As the fashion world seeks to reduce its sizable environmental impact, a new report offers a framework for helping the industry improve its support for regenerative agriculture.
The Regenerative Agriculture Landscape Analysis is a publication of the Textile Exchange, a nonprofit organization dedicated to “positively impacting climate through accelerating the use of preferred fibers across the global textile industry.”
Their new report provides a framework of best practices, tools, initiatives and guidance to help the industry engage in regenerative agriculture, which is “fundamental to the long-term health of the sector,” because “Regenerative practices can play a key role in helping farmers develop more resilient systems, bringing immense social and environmental benefits.”
According to Regeneration International, regenerative agriculture includes practices “that, among other benefits, reverse climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity—resulting in both carbon drawdown and improving the water cycle.”
Biotechnology can assist in the area of enhancing soil health, and advances being made through gene editing are essential to keeping carbon in the soil.
Other biotech solutions
Along with assisting in soil health, biotech offers other solutions for increasing sustainability of the fashion industry.
In a recent Bio.org blog, Cornelia Poku looks at advances in “clean beauty,” which describes products using new components that are healthy for people while not depleting the environment or causing excessive pollution.
For example, Amyris used its expertise in synthetic biology in developing a replacement for squalene, a moisturizing ingredient derived mostly from shark liver. This synthetic moisturizing chemical, named “squalane” is currently used in sunscreens, face cleansers, and other beauty products by Amyris’s skincare businesses.
And LanzaTech, a carbon recycling technology specialist, revealed last year that they would provide carbon-based ethanol to multinational cosmetics behemoth Coty. Ethanol is a key element in all forms of cosmetics and perfumes. Ethanol derived from carbon is derived from greenhouse gasses that have already been emitted into the environment. LanzaTech takes advantage of the excess supply of carbon, using it in production, while removing a harmful greenhouse gas from the earth’s atmosphere.