DyStar Advances Sustainability Performance for More Responsible Products

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The DyStar Group’s 2016 Sustainability Performance Report marks a step forward for the supplier of colors, chemicals and services to the textile industry, incorporating new benchmarks and taking a more critical approach to measuring its sustainability goals.

The Singapore-based company said it’s the first report to map the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals against the four commitments that continue to define the company’s sustainability framework: creating responsible products and solutions, conserving planetary resources, caring for people, and communicating with stakeholders.

In this regard, DyStar noted that a goal that promotes responsible consumption and production is one for which the company has had a direct and positive impact through its internal commitment to conserve planetary resources in its operations.

Indirectly, the company said it also contributes to the U.N. goal to create responsible products and services, noting that its colors are made to last, not just as a matter of product performance, but because high quality dyes can also reduce the number of basic replacement items like T-shirts that are purchased over a consumer’s lifetime.

DyStar noted that 2016 saw the successful acquisition of Emerald Performance Materials LLC, an American manufacturer and marketer of specialty chemicals, paving the way for the company’s entry into the food and beverage industry.

The company’s product portfolio is broader than ever but its newer product ranges come with the added advantage of being, on average, less resource-intensive to manufacture. This and other factors, including active efforts to improve operational efficiency across existing production sites, have helped the company surpass four of its six 2020 targets, which seek to reduce resource consumption intensities and corresponding waste outputs by 20 percent of 2011 levels.

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On its traditional turf, the textile and apparel sector, expectations are high for the new team of chemists tasked with advancing green chemistry approaches for the company and industry. When completed, DyStar’s new Global Innovation Center in Nanjing, China, will host state-of-the-art laboratories dedicated to process technology development and research on next-generation alternatives.

“One of the most warmly received innovations last year, DyStar Cadira Reactive, continues to help textile mills save on water, electricity, steam and process time,” Eric Hopmann chief executive officer of DyStar, said in the report. “Cadira Polyester and Cadira VAT are more recent additions to the collection, catering to clients that want a more cost- and resource-efficient dyeing process for polyester and cellulosic fibers, respectively.”

[Read more about industry water saving efforts: Will the Apparel Industry Actually be Able to Improve Water Sustainability?]

Hoppmann said, “Ongoing efforts by our teams to develop safer products for the market have already received formal recognition in the industry. DyStar is the first textile dyes company to earn a gold-level Material Health Certificate from Cradle to Cradle. The certificate guarantees that no substances present in the formulation of C2C listed products, at a concentration of 100 part per million or higher, poses risks to people or the environment during the dye application process, throughout the use phase of a clothing item, and even after disposal.”

On the services front, DyStar’s online tool “eliot” is gaining popularity among customers, brands and retailers for the reliability of its modules. Conceived more than a year ago, eliot aims to empower users with the information they need to make responsible choices in product selection and process optimization.

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DyStar, which had 2016 revenues of $871 million, said the report is its most candid yet in examining the challenges that its teams tackle as the company strives to achieve a new balance between being a responsible supplier and a profitable business in these changing times. The report transparently addresses past errors and touches on recent efforts to correct internal weaknesses, including the instatement of new safeguards aimed at strengthening due diligence, protecting and empowering whistleblowers, and closing procedural gaps.

Gerald Talhoff, vice president of global manufacturing and supply chain management at Dystar, said in the report, “Running improvement projects at our manufacturing sites and then actually seeing the reductions in energy and wastewater” have been rewarding, however “not all projects have resulted in major improvements, but every effort counts and it has been satisfying to observe how the sum of our projects and initiatives, collectively across the world have helped to mitigate the impact of our products.”

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