Sustainability and the IAC

Posted on Dec 8, 2013

If we think of sustainability as a journey, then how are you making progress towards an environmentally and socially responsible destination?  In other words, what is your firm doing currently to advance eco initiatives and what is planned to meet sustainability goals in the future? 

In the next paragraph you’ll find the IAC response to the above question. The position of the International Antimicrobial Council is based on the premise that sustainability requires the reconciliation of environmental and economic demands to build social equity. These "three pillars" (3-e's) interact with each other to determine the sustainability outcome of any given market action. Put simply, when economic benefit is obtained through the generation of sustainable environmental conditions social equity results.

The International Antimicrobial Council sustainability program involves both internal and external efforts to positively impact the environment. The IAC accomplishes this by working to motivate social behavior that positively-impacts the environment. An example of our external efforts is our promotion of the use of environmentally responsible and durable antimicrobial treatments in textiles, especially in apparel and home fashions. Durable antimicrobials can extend the use of textiles between laundering. Reducing the frequency that consumers launder textiles results in significant water, detergent and energy savings. According to the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) the average American family washes almost 400 loads of laundry each year. Using a standard clothes washer that family will consume over 12,000 gallons (45.4 m3) of water annually. Because textiles treated with a durable antimicrobial can be used at least twice as long before laundering, the savings are staggering. Considering that 60% of an American family’s laundry is apparel, this will save each household 3600 gallons (13,600L) of water a year. Based on AWE statistics, if their home fashion products are also treated it will save each family a total of 6,000 gallons (22,700L) of water per year. But that’s not all - the detergent and energy savings from reduced washing and drying are also very significant. We applaud the textile industry for the excellent progress they’ve made in significantly reducing the water and energy used during the production of apparel and home fashion products but the greatest socio-economic-environmental savings will be gained by treating textile products with environmentally responsible, durable antimicrobials that reduce the use of water, detergent and energy by the consumer over the lifetime of the textile product. The premise of the IAC program is to help consumers understand that they can save money while being ecologically-minded by simply purchasing textiles with an appropriate odor-control feature.