This guide to sustainability issues uses a process flow which reflects process steps that are common across the sector. The guide shows how these processes relate to specific sustainability issues – ranging from energy and water consumption to supply chain issues and community relationships. It uses a risk rating system and explains some of the potentially high impact sustainability issues in more detail.
The guide is intended as a starting point only and the process flow is not intended to reflect the breadth of technologies and practices that are used by different enterprises or sub-sectors. Users will need to undertake more detailed research and analysis of the sector.
Clothing manufacture in Australia includes ready to wear casual, formal, designer, sleepwear and underwear. Specialist items, such as uniforms, hospital gowns and masks, safety and disposable wear, are also manufactured in Australia.
There can be significant waste through the supply chain including plastic, paper and cardboard used for packaging, and plastic and wire coat hangers. Finishing processes may be applied to the fabric and/or assembled garments and these can result in chemical waste and contaminated wastewater. Assembled garments will typically be washed or spot cleaned, dried and pressed and these consume energy and water.
There are many different ways to approach understanding the sustainability issues within a sector. Areas of research might include barriers to entry and expansion into markets, drivers of demand for services and products, geographic location, major markets and suppliers, technology and workforce demographics and skills profile.