also provides a more efficient and sustainable way to color cotton at any point in product manufacturing, rather than at the outset. This will enable significantly shorter lead times for making product color decisions.
“Traditional color dyeing is one of the most polluting practices in our industry, and as a global brand, we recognized the need to create a scalable solution,” said Halide Alagöz, Chief Product and Sustainability Officer at Ralph Lauren. “Color on Demand significantly reduces the environmental impact of dyeing cotton, and as an added benefit, will enable us to better balance inventory and meet personalized consumer demands faster than ever before.”
To implement its groundbreaking approach, Ralph Lauren brought together four leading innovators in their respective fields, including Dow, a leader in materials science; Jeanologia, a leader in sustainable solutions for garment and fabric finishing, with high expertise in garment dyeing and close loop water treatment systems; Huntsman Textile Effects, a global chemicals company specializing in textile dyes and chemicals; and Corob, a global technology leader in dispensing and mixing solutions, to reimagine each stage of the coloring process and join this shared mission to create a more sustainable and efficient system for cotton dyeing.
As part of the first phase of Color on Demand, Ralph Lauren optimized the use of ECOFAST™ Pure Sustainable Textile Treatment, a pre-treatment solution developed by Dow for cotton textiles. When used with existing dyeing equipment, ECOFAST™ Pure enables the use of up to 40% less water, 85% fewer chemicals, 90% less energy and a 60% reduction in carbon footprint compared to traditional cotton dyeing processes.3 Ralph Lauren is integrating this process into its supply chain and will launch product using this technology later this year.
“Water scarcity and pollution are important issues for the fashion industry and through our partnership with Ralph Lauren we are working towards addressing these challenges,” said Sheila Bonini, Senior Vice President, Private Sector Engagement at World Wildlife Fund. “Technology has the ability to accelerate change at a scale that matters, so it’s exciting to see Ralph Lauren establishing innovative new models that transform outdated practices and can deliver measurable outcomes for people and planet. This is exactly the kind of leadership we need to see from the fashion industry."
Color on Demand is yet another significant step in Ralph Lauren’s journey to address its environmental footprint, which includes eliminating hazardous chemical use in its supply chain and reducing water use across its operations and value chain by 2025. By 2025, Ralph Lauren aims to use the Color on Demand platform in more than 80% of the Company’s solid cotton products.
ABOUT RALPH LAUREN CORPORATION
Ralph Lauren Corporation (NYSE:RL) is a global leader in the design, marketing and distribution of premium lifestyle products in five categories: apparel, footwear & accessories, home, fragrances and hospitality. For more than 50 years, Ralph Lauren’s reputation and distinctive image have been consistently developed across an expanding number of products, brands and international markets. The Company’s brand names, which include Ralph Lauren, Ralph Lauren Collection, Ralph Lauren Purple Label, Polo Ralph Lauren, Double RL, Lauren Ralph Lauren, Polo Ralph Lauren Children, Chaps and Club Monaco, among others, constitute one of the world’s most widely recognized families of consumer brands. For more information, go to https://corporate.ralphlauren.com.
ABOUT DESIGN THE CHANGE
Design the Change, Ralph Lauren Corporation’s strategy, is both a commitment and a journey to create a positive impact in society. It is based on our belief that, together with our industry, we can deliver the change required for a more sustainable and equitable future for all. Design the Change is anchored in commitments that will drive progress across our three focus areas: Creating Timeless Style, Protecting the Environment and Championing Better Lives, and it is underpinned by ambitious goals that guide the Company’s work across citizenship and sustainability. Ralph Lauren is a signatory to the We Are Still In declaration and the UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, pledging to limit our emissions in line with the Paris Agreement goals. The Company is also a member of the G7 Fashion Pact, a group of fashion leaders working to stop global warming, restore biodiversity and protect the oceans. For more information, visit our Company website.
- Drew, Deborah and Genevieve Yehounme. “The Apparel Industry’s Environmental Impact in 6 Graphics.” World Resources Institute, July 5, 2017. https://www.wri.org/blog/2017/07/apparel-industrys-environmental-impact-6-graphics
- Rep. A New Textiles Economy: Redesigning Fashion’s Future. Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Circular Fibres Initiative, 2017. https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/assets/downloads/A-New-Textiles-Economy_Full-Report_Updated_1-12-17.pdf
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