BRANDS AND RETAILERS

Archroma partners with Kathmandu: Colour chemicals and dye company Archroma has announced it has partnered with New Zealand based outdoor brand Kathmandu for the brand’s new range of hoodies. Archroma’s EarthColors range of plant-based dyes are to be used, the company says (31 Oct – subscription required to read full article).

KiK fails to turn a new page on ethical business: Human Rights Watch has writen that “Germany has a growing club of global apparel brands making their supplier factory information public. Unfortunately, KiK is dragging its feet on transparency, and has stayed out of the club” (31 Oct).

Fashion brands using sustainable packaging: Ten per cent of Filippa K customers choose to use RePack, paying €4 a sustainable (returnable and reusable) packaging option in exchange for 10 per cent off of their next purchase with a participating retailer. Mud Jeans and Scandinavian Outdoor are also using the packaging (30 Oct).

Patagonia targets Fair Trade certification on 50 per cent of range by next year: In 2014, Patagonia joined the Fair Trade Certified programme, and has been awarded the programm’s label for 10 of its products. Patagonia’s senior management has indeed given top priority to the programme, and now 38 per cent of the brand’s range is Fair Trade-certified, with products coming from 14 factories in 8 different countries. (30 Oct).

Just 4 per cent of what Australians spend on clothing goes to garment workers, says Oxfam: A new report by Deloitte Access Economics for Oxfam Australia adds to pressure on Australia’s big clothing retailers, including Kmart, Big W, and Target, to act faster on their ethical sourcing programs. The analysis of clothing supply chains shows just 4 per cent of what Australians spend on clothing goes to the wages of workers in garment factories across the globe. In Bangladesh, it’s as low as 2 per cent. Bumping up the price of clothing by just 1% would be enough to give garment workers a living wage, the analysis found. That is only 20 cents extra for a $20 t-shirt (28 Oct). See also, Australians are clothed by factory workers earning 39 cents an hour, Oxfam finds (29 Oct). You can see Oxfam’s full report, What She Makes, here (PDF).

Wrangler partners with Texas Alliance for sustainability: Wrangler and The Texas Alliance for Water Conservation (TAWC) have partnered to promote best-in-class techniques and technologies for efficient water use among cotton growers. In an MoU, TAWC will serve as advisors to Wrangler’s US sustainable cotton programme, and Wrangler will help raise awareness for best practices produced by TAWC’s on-farm research (28 Oct).

What does Gucci’s fur ban mean for music's fashionistas? Elaine Welteroth, the editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue, goes even further. “Ethical fashion is the future of fashion. Gucci’s decision to ban fur is a smart step in the right direction – for the environment, for animal rights, and for its massive base of young brand fans who will soon represent the largest consumer base in history” (27 Oct).

How the fashion industry is embracing “Made in Ethiopia”: Global apparel giants like PVH, H&M, Vanity Fair, Zara, among others, are taking part in revolutionizing Ethiopia’s textile and apparel business. The country plans to leapfrog top exporters like Vietnam and Bangladesh in the next decade (26 Oct).

Goldschmied introduces denim capsule made with Lenzing Refibra: Denim designer Adriano Goldschmied has introduced a denim capsule collection made with Refibra, a newly launched fibre developed by Lenzing, the makers of Tencel. Refibra is a cellulosic fibre made from chemically recycled material that includes post-industrial cotton scraps and wood. Dubbed as “the new generation of Tencel,” Refibra is Recycled Claim Standard–certified and is made using a process that allows companies to identify the Refibra fibre in a finished garment (26 Oct).

Will millennials boost the fur trade? Millennial-friendly megabrands like Gucci are going fur-free, but the $40 billion global fur industry is working hard to reinvent itself for a new generation of consumers. But today’s youth are unburdened by the campaigns of animal rights groups compared to their counterparts two decades ago. They are also notably influenced by celebrities such as Rihanna, Kim Kardashian West and Beyoncé, who all regularly wear fur and circulate imagery of themselves on their Instagram accounts. “Our future is bright because of Millennials,” argues Charlie Ross, head of international marketing and sustainability at Saga Furs (26 Oct).

Kering recognized as climate change leader by CDP’s annual ranking: Following on from Kering’s recent top ranking in the 2017 Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI), Kering has received an “A score for climate” from CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project). Placement on CDP’s ‘Climate A List’ reaffirms Kering’s sustainability leadership and recognizes Kering’s efforts and actions to combat climate change and help lead the way towards a low-carbon economy (25 Oct). There were 112 companies on CDP’s A list this year (see story immediately below for fashion, apparel and textile companies included).

Kering and Burberry make CDP A list for companies working on climate change, water and forests: CDP’s annual A List names the world's businesses leading on environmental performance. This year, we recognize 160 corporates as the pioneers acting on climate change, water security and deforestation, and building our new sustainable economy that works for both people and planet. Companies are: Burberry (water); Kering (climate) (24 Oct). You can see the full list here (PDF).

KiK lags behind regarding transparency: While other clothing companies now provide information on their supply chains, Kik stands alone failing to provide transparent public data. Other companies, including Aldi, Lidl, Hugo Boss and Tchibo released information about their production sites in 2017, as well as Adidas, C&A, Esprit, and H&M, which had previously released such information (24 Oct – in German).

Brands taking a stand on political debates: Fashion label Jigsaw is the latest company to take a political stance with a new, pro-immigration fashion campaign titled Heart Immigration. Its advertising campaign includes a manifesto declaring: “British style is not 100% British. In fact, there’s no such thing as 100% British” (24 Oct).

CSR of fashion and lifestyle brands in India: Companies assessed include: Aditya Birla Retail, Nahar Group, Arvind Lifestyle Brands, Provogue, Raymond, FabIndia, Shoppers’ Stop, Future Group, Reliance Retail, and Zara. The conclusion was that while the 2013 CSR Act is applicable to foreign companies in India, there’s little or no data to indicate if the provisions of the same are being followed. Information is hard to come by and basic data are missing (24 Oct).

Cotton Australia supports Kmart Australia pledge: Cotton Australia, the organisation which supports 1,200 cotton growers, has today announced its support for a new initiative by Kmart Australia, which with over 200 stores in the country, has pledged to source 100 per cent of its cotton products from sustainable sources (24 Oct – subscription required to read full article).

How Reformation tackled faster, affordable denim sustainably: “With Reformation jeans, we wanted to tackle the worst polluting type of clothing: denim. Denim and basics are also garments that literally everyone wears. So we wanted to create more affordable pieces to reach more people with Reformation Jeans,” said CEO and founder Yael Aflalo. “The Ref Jeans line meets our same material standards and manufacturing practices as our main line, but we are able to make more and keep the styles simple to help lower costs. Limiting the amount of steps, chemicals, energy, and water usage actually helps reduce costs at the fabric and manufacturing level” (24 Oct).

REPORTS, GUIDELINES AND STANDARDS

The future of fashion: The November edition of Harper’s Bazaar has an article about the future of fashion. Not once, in 1,652 words, are the terms sustainability, environment, ethical, transparent, responsible, or their synonyms of derivatives, mentioned. Not once (Nov).

There’s more cheating going on in sustainability than you think: When it comes to sustainability, some companies are making fabric out of discarded orange peels to curb impact and find uses for waste, and others are making denim the traditional way, sticking a “waterless” label on it and shipping it as sustainable when it’s nothing of the sort. That was the sobering reality Edward Hertzman, Sourcing Journal founder and publisher delivered at the recent Textile Exchange Sustainability Conference in Washington, D.C.  His report is a wakeup call for the industry and consumers (30 Oct).

Project to chemically recycle PET plastics launched in Brussels: DEMETO, a new European project on the chemical recycling of PET has officially launched with the aim of enabling chemical de-polymerization of PET at industrial scale based on its microwave-based process intensification, focusing as a start on coloured bottles waste (30 Oct).

Why your laundry is littering the ocean with plastic: Each time you load up the washing machine, synthetic fabrics such as polyester, derived from plastic, shed microfibres that end up in the ocean via the waste water from our laundry. Ironically, some of these fabrics have actually been manufactured from recycled plastic as a way of reducing plastic waste, only to dump it into the ocean in a different form, says Dr Mark Anthony Browne, a senior research associate with the School of Biological Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of NSW (30 Oct).

New report on home-based workers in India and Nepal: According to a study conducted across three cities in India and Nepal by HomeNet South Asia, a network of home-based workers, and a research and policy network called Women in Informal Employment: Globalising and Organising, home-based workers labour for 21-29 days a month and earn approximately Rs 6,000 (US$92.50) on a piece-rate basis. Most of these home-based workers are women who spend six to eight hours a day stitching sleeves, sewing buttons, trimming threads, attaching drawstrings, and crafting embroidery (26 Oct).You can download the report, Working in the Shadows: Women Home Workers in the Global Supply Chain, here.

China gets tough on polluting factories: More than US$130 million dollars in fines have been levied through the tax system against 18,000 companies who failed to meet stricter environmental regulations to date (25 Oct). The country is aiming to reduce the concentration of hazardous fine particulate matter (PM2.5) from 47 micrograms in 2016 to 35 in 2035 and to reduce emissions from polluting industries by 30% by the end of 2017 (see here, 24 Oct), and has reportedly shuttered tens of thousands of factories amid a growing pollution crisis. The story has been widely reported (see here for more).

Responsible plastics a ‘key consumer trend’: More consumers are seeking out packaging made from recycled plastics as awareness of marine pollution rises, according to Mintel, a market intelligence agency, one of four key consumer trends set to impact Europe in 2018 (18 Oct).You can see the Mintel report here, which says “In the coming year, lobbying campaigns will make consumers more aware of ocean plastic and its impact on wildlife and their own health, while politics will focus European consumer attention on marine conservation. More and more brands will offer education and leadership with clean, safe and sustainable products, as they seek to highlight, and safeguard, the purity and future supply of their ocean ingredients.”

The Undiscovered Business Potential of Production Leftovers within Global Fashion Supply Chains: A white paper by H&M Foundation Global Change Award winner, Reverse Resources, concludes the volume of production leftovers is systematically underreported and thus underestimated by the industry. Titled The Undiscovered Business Potential of Production Leftovers within Global Fashion Supply Chains: Creating a Digitally Enhanced Circular Economy, the report is based on extensive research among major fabric and garment factories in China and Bangladesh. After the capacity of lean manufacturing methods (process optimisation) end, still >25% of resources (for a variety of reasons) are spilled out of original supply chains. Even though these materials get used somewhere, most materials get downcycled, incinerated or dumped. We describe the economic incentives for stakeholders (a “hidden subsidy” embedded in current pricing scheme) to continue along linear patterns, preventing more effective use of resources (Oct). The white paper can be found at the link in the title; requires name and email to download.

MANUFACTURERS

Reducing the carbon impact of the textile industry: Vienna Textile Lab in Austria is formulating textile dyes from bacteria, creating a sustainable and safe solution to major problems: human impact, ecological impact, and carbon impact (29 Oct).

Jeanologia on how to make the denim industry more sustainable: “Currently, five billion pairs of jeans are produced every year. To produce these, about 420 million m3 of water and 900,000 tons of chemicals are used and over 2 million people are exposed to techniques that are detrimental to their health,” explains Carmen Silla, Director of Marketing and Communication at Jeanologia (27 Oct).

Eastman’s introduces new sustainable fibre: The cellulosic-based fibre and yarns from Eastman are made using a “near-closed loop” process using a spinning agent that is recycled, resulting in very little effluent (26 Oct).

NGT orders trimonthly survey of textile industry in India: In order to control pollution, the principal bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has ordered the central and Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board to undertake joint surveys every three months in Balotra and adjoining textile industrial area (25 Oct).

Stahl becomes bluesign system partner: Stahl recently announced it has achieved the bluesign system partner status. This formalisation underlines a commitment to produce textile products in the most sustainable way by working together with partners. The system unites players throughout the supply chain to jointly reduce their impact on people and the environment. With its holistic approach based on Input Stream Management, the bluesign system also ensures responsible use of resources and guarantees the highest level of consumer safety (24 Oct).

THE SUPPLY CHAIN

A close look at the Cambodian garment sector with GMAC’s John Cha: The Khmer TimesMay Kunmakara sat down with John Cha, an executive committee member of the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC). Mr Cha is also the head of the organising committee of the recently held “National Career and Productivity Fair”, which sought to bring to the fore the challenges for the industry in the years to come (30 Oct).

Thailand priced out of prosperity: On New Year's Day of 2013, former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra's cabinet launched the "300-baht minimum wage policy" across Thailand, marking a historically high daily wage hike, with around 30 to 80 per cent of wages rising across several provinces. But since the wage hike of four years ago, life has improved very little for many workers (29 Oct).

Safety improves in Bangladesh, but workers’ rights lag behind: Four years after the worst industrial disaster in the history of Bangladesh, RMG factories have come a long way in safety issues but workers’ rights still seem to be taking a back seat (29 Oct).

Accord to stay on till a local regulator takes over: The Accord on Fire and Electrical Safety in Bangladesh (otherwise called the Accord) will continue its operations beyond the May 2018 deadline in Bangladesh until a local regulatory body demonstrates its full capacity to inspect RMG factories and ensure remediation and safety of workers (27 Oct).

The Cambodian government threatens labour rights: “…the government decided to quash dissent pre-emptively. In the past 18 months it has rammed through new laws to stifle independent labour movements. It has become harder to register unions, and only those approved by the government can represent their members in the most important disputes. Another proposed law would see labour cases handled by newly created labour courts, rather than special councils as happens now” (26 Oct).

Unpaid Cambodian workers camp out: A group of garment workers employed by Gawon Apparel Co. have been sleeping outside their factory for ten days after the firm failed to pay them their full wages. The staff should have got $153, but were only given $50 or $70 (24 Oct).

(Photo by Hammad A., CCO)

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