Environmental Data Coalition

The Environmental Data Coalition (EDC) seeks to address the long-standing issues in the textiles industry’s environmental data analysis methods. EDC attempts to collaboratively discuss industry-wide strategies to tackle challenges and establish best practices for conducting comparative environmental impact analyses of next-gen, incumbent, and current-gen materials. EDC’s findings aim to spur sustainable innovations that encourage transparency and data-sharing partnerships among brands, material companies, scientists, entrepreneurs, investors, suppliers, and other stakeholders for years to come.

LEARN MORE ABOUT EDC

MII was founded in 2019 on the premise that a market-driven shift toward sustainable materials is urgently needed, but not inevitable. We believe that consumers do not buy materials because they come from animals or petrochemicals; they buy them based on their performance, aesthetic, price, and availability. If the market provides consumers with products that meet their performance, aesthetic, price, and availability needs, plus have the added benefits of being more sustainable and animal-free, consumers will purchase these products

The current processes of measuring, analyzing, and reporting on raw materials’ environmental impacts pose challenges that impede the successful development and commercialization of sustainable materials. Some issues in environmental data analysis that require attention include:

  • Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a valuable tool for assessing materials’ environmental impacts, but data accessibility, transparency, accuracy, and interpretation remain challenging.
  • Assumptions made during data acquisition and use, including setting scope, boundaries, and methodologies of LCAs, can largely influence LCAs’ results and how those results can be used to make meaningful decisions.
  • Accessibility to robust, comparable assessments for next-gen materials requires tremendous integrity and collaboration between material innovators/suppliers and brands and extensive research to establish best practices.
  • A critical mismatch exists in the expectations of decision-makers compared with the capabilities of budding startups to conduct environmental impact evaluations.
Environment Data Coalition - Next Gen Materials
Environment Data Coalition - Windmills

MII’s Response: The Environmental Data Coalition

MII launched the Environmental Data Coalition (EDC), a platform for select industry collaborators (hyperlink to EDC Members below) to bring forth their concerns about environmental impact data collection, measurement, analysis, and reporting for the textiles industry. EDC members collaboratively identify white spaces—untapped opportunities or unsolved issues within the realm of environmental impact analysis—and establish goals for industry-wide efforts to fill these white spaces. Our EDC members will work together to suggest best practices for environmental impact assessment and comparative analysis between next-gen materials and their incumbent or current-gen counterparts. We aim to share these best practices and guidance with all relevant stakeholders across the material supply chain to increase transparency and uniformity in evaluation methods. The EDC will subsequently publicize these results and engage media members in understanding the benefits of next-gen materials.

EDC members will collaboratively ensure that the material sustainability data we share remains current, relevant across geographies, and applicable to all materials in each textile category. We expect that our collective findings will spur new innovations and partnerships among brands, material companies, scientists, entrepreneurs, investors, suppliers, and other key stakeholders for years to come.

Under MII’s leadership, the EDC is recruiting members that influence both the supply and demand for next-gen materials and that have experience conducting or evaluating environmental impact analyses of materials. On the supply side, we’re welcoming scientists, academics, and LCA professionals who have experience navigating the complexity of issues surrounding LCA data, methodology, analysis, and reporting. We’re recruiting material companies and innovators who are developing next-gen materials and conducting environmental impact analyses. We’re also inviting investors who have experience investing in next-gen materials or other industries in which they examined the environmental impact of their investments.

On the demand side, we’re recruiting fashion and automotive brands that are actively examining how they can incorporate next-gen materials into their products and that have experience analyzing the environmental impact of their materials. We’re also recruiting members from industry groups, NGOs, and relevant media that share EDC’s commitment to creating environmentally sustainable materials and to conducting analyses.​

How the EDC Benefits Our Stakeholders

The EDC exists to benefit all of our stakeholders and to support the development of high-performance, sustainable next-gen materials that protect our planet for future generations.

This is how we do this:

  • We’re addressing and resolving challenges in comparative analysis between incumbent, current-gen, and next-gen materials.
  • We’re increasing data accessibility and accuracy to verify the sustainability of next-gen materials.
  • We’re mitigating unrealistic expectations on innovators at the early stages of product development.
  • We’re ensuring consistency in the LCA methodology.
  • We’re improving collaboration among suppliers, investors, innovators, and brands to design and create environmentally friendly and economically profitable materials.
  • We’re developing best practices for environmental impact analysis methodology, reporting, and comparison strategies among different material types and categories.

  • We’re gathering sustainability data that can help brands accurately compare next-gen materials with their incumbent and current-gen counterparts.

  • We’re working on ways to collect sustainability data that is current, relevant across geographies, and applicable to most next-gen materials categories.

  • We’re providing brands with options for adopting next-gen materials that are high-performance, aesthetically appealing, affordably produced, and more sustainable than their incumbent and current-gen alternatives

    To apply to join the EDC, please fill out this form. If you have additional questions about the EDC, please write to us at edc@materialinnovation.org.