So, what do these numbers mean?
First, it’s important to understand the complex chain of production involved into going from fibre to fabric & fabric to garment. A product’s lifecycle is the collective stages that the product goes through from its conception and design through to its ultimate disposal. Here’s a sweet diagram that breaks it down for you.
Each of these steps has a significant environmental impact, which we separated into three categories: carbon dioxide, water & waste.
For the purpose of this study, we made a series of assumptions for comparable conventional clothing and Good Krama to follow based on current market research:
Conventional garments have the same weight as Good Krama garments.
Conventional textiles are based on the conventional values of their fibre content (i.e. for knits and wovens, majority content conventional cotton).
The conventional raw material production and garment manufacture takes place in Asia in a factory with no carbon offsets.
For fabric blends we calculate the percentage per fibre content and their respective impact (i.e. the impact of a shirt that is 90% cotton and 10% silk).
We assume that conventional textile dyes are reactive and do not include natural dyes.
Trims, such as zippers or buttons are found negligible and are not included in our boundary of analysis.
Retailing is excluded as the impact of e-commerce is negligible.
Deadstock fabrics come from secondary markets and are not included in the fabric impact. However, rest-of-life impacts are included such as transportation and garment care.
The CO2 emissions derived from electricity used in rooms (sewing, cutting, pattern) are fixed values, based on fans and light usage of these rooms.
We assume that conventional garments are washed 45 times in a top load machine at 46°C.
We assume Good Krama customers follow recommended lower-impact garment care label instructions instead of traditional professional cleaning.
Finished product delivery only includes airfreight starting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
For end-of-life, we assume that 15% of the garments are recycled as per current US average.
The first step to consider here is the production of fibres using raw materials. All of Good Krama’s new fabrics are woven in the rural Takeo Province of Cambodia. Believe it or not but the weaving villages operate with sunrises and sunsets with manual weaving machines. There is absolutely no electricity involved, resulting in a carbon dioxide emission of zero. All the other materials Good Krama uses are upcycled and have no negative impact as they come from secondary markets – we basically rescue and reuse surplus materials from local garment factories before they end up in landfills.
FACT: Conventional clothing consumption produces 1.5 tonnes of Co2 x household x year. The equivalent of driving 6000 cars.
Good Krama’s manufacturing takes place in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. Most energy used in the studio is for lighting, sewing machines and most importantly: fans to beat the tropical Cambodian weather. We calculated all this energy used on an average workday and converted these watts into Co2. In addition, we took into consideration the carbon dioxide impact of fabric transportation from the weaving villages and fabric warehouses to the studio.
This leads us to the final but biggest impact on the carbon dioxide emission: You as a consumer. Assuming that most conventional garments are washed up to 45 times in a top load machine at 46 degrees, we calculated the emissions generated following this care habit and compared it to Good Krama’s suggested care instructions. In addition, the average garment recycling rate of the US is 15% which was subtracted to the total carbon emissions of both Good Krama and conventional impacts.
FUN FACT: two thirds of the gross things about fashion happen after you take the garment home. Don’t be gross, follow our mindful care tips.
The production of Good Krama’s new materials includes cotton and silk, which is done in the Takeo Province of Cambodia. We tracked the average water usage during the growth and processing of the fibres of one kilogram, which we then broke down to the weight of each garment. The rest of the materials used in Good Krama collections are deadstock fabrics coming from garment factories surrounding Cambodia’s capital. All other new material used by Good Krama such as Tencel or Viscose is added into the impact calculations following conventional industry standards.
Conventional textiles today take a lot of chemicals, pesticides and toxic dyeing solutions to be manufactured. These toxic residues still remain in the clothes you buy and pollute the water and ground on which they are produced. Good Krama keeps it toxic free by working solely with natural and non-toxic dyes. The water we use in the fabric manufacturing process leaves no icky trace behind and allows for the surrounding nature and people to prosper organically.
FACT: It takes 2720 liters of water to make a conventional t-shirt. That’s how much we normally drink over a three year period.
Good Krama’s water usage is limited to fabric washing for our pre-shrinking process if necessary along with the water used for ironing all finished garments.
Waste is an integral part of a garment’s life cycle. Good Krama is proud to growing towards a zero waste initiative.
FACT: It is estimated that the fashion industry produces 400 billion m2 of conventional textiles annually. 60 billion m2 is cutting room floor waste.
Good Krama keeps all scraps and floor waste it generates. What do we do with it? Watch this space to find out where our creativity takes us.
As an e-commerce business, packaging solutions are an integral part of our waste management. Good Krama partnered with Eco Enclose, an American company that provides eco-friendly shipping solutions. All of our poly mailers are made out of 100% recycled content.