Brands and retailers

Target launches ‘big and tough’ sustainable sourcing, worker wellbeing goals: Target has announced the launch of its 2020 sustainability goals, focused on reaching new levels of transparency and sustainable sourcing. The goals centre around three key commitments: elevating workers’ wellbeing, through initiatives to promote greater access to nutrition and health screening; achieving net-positive manufacturing; and deriving raw materials, such as cotton, from ethical sources (14 Nov 16).

C&A Foundation, Volcom continue to advance market for closed-loop textiles: The C&A Foundation granted €250,000 ($276,000) to the social enterprise Circle Economy, which is dedicated to accelerating the practical and scalable implementation of the circular economy. Circle Economy will use the funding to advance its Circle Textiles Program with a mission to close the loop for textiles and create a zero-waste industry (07 Nov 16).

Bono and Ali’s ethical clothing line sees losses hit $74m: New figures lodged with the companies office show that EDUN Apparel Ltd recorded a loss of $7.56m in the 12 months to the end of December last. The loss last year continued the trend of hefty annual losses recorded over recent years — the loss last year was a 35% increase on the $5.57m loss recorded in 2014. This followed losses of $6.4m in 2013; $7.88m in 2012; and $8.5m in 2011. Bono and Ms Hewson established the global fashion brand in 2005 in an effort to bring about positive change through its trading relationship with Africa and its positioning as a creative force in contemporary fashion (09 Nov 16).

Stella McCartney says, “Fashion is getting away with murder”: Stella McCartney is the luxury industry’s most vocal advocate for animal and environmental welfare. “Fashion really is getting away with murder,” said McCartney on Monday night, speaking to a crowd at the London College of Fashion at a sustainability-themed talk hosted by her label’s parent company, Kering (14 Nov 16).

Timberland makes case for bringing cotton back to Haiti: Timberland has sponsored a feasibility study titled “Cotton: Export Market Potential for Smallholder Farmers in Haiti,” which makes a compelling case for reintroducing a crop that was once the country’s fourth largest agricultural export, but which collapsed nearly 30 years ago due to a combination of politics and policies, and provides a new model to connect small-scale Haitian farmers to the global economy (09 Nov 16).

LVMH carbon fund raises €6 million: In November 2015, LVMH boss Bernard Arnault signalled his engagement in environment protection, through the creation of a carbon fund within the group. The objective was to set up projects which would allow the reduction of the group’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25 per cent (11 Nov 16).

LVMH launches gender equality research campaign: LVMH has started a new program called “EllesVMH Connect” focused on addressing gender equality in the workplace. The two-part program, which began on September 23rd, is spanning 43 LVMH houses across 22 countries (14 Nov 16).

HanesBrands earns high score in CDP 2016 climate change report: HanesBrands has announced that it has voluntarily disclosed its carbon emissions and related information for the CDP 2016 Climate Change Report and earned an above-average score of B (03 Nov 16).

Primark among first in line for European sustainable clothing push: Five leading clothing brands and retailers including Primark and Peak Performance have signed up to WRAPs cooperative European Clothing Action Plan (ECAP) initiative, which aims to promote sustainable clothing across the continent (11 Nov 16).

How H&M, Marks & Spencer and Zara are fashioning change: Environmental non-profit Canopy, along with H&M, Inditex/Zara, Stella McCartney, Marks & Spencer and Eileen Fisher, welcomed representatives of 87 global fashion brands and retailers for a day-long summit to strategize conservation solutions for the world’s endangered forests (11 Nov 16).

Nordstrom pulls hoodie depicting Nanjing massacre: US fashion retailer Nordstrom was in hot water last Sunday after placing a hoodie depicting a scene from the massacre in the Chinese city of Nanjing for sale on one of its websites (13 Nov 16).

Reports, Guidelines and Standards

UN report says developing countries will face an unemployment crisis as robots could take two-thirds of jobs: The estimates come from a new report by the UN Conference on Trade and Development, which warns of the mixed benefits and risks of ‘disruptive technologies.’ As many of these lower-skilled jobs had already disappeared in developed countries, the effect of automation and reshoring could bring about extreme losses in developing countries (09 Nov 16).

Robots unsuitable for garment manufacturing, says UNCTAD: Robots are replacing low wage workers in most of the workplaces to promote domestic manufacturing. This step is bound to have an adverse effect on developing countries. However, robots are not yet suitable for labour-intensive firms like garment industries, leaving the door open for developing countries to enter industrialisation along traditional lines (15 Nov 16).

Fast fashion is absolutely destroying the planet: “You can buy a hybrid car. You can use cloth bags at the grocery store. Hell, you can even put solar panels on your roof. But if you're buying fast fashion, you're still destroying the planet” (14 Nov 16). From Esquire magazine.

International protocol targeting forced labour comes into force: The International Labor Organization (ILO) [announced last week that International Protocol P029, an agreement seeking to end forced labour, officially entered into force. The agreement was adopted in 2014 and was ratified by nine countries (11 Nov 16).

Austin, Texas launches recycling program: Each year more than 3,000 tons of textiles go into Austin landfills, but starting 5 December Austinites will have a new option to recycle their unwanted apparel. That’s when they'll receive recycling bags in the mail. They'll then be able to fill up the bags, leave them out next to their regular recycling bin, and once they're picked up, new bags will be left behind (11 Nov 16).

Why aren't more big brands designing clothes for people with disabilities? Designing clothes for people with disabilities – such as wounded veterans – is attracting fashion school students, but far fewer mainstream brands (13 Nov 16).


Italian textile suppliers join force to promote sustainability: An association has been launched to help Italian textile suppliers meet Greenpeace Detox campaign goals. Consorzio Italiano Implementazione Detox (CID) aims to encourage sustainability and innovation in textile production. Its members include 27 companies that supply fashion brands including Burberry, Prada, Valentino, Armani, and Gucci (10 N0ov 16).

New software to help garment makers reduce fabric waste: ThreadSol, a Singapore-headquartered software company, has come up with a solution to reduce waste of fabrics, just in time when local garment makers are desperately trying to reduce the cost of production. Apparel makers can count on reducing fabric waste by 0.5 percent to 1 percent with the ThreadSol software, Manasij Ganguli, co-founder and CEO of the company, said in an interview last week (13 Nov 16).

Responsible Care Prize 2016 awarded to the Rudolf Group: The “Responsible-Care” Prize for responsible management in the pharmaceutical/chemical industry was awarded for the 25th time in Düsseldorf on 23 September. In the important category “environmental protection” the award went to Rudolf GmbH, which is based in Geretsried, Bavaria (14 Nov 16).

The Supply Chain

Cambodian garment workers urged to boost sector’s productivity: The Cambodian prime minister has urged garment workers to improve their productivity in order to prevent factories from closing shop and moving to such countries as Laos, Bangladesh and Myanmar, all of which have lower minimum wages (08 Nov 16).

Cambodian garment workers seek back pay: More than 200 workers have filed a complaint with the Ministry of Labour demanding their last month’s salary after the factory they worked for in Phnom Penh allegedly went bankrupt without paying them (10 Nov 16).

Three workers die in Pakistan garment factory fire: Three workers were burnt alive inside a garment due to an electrical short-circuit at Ashraf Garments, a manufacturing unit set up in a double-storey building (11 Nov 16). Follow up: Owner arrested for violating building laws: Police have arrested the owner of Ashraf Garment Factory for violating building control laws.Three labourers were burnt to death when a fire erupted in the factory. As the flames engulfed the double-storey building, workers had no exit point to flee the blaze (13 Nov 16).

Indian factory blaze kills at least 13 garment workers: The blaze, which started in the early hours of Friday as the workers slept inside the leather factory workshop in Uttar Pradesh state, also critically injured eight more people  (11 Nov 16).

Children’s Day and the child labourers of India’s garment factories: “Most of the domestic units in Gandhi Nagar, Seelampur and Karol Bagh employ less than 10 workers, thus, they are not being directly regulated by the Factory Act” (14 Nov 16).

Accord severs ties with All Weather Fashions: The Accord has severed ties with All Weather Fashions for its failure to complete remediation works despite serving it with notices three times (08 Nov 16).

Bangladesh to create positive impression of RMG industry: Bangladesh’s readymade garments (RMG) sector should concentrate on sustainable development goals (SDG) and profitability for a positive portrayal of the country in the world. The statement was made at a panel discussion on RMG at the Impact Investment Summit with the theme “Driving the Sustainable Agenda” last week. It was initiated by Build Bangladesh and organised by Bangladesh Brand Forum (13 Nov 16).

Officials, activists in Jordan act swiftly to rescue ‘abused foreign labourers’: Authorities came to the rescue of five south Asian garment workers after activists alerted the anti-trafficking police of alleged non-payment of salaries and non-issuance of work permits at a garment factory (10 Nov 16).

(Image, Kawtar Cherkaoui, CCO)