Master of Environmental Science and Management: Master's Group Project
MATE the Label Product Chemistry Hotspot Analysis to Reduce Human Health and Ecological Impacts
MATE the Label
The textile industry is responsible for a substantial amount of air and water pollution caused by chemicals used in the production of raw materials and textile manufacturing processes. Cradle to MATE was designed to help an LA-based clothing company, MATE the Label, understand the human and environmental toxicological impacts of the fibers they use in their products (organic cotton, TENCELTM Lyocell, linen, and spandex) and comparatively rank them with other fibers commonly used in apparel (conventional cotton and polyester). The study aims to identify the most harmful chemicals currently used in MATE the Label’s textile supply chain and recommend alternatives to these chemicals, as well as identify which fibers may be less harmful overall in terms of chemical impact. This project looks at chemicals used in upstream supply chain processes for each fiber from raw material cultivation through manufacturing. Key findings include the following fiber ranking of chemical hazard, from most concerning to least concerning: 1) conventional cotton, 2) linen, 3) polyester, 4) organic cotton, 5) spandex, and 6) lyocell. Because linen is the most concerning fiber that MATE uses in their products, exploring organic linen is recommended. Additionally, given that MATE’s most concerning chemicals fall within the Raw Materials Cultivation and Extraction phase of its fiber production, the project team recommends that MATE work with its farmers and supply chain partners to gain better visibility into which chemicals and practices are actually being used in the furthest step of its supply chain. The project team hopes that this research can help move the apparel industry towards more transparent production processes by identifying existing data and information gaps.
Bren School: Patricia Holden, Professor; Arturo Keller, Distinguished Professor
MATE the Label: Tyler Cobian, Sustainability Manager; Daniel Rosen, CFO
David Volz, Professor, UC Riverside
Ronald Tjeerdema, Professor, UC Davis
Todd Copeland, Sustainability Consultant
Nike: Renee Hackenmiller-Paradis, Mike Shaadt
Harry’s Dye & Wash Inc.