Clean by Design, Apparel Manufacturing and Pollution

When the United States shifted manufacturing overseas, we also "outsourced" the associated pollution and greenhouses gases produced by this manufacturing to countries where there are few pollution controls.

In addition to threatening the health of local communities in these countries, this resulting pollution can also affect our own health and environment because so many pollutants -- such carbon dioxide, soot (particulate matter), pesticides, and more -- travel great distances and enter our own air, drinking water, and food supply.

Clean by Design is an innovative program to use the buying power of multinational corporations as a lever to reduce the environmental impacts of their suppliers abroad. Clean by Design focuses on improving process efficiency to reduce waste and emissions and improve the environment.

Manufacturing practices in less-developed countries are generally less efficient than in the developed world. That means they waste money by using more energy, water, and materials than necessary. But by improving the efficiency in the manufacturing processes, there are plenty of opportunities to both save money and improve the environment.

Even marginal improvements in manufacturing to these countries' factories have the potential to deliver excellent cost savings. Clean by Design promotes just these kinds of opportunities to increase efficiency (in energy, water, and chemical usage) and thereby reduce the environmental footprint while saving the factory money.