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Substitute non-renewable raw materials for bio-based alternatives


Segment    Family    Class




SDG Alignment

12.Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

SDG Target


Target Description

By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources

Level of Effort

Level of Effort Scale


1 -Quick Wins: solution involves adding criteria for the good or service being purchased (ex: certifications), minimal internal process changes.

2 -Long Term Adoption: solution requires some changes to internal processes and/or more capital investment (ex: digital transformation to reduce paper use).

3 – Disruptive Opportunities: requires significant investment and changes to internal processes (ex: retrofitting building)

Category Assessment

ETCH Procurement Process .png


•Collaborate with your sustainability team to conduct a Lifecycle Analysis for all fibres procured. Tools such as the Higgs Materials Sustainability Index and the Facility Environmental Module can be helpful in determining emissions.

•Create scope 3 emission reduction targets by following the Science-Based Targets Guidance for the apparel and footwear sector.

•Make commitments to material transformation public and timely to keep your organization accountable. For example, the percentage of products containing bio-based materials by a certain year.

•Evaluate long-term strategic moves that are in line with your business objectives and will not only fulfill but advance your sustainability goals.

Opportunity Identification 

Business: Create a competitive edge by branding your company as an innovative and environmentally conscious company. This can lead to premium pricing, access to new markets, and talent retention. With this, consumer demand and government regulations are shifting to become more sustainability focused, making a switch to bio-based materials a way to mitigate risk.

Sustainability: Reduce carbon emissions and provide new sources of income to farmers and rural communities. Minimize waste, micro-plastics, and dependence on fossil fuels.

Strategy Build & Execution

• Involve high-level management between departments in the decision to procure bio-based materials to help successfully drive stakeholder buy-in and successful implementation. This could include rewarding buyers and designers that implement bio-based materials into products.

• Engage the market early by stating your intentions in advance to open dialogue with potential suppliers.

• Invest in collective action with governments and industry organizations to provide a space for knowledge-sharing and advancement of the bio-based material industry.

• Consider the lifetime and end-of-life options methods when evaluating bio-based materials.

• Consider compatibility with current synthetic fibre production methods. Prioritize bio-based materials that can treated in the same way and within the same existing infrastructures and machinery as conventional synthetic fibres.

Supplier Negotiation & Contract

• Selection criteria should consider experience, references, and overall sustainability performance of the supplier.

• Look for certifications, such as those USDA Certified Bio-based, when procuring bio-based alternatives.

Supplier Performance & Management

•As bio-based materials are in the early-stage of development a fostering a collaborative relationship with your suppliers is necessary. With this, create a win-win environment where suppliers are incentivized to advance bio-based material innovation.

•Scale the number of products containing bio-based materials slowly over time to refine the manufacturing process and successful adoption into products.

•Annually state your progress on your commitment.

Resource Links

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