With a commitment to ensuring the responsible use of chemicals within their value chain, Noyon Lanka (Pvt) Ltd, one of the world’s largest lace manufacturers and a subsidiary of MAS Holdings, has introduced ‘Planetones,’ a 100% natural dye solution for lace, the first of its kind to be certified by the Control Union.

Dyeing and the treatment of fabric are estimated to generate as much as 20% of wastewater worldwide and are key contributors to the fashion industry’s overall environmental footprint. Dyeing also has other impacts, including its contribution to carbon emissions.

At a press conference held today in Sri Lanka, representatives at Noyon noted that changing the approach to dyeing and making this process more environment friendly could be one way forward in bringing brands, retailers and the entire apparel industry closer to their sustainability goals. Given the heavy scrutiny faced by the industry for its impact on the planet, sustainable, innovative solutions are crucial now more than ever.

In this context, Noyon Lanka is introducing Planetones, the world’s first 100% natural dye solution for nylon lace, which has received the Eco Dye Standard from the Control Union. It also complies with the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL) – Level 1, Oeko-Tex, besides carrying a Transaction Certificate (TC) from the Control Union. Hence, Planetones presents a crucial opportunity for the industry to align better with the growing demand from consumers and pressure groups for sustainable, ethical fashion produced with less environmental impact.

Made using natural colour sources or ‘shades of nature’ – such as cranberry and achiote, Planetones has been tried and tested on a range of nylon bases. Compared with a synthetic dye, water and energy saving are estimated at approximately 30% and 15%, respectively, boasting a significant reduction of chemical load to effluent and zero toxic chemicals. Reflecting its strong sustainability credentials, Planetones’ carries the tagline ‘colour me guilt free’.

However, Planetones’ unique sustainability attributes have not been achieved at the expense of any critical parameters relating to the quality of the product. The solution has an 85% to 95% colour match, an unprecedented figure for natural dyes given that no two natural sources (two fruits of the same type, for example) are exactly alike. In terms of colourfastness – a fabric’s resistance to change in its colour characteristics or the transfer of colourants to adjacent materials – the solution scores 2.5 – 3.5 to light and 3.5 to other materials. Similarly, colour repeatability is also high – between 90% and 95%.

Planetones currently offers 32 shades of colour and has already been commercialised with two leading European fashion brands. The dye solution and its intellectual property (IP) will be extended by Noyon to other supply chain partners within the MAS Group – enabling manufacturers such as Trischel, Stretchline, and Prym to also offer certified naturally-dyed elastics, accessories and fabric.

“This innovation is an important milestone in Noyon’s sustainability journey,” Noyon Lanka CEO Ashiq Lafir said. “We are actively collaborating with other stakeholders in the supply chain as well to make this solution available to them, which we hope will initiate momentum towards producing a garment that exclusively uses natural dyes in the near future.”

“While we take pride in this innovation, this only represents the beginning of our journey. Through innovations that are currently in development, we are confident that we can produce solutions that are even more sustainable.”

The development of the natural dye solution is part of Noyon’s ‘green vision’; its sustainability roadmap. Noyon Lanka’s existing suite of eco-offerings includes biodegradable and recycled material, including material made using recycled polyethene terephthalate (PET) bottles.

Compared with levels in 2019, Noyon reduced its absolute emissions by 8.4 percent in 2021 and seeks to reduce a further 12.6 percent in 2022. The company currently engages in value enhancement of 50% of its non-hazardous waste, supporting circularity and re-use. 100% of the dyes and chemicals used by the company are Bluesign-approved.

In parallel with the natural dye solution, Noyon partnered with the Galle Wildlife Conservation Society, a local conversation body, for a community-based project identifying ‘new to science’ species within the Sinharaja Forest. The Sinharaja Forest Reserve, home to over 50% of Sri Lanka’s endemic species of mammals and butterflies and in which more than 60% of the trees are endemic, has been designated a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

To commemorate the identification of new species, Noyon aims to create a line of natural dye colours named after each identified species. Noyon will also donate 1% of all revenue generated through the natural dye solution towards this cause.