Ralph Lauren and Dow Open-Source New Process to Transform How the Fashion Industry Dyes Cotton
Companies jointly launch a manual to open-source an improved dyeing process that significantly reduces the amount of water, chemicals and energy required for cotton dyeing to accelerate change in the industry
MIDLAND, MI and NEW YORK, NY — October 13, 2021 — today released a detailed manual on how to dye cotton more sustainably and more effectively than ever before using ECOFAST™ Pure Sustainable Textile Treatment. With this manual, Ralph Lauren and Dow are open-sourcing this improved dyeing process to encourage adoption in the textile industry and help standardize a more sustainable and efficient cotton dyeing system for positive environmental impact. The co-developed, step-by-step manual details how to use ECOFAST™ Pure, a cationic cotton treatment developed by Dow, with existing dyeing equipment. Ralph Lauren, the first brand to use ECOFAST™ Pure, partnered with Dow to optimize and implement the technology in its cotton dyeing operations as part of its new Color on Demand platform.
Conventional fabric dyeing processes require trillions of liters of water each year, generating roughly 20% of the world’s wastewater.1,2 Pretreating fabric with ECOFAST™ Pure helps significantly reduce the amount of water, chemicals and energy needed to color cotton, by enabling up to 90% less process chemicals, 50% less water, 50% less dyes and 40% less energy without sacrificing color or quality.3
“As fashion supply chains look to recover from impacts of the pandemic, there is a critical window to build more sustainable practices into production processes,” said Mary Draves, Chief Sustainability Officer at Dow. “By collaborating today to scale a less resource intensive dyeing process, we can help address pressing challenges, like climate change and water resiliency, in the long-term.”
“If we want to protect our planet for the next generation, we have to create scalable solutions that have never been considered before. This requires deep and sometimes unexpected collaboration and a willingness to break down the barriers of exclusivity,” said Halide Alagöz, Chief Product & Sustainability Officer at Ralph Lauren. “We are proud to have partnered with Dow on this innovation and to share it openly with our industry, with the hope that it will help transform how we preserve and use water in our global supply chains.”
Ralph Lauren began integrating Color on Demand into its supply chain earlier this year and first launched product utilizing ECOFAST™ Pure as part of the Company’s Team USA collection for the Olympic & Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. Designed to help address water scarcity and pollution caused by cotton dyeing, Color on Demand is a multi-phased system with a clear ambition to deliver over time the world’s first scalable zero wastewater cotton dyeing system. By 2025, the brand aims to use the Color on Demand platform to dye more than 80% of its solid cotton products.
Download the manual and learn more about ECOFAST™ Pure here.
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. 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.
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 has sought to inspire the dream of a better life through authenticity and timeless style. Its 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 and Chaps, among others—constitute one of the world’s most widely recognized families of consumer brands. For more information, go to https://corporate.ralphlauren.com.
Dow (NYSE: DOW) combines global breadth, asset integration and scale, focused innovation and leading business positions to achieve profitable growth. The Company’s ambition is to become the most innovative, customer centric, inclusive and sustainable materials science company, with a purpose to deliver a sustainable future for the world through our materials science expertise and collaboration with our partners. Dow’s portfolio of plastics, industrial intermediates, coatings and silicones businesses delivers a broad range of differentiated science-based products and solutions for its customers in high-growth market segments, such as packaging, infrastructure, mobility and consumer care. Dow operates 106 manufacturing sites in 31 countries and employs approximately 35,700 people. Dow delivered sales of approximately $39 billion in 2020. References to Dow or the Company mean Dow Inc. and its subsidiaries. For more information, please visit www.dow.com or follow @DowNewsroom on Twitter.
- 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://ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/a-new-textiles-economys
- A full third-party reviewed and validated life cycle assessment is available by request at www.dow.com/ecofast