MU Tendenze Sostenibilità

Fabrics and accessories for the future of the planet

Creativity, quality, and sustainability are at the heart of Milano Unica's vision for the present and future of the textiles and accessories industry. 

The principle that creativity cannot be separated from sustainability is the guiding value of the selection that Milano Unica makes for the MU Tendenze Sostenibilità area.


Milano Unica confirms, once again in this edition, the radical choice to include only samples of fabrics and accessories in the Tendenze Sostenibilità Area with sustainable features that meet the criteria established by the Milano Unica Technical Committee


The tags of the samples on display graphically show the core and underlying values of sustainability: occupational health and safety, consumers and citizens demanding the elimination of hazardous chemicals; the focus on reducing the exploitation of natural resources, and the principles of circular economy; and the promotion of social justice, combating climate change and defending biodiversity.


In addition to these 5 core values, the tags report information about 3 important characteristics of the company's organization: the availability of a sustainable business management system; the availability of a product environmental footprint (PEF) certification in line with the methodology applied by the European Commission to measure the environmental performance of products; and the availability of a supplier traceability system.


The MU Tendenze Sostenibilità area represents an invitation - and a challenge - to creative talents to explore new and more sustainable solutions and materials without relenting on quality, beauty, style, and originality.


Trends and Sustainability at Milano Unica in figures

The MU Tendenze Sostenibilità Area showcases 2,776 samples of fabrics and accessories produced by 342 exhibitors that meet the criteria established by the Milano Unica Technical Commission on Sustainability. These are extraordinarily growing numbers compared to the previous edition, a new record for the Tendenze & Sustainability Area, which confirms the growing interest and the importance of the project.


Data underscores the relevance of the value pillar of using safe chemicals in the supply chain. 87.5% of the samples on display in the Creative Sustainability area (totaling 2,430 samples) were produced with processes that comply with the main certifications, standards, or protocols regarding the elimination of chemicals harmful to both humans and the environment. These samples have been awarded the "Chemical Safety" label.


This edition, however, presents the largest number of samples characterized by the value of circularity (a total of 2,518, or 90.7%, accepted by the Technical Committee). Attention to reducing the waste of natural resources grew considerably, resulting in increased use of regenerated materials, recovery and re-use of process water, and the adoption of eco-design principles. These samples have been awarded the "Circular Economy" label.


Environmental sustainability has become a priority, dominating the scene, almost overshadowing the equally fundamental pillars of social sustainability. 290 exhibitors (84.8%) submitted samples (totaling approximately 2,000 or 72% of the total number of samples accepted by the Technical Committee) with certifications that explicitly require compliance with international conventions on workers' rights and human rights throughout the supply chain, i.e. in all the production stages going from fiber harvesting to industrial production. These samples were awarded the "Social Justice" label.


49.6% of the samples on display in the MU Tendenze Sostenibilità Area, corresponding to a total of 1,376 items produced by 254 exhibitors (¾ of the exhibitors present in the area), show characteristics that contribute to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the textile industry and thus help fight against climate change. The lower emissions of these samples result from the use of materials that replace fibers that originate from fossil sources or are produced in Europe. Therefore, if used by European textile manufacturers, they reduce emissions from transportation; or from the use of renewable energy in manufacturing, or are produced by companies with CO2 offset plans. These samples have been awarded the "Climate Action" label.


The fifth value pillar considered by the Milano Unica classification system deals with an emerging issue, that of biodiversity preservation and the adoption of sustainable farming practices in fiber production. 982 samples, representing 35.4% of the total, have characteristics or certifications that fall under this umbrella. These samples have been awarded the "Biodiversity Conservation" label.


Considering the sustainability characteristics of business organizations, over 100 exhibitors have implemented a corporate sustainability management system. 18 of them confirmed the implementation of a supplier traceability system, and there is also a limited but growing number of exhibitors (4) that have a product environmental footprint (PEF) certification in line with EU criteria. 


Standards, protocols and certifications 

Certifications, standards, and protocols may relate to the individual product or the entire organization. 


The product standards and labels (Chart 3) most common among the samples refer to chemical safety and recycling. 44% of the samples (1,230) are Oeko-tex 100 certified and 35% (982) are GRS-certified. 16% of the samples are GOTS-certified and 10% are FSC-certified. Certifications with percentages less than 10%: Better Cotton, Bluesign, RCS (Recycled Claim Standard), OCS (Organic Content Standard), Biobased ISCC Plus, and others with less than 1% of the samples.


Standards and labels related to the entire organization (Chart 4): ZDHC ranks first (22% of exhibitors). This is followed by ISO 14001-certified exhibitors (17%), and Oeko-Tex Step (15.5%). The Camera della Moda/SMI Chemistry Guidelines are adopted by 10.8% of exhibitors, and 4sustainability by 10% of exhibitors. Detox Commitment, SA 8000, Textiles and Health, ISO 45001,, TF Traceability&Fashion, ISO 50001, and EMAS E B Corp. follow with less than 10% of exhibitors.