EPD Australasia

Interview: REDA, Australasia’s first fabric EPDs

Founded in 1865 by the Botto Poala family of the Piedmont region of Italy, REDA has been producing exceptional Merino wool textiles since 1919. A long-term partner of the New Zealand Merino Company and the ZQ Merino programme, the two companies have teamed up to publish this region’s first EPDs for fabrics.

We spoke to REDA’s Chief Operating Officer, Francesco Botto Poala about his company’s commitment to sustainability and how EPDs assist in the push toward sustainability.

Please explain REDA’s commitment to sustainability.

Reda’s commitment to sustainability comes from a deep love for the environment as well as for the local territory, its resources and the people who live in the area, a bond that is at the basis of the Group’s efforts to preserve the culture of wool and its manufacturing techniques.

Since 1993, Reda has acquired three farms in New Zealand with the aim to get closer to the farmers, get to know them better and fully understand their needs, ensuring the best Merino wool thanks to a meticulous selection process of raw materials. In 2004, Reda began to measure its impact on the environment in order to understand how to reduce it on a yearly basis, demonstrating its strong commitment to improving its sustainability efforts.

That year, Reda also obtained the EMAS certification, an eco-management system that ensures full compliance with legislative standards, transparency with all stakeholders and a continuous improvement of environmental performance. Reda also obtained the ISO 14001 certification, equipping itself with an environmental management system to manage its activities in the most sustainable way.

In 2009, the Group stipulated an agreement in New Zealand regarding the acquisition of raw materials exclusively from Zque certified farms allowing full traceability of the wool’s path from the farm to the mill.

In 2015, Reda launched its accreditation scheme, SustainaWOOL, for Australian breeders in order to promote the production of the best wool through the sustainable management of physical and natural resources, respecting the welfare of animals and tracing the entire path of wool.

In 2018, Reda carried out an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), to analyze the impact of its production process from fleece to the final product. An EPD is based on a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), a scientific analysis that evaluates the environmental impact of a product throughout its life cycle.

What prompted the decision to undertake publication of an EPD for your textile products?

In addition to obtaining certifications, Reda’s goal is to make a difference in a concrete way. Publishing an EPD ensures total transparency to customers and is aimed at building a relationship based on trust.

Furthermore, Reda wants to analyse and gain a deeper understanding of the impact of its production process on the environment in order to find new solutions and to improve it in a more sustainable way.

How do you expect the EPD will help REDA achieve its commitment to sustainability?

Being transparent and ensuring transparency to the customer is crucial in order to establish a relationship based on trust. Today, customers look for products, which are made with respect for the environment and want to know more about the fabric and in turn, the clothing they are wearing. The EPD is just a starting point for us. The road is still very long, but we are happy to have begun the journey.

Yours is the first EPD published for textiles in this region. Would you like to see other textile brands commit to EPDs in the future?

We are at the forefront of this movement, having been the first company to publish an EPD for textiles in the wool sector and we hope other textile companies will follow in our footsteps. Reda wants to pave the way for other textile companies with the aim of rendering their processes more transparent and sustainable.

Reda’s hope for the future is that publishing an Environmental Product Declaration represents the norm for every textile company, as this is the only way to make the fashion industry more sustainable and to give customers the transparency they need and ask for.

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