The Greening of Textiles: Organic Movement Hits the Sheets

Textile sustainability may be hospitality’s newest green trend. LODGING spoke with Marci Zaroff, the founder and CEO of MetaWear and the founder of Under the Canopy, to discuss her growing presence in the hospitality industry. Zaroff is also responsible for launching organic sheets in Target, Fortunoff, and Bed, Bath & Beyond, coining the term and pioneering the market for ECOfashion, and working on a global collaboration to create the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).

Marci Zaroff discusses the greening of textilesWhy is sustainability a textiles trend?
I used to say that sustainability was about staying ahead, but now it is about not being left behind. There is a big trend right now toward having a transparent supply chain. I think today’s consumer, particularly the millennial, wants to know how their products are made. Relatively speaking, the textile industry is still in its infancy. But today, most consumers are buying organic food, at least occasionally, and that shows a level of awareness. People who are traveling and staying in hotels are starting to look for organic food on hotel menus, and the natural evolution is to move into organic textiles. Most people aren’t aware that the impact of textiles is actually far greater than the impact of food production.

Why should hotel guests seek out hotels that value sustainability?
Organic is not just a marketing proposition, it is a methodology that helps to protect the ecosystem and reverse climate change. Organic cotton is grown without the use of pesticides to provide consumers a product that is free of harmful chemicals. Most people don’t realize that conventional sheets are dyed with toxic chemicals that may include heavy metals or formaldehyde.

What steps should a hotel take when switching to organic textile?
If a hotel wants to move into organic textile, they want their products to be GOTS certified. GOTS assures full transparency of the product from the farm to the finished product. When you start at the farm level, you can be super efficient and you can actually create a more vertically integrated supply change to create that additional value without much of an increased cost.

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