The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report recently highlighted the urgency with which human influence on our planet must be transformed into a force for positive impact. Much of this change will arise from a shift towards more responsible methods of production and consumption enabled by generating products today that are safe, circular, and made to power a healthy, equitable and sustainable tomorrow. As a result, our society needs innovations and leadership from the chemical industry now more than ever: the more we use the right material inputs in the products and services we all rely on, the faster we create a circular, regenerative economy.
One chemical company actively working to tackle global challenges by developing products that contribute to sustainable development in industrial processes is CHT Group. CHT produces and distributes high quality-grade chemicals, auxiliaries, and dyestuffs for the textile industry worldwide.
A partner to suppliers and manufacturers throughout the global textile industry, the company’s vision is to be a preferred partner for sustainable chemical solutions around the world. CHT uses the Cradle to Cradle Certified® Product Standard Material Health methodology as an enabling framework for advancing the company’s progress towards this vision, and in alignment with its commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
In 2020, the company received its first C2C Certified Material Health Certificate™ at the Platinum level, the highest level of achievement. The certificate is awarded to products that meet the Material Health requirements of the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard. For companies like CHT, which supplies chemical products to produce textiles, the stand-alone certificate verifies human and environmental safety of materials according to strictest toxicological assessments.
By taking a systematic approach to optimizing and verifying its product portfolio, CHT already counts a portfolio of 122 products (91 textile auxiliaries and 31 dyes/pigments) with Platinum level C2C Certified Material Health Certificates, and numerous products with Bronze or Silver certificates.
The Certificate also functions as a platform for partnership across the value chain, from internal stakeholders to suppliers to customers. For instance, during development of a new dyestuff, CHT discovered that one key component only partly fulfilled the C2C Certified Material Health requirements. Close collaboration with the raw material provider and a joint testing initiative led to the identification of a high-performance alternative that resulted in a Platinum level Material Health rating.
In another instance, one of CHT’s customer wanted to produce a t-shirt printed with a compostable textile printing paste that did not yet exist. This motivation for CHT’s product developers and partners resulted in ECOPRINT® by CHT, a forefront compostable water based textile printing system. And in another, CHT’s own finishing department identified a new opportunity for silicon that might otherwise have become waste. Combined with a renewable emulsifier, Tubingal RISE is the first textile softener made from recycled silicon.
The process of optimizing and verifying safer chemistries using the material health assessment methodology has also become a springboard for the optimization of processes used in textile finishing. For example, in collaboration with customers, CHT developed 4Success, a pretreatment and dyeing process for cotton that minimizes process time, optimizes energy and water efficiency and uses only chemicals suitable for a circular economy that fulfill the C2C Certified Material Health requirements.
CHT is but one example of how the Cradle to Cradle Certified material health assessment can be used to innovate products in collaboration with the value chain. The company’s overall scaling ambition is built on the vision to provide chemistry solutions for all processing steps along the textile value chain, and for entire customer product portfolios under Cradle to Cradle. It demonstrates the potential of safer chemistry to open up new channels of customer engagement, to drive market demand and to realize collaborative innovation opportunities.
This article has been edited for length and clarity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of their employer or the American Chemical Society.
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