BRANDS AND RETAILERS
Apparel groups including H&M and Gap urge Cambodia garment industry reform, seek meeting with Hun Sen: “A group representing some of the largest apparel brands in the US and Europe – including Gap, H&M and ASOS – expressed “growing concern” on Tuesday over several controversial labour laws and ongoing court cases against unionists described as restrictive and unjust” (21 Mar).
House of Fraser joins green manufacturing drive: “House of Fraser has become the latest major retailer to join the Manufacture 2030 initiative, which helps companies drive efficiencies, cut emissions, and reduce resource use across their supply chains” (20 Mar).
Jaden Smith talks his G-Star sustainable denim collab exclusively with Teen Vogue: “Jaden Smith is collaborating on a denim capsule collection with brand G-Star that will be released this coming fall — and the entire line will be totally sustainable” (19 Mar). [Ed’s note: see also, Is Jaden Smith the Millennial Hollywood Poster Child for Sustainability? (19 Mar).]
Simons opens first eco-friendly store: “Quebec-based retailer La Maison Simons is going eco-friendly with the opening of its first net-zero energy store” (19 Mar).
Gap announces plan to conserve 10b litres of water in manufacturing processes by the end of 2020: “Gap Inc. today [19 Mar] unveiled a new sustainable manufacturing goal to conserve a total of 10 billion litres of water by the end of 2020” (19 Mar).
Clean Clothes Campaign says, “H&M must stick to the living wage commitment made in 2013”: “Back in 2013 H&M made a widely publicized commitment: that workers in their supply chain would be paid a living wage by 2018. As 2018 has already begun but hundreds of thousands of workers behind H&M's products are still receiving poverty wages, Clean Clothes Campaign nudged H&M's top ranks with a public letter” (19 Mar).
Eight-day strike at China factory making Michael Kors bags ends as workers’ pension and wage demands met: “Chinese factory workers in Guangzhou, who make luxury handbags for the US fashion label Michael Kors, ended an eight-day strike this week after the company agreed to their demands, but activists warn labour disputes on the mainland are likely to increase as workers seek better pay and treatment in line with the country’s economic advancement” (18 Mar).
Adidas sold 1 million shoes made of ocean plastic last year: “[Adidas] sold 1 million of its UltraBoost running shoes made from plastic recovered from the oceans last year” (15 Mar).
H&M ranks #1 on managing supply chain oversight: Investment research firm Morningstar has rated tent select apparel firms for “Supply-Chain Oversight”, placing H&M in first place, followed by Hugo Boss, Asics, Gap, Lululemon, PVH, Urban Outfitters, Hermès, Pou Chen and Yue Yuen (15 Mar).
Allbirds launches Lyocell sneakers made of wood pulp: “Sustainable footwear brand Allbirds has launched a new collection of sneakers made from a textile derived from eucalyptus tree pulp. The Tree Collection is naturally moisture wicking and reduces water use by 95%” (15 Mar).
Patagonia’s Ryan Gellert: “Customers are more engaged with making conscious purchase decisions”: “One of the things that has changed is that customers are more engaged with making conscious purchase decisions and are demanding more from the brands they support in the way of sustainability and fair labour” (15 Mar).
Versace will go fur-free: “Versace is to join a growing list of design houses that have announced the ban of fur in future collections” (15 Mar). [Ed’s note: see 15 fur free luxury brands blazing the trail for cruelty free fashion (15 Mar), and China’s fur capital touts itself to world even if fur’s out at Versace and other leading fashion houses (18 Mar).]
Clean Clothes Campaign files complaint against Adidas for breaching OECD guidelines in Indonesia: “Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) is preparing a complaint against Adidas to the German National Contact Point of the OECD for failing to provide access to remedy to 327 workers from their Indonesian shoe supplier Panarub” (14 Mar).
Gap sets new goal for apparel suppliers to pay garment workers digitally by 2020: “Gap [has] announced a … new goal for all of its tier 1 suppliers – approximately 800 factories in about 30 countries – to make the transition from a cash-based system to digital payments by 2020” (14 Mar).
The BRC and UK retailers join forces on new sustainability action plan: “More than twenty-five leading UK retailers, including John Lewis, Next and House of Fraser, have pledged to participate in a new sustainability action plan with the British Retail Consortium to tackle some of the largest global challenges faced by the industry” (14 Mar).
Westin Hotels & Resorts creates first upcycling program to create pajamas for children: “The first 50 hotels to participate generated about 30,000 pounds of bed linens and terry cloth which has resulted in about 2,000 pairs of pajamas” (14 Mar).
Three brands leading the charge in sustainable footwear: Good Guys, Veja and Feit (13 Mar).
REPORTS AND COMMENTARY
San Francisco becomes largest U.S. city to ban fur sales: “San Francisco supervisors voted unanimously to ban the sale of fur, further burnishing the city’s animal-loving credentials as it becomes the largest U.S. city to approve the prohibition” (21 Mar).
Further calls for Italian fashion sustainability drive: “Carlo Capasa, the head of the Italian Fashion Chamber has said that the non-profit organisation is intensifying efforts to create clear criteria on how the fashion industry can become more environmentally sustainable” (21 Mar – subscription required to read full article).
Sustainable fashion takes charge in Australia: “On Thursday morning, near Pitt Street Mall in the centre of Sydney, leaders from the Australian fashion and textile industries will gather for the Australian Circular Fashion Conference – the first of its kind in the country. The timing couldn’t be better: Australia is in the midst of a sustainable fashion moment, with fashion brands, retailers and media platforms waking up to opportunities within the sector” (21 Mar).
Circle Economy and eBay launch circular economy crowdsourcing platform: “Dutch social enterprise Circle Economy has teamed up with the eBay Foundation to launch a new online crowdsourcing platform to pull together new circular solutions to global challenges” (19 Mar).
Videos of Sedex Conference 2018 uploaded: All sessions from the Sedex Conference 2018 are now available to watch on demand through their YouTube channel (19 Mar).
15 innovations set to change the fashion industry? “From biodegradable glitter to fabrics made from seaweed or orange fibres – these are the next generation innovators that will be supported by the Fashion for Good-Plug and Play Accelerator” (19 Mar).
Child and forced labour in cotton: As advocates meet in Washington DC this week to reduce child labour in cotton, the Child Labor Coalition remind consumers that 18 countries use child labour to produce cotton and 8 countries use forced labour – list at link (18 Mar).
Why I think vegan fashion is always the more sustainable option: “As more and more consumers wake up to the high cost of cheap clothes to humans and the environment – from workers poisoned by toxic chemicals to landfills brimming with discarded garments – “ethical” and “sustainable” have become two of the biggest buzzwords in the fashion industry. But unless that jacket or pair of shoes is vegan, applying those terms is just greenwashing” (16 Mar).
EURATEX sets new strategic course: “EURATEX [has] announces the launch of a new strategic course to strengthen the voice of the European textile and apparel industry … To better reflect its members’ objectives and priorities which in addition to trade and industry policies encompass policy areas such as sustainability, innovation and skills” (16 Mar).
Alibaba founders invest in luxury sharing economy in China: “Women’s clothing rental business Rent the Runway recently secured $20 million from Alibaba founders Jack Ma and Joe Tsai via Blue Pool Capital” (16 Mar).
Meet Lina Mayorga: Finalist Redress Design Award 2017: “There are enough ethical ways to source and use materials for the production of sustainable clothing” (15 Mar).
Sustainability summit in Costa Rica: “Non-profit sustainability organisation Omina … has partnered with consultancy firm Eco-Age to host Omina2018, a sustainability summit that will bring together leaders in fashion and environmentalism to exchange research and ideas” (16 Mar).
Surveying high performance collaboration between buyers and suppliers: ETI and the ILO want to hear about purchasing practices from company buyers. “Our buyers’ survey is here and will take 30-45 minutes to complete. It is also anonymous and any responses will be treated as such” (16 Mar).
Report urges for national injury insurance for garment workers: “A new report from the University of Sussex, titled Workers’ Right to Compensation after Garment Factory Disasters: Making Rights a Reality calls for the changes that are needed to secure compensation of workers as a right, rather than as a form of charity” (14 Mar). [Ed’s note: full report here.]
Levi’s on what the fabric of sustainability feels like in 2030: “Our partners are mapping the water use, projecting water needs and creating scenarios for 2030” (14 Mar).
FLA and AAFA raise concerns about Myanmar labor reform process: “[The Fair Labor Association (FLA) and American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) have written to the government of Myanmar identifying] how current labor laws written in 2011 and 2012 fall short of international norms and best practices, and cites FLA factory assessment reports from 2016 and 2017 that demonstrate the effect on workers of a legal environment that does not protect their right to freedom of association” (09 Mar).
Why ethical fashion brands need to ditch the guilt trip and lead with the product: “Here is the thing. When I shop, I don’t want to feel guilty. As Majo would say, guilt is a waste of time and energy. I don’t want it. Shopping ethical is hard enough” (06 Mar).
DyStar launches new concept for resource optimised dyeing: “[DyStar’s] Cadira Reactive/Disperse Continuous … concepts considerably reduce process costs, water, waste and energy consumption and machine utilisation” (19 Mar).
Sensient ElvaJet Opal SC awarded Eco Passport by Oeko-Tex: “[Sensient’s] ElvaJet Opal SC is the first digital sublimation ink designed for industrial printers using Kyocera heads to achieve the Eco Passport” (15 Mar)
Why progressive fashion designers spin: An article about spider silk, focusing on Bolt Threads and Amsilk (15 Mar – in German).
Trident gets STeP certification: “Trident … [part of] a USD 1 billion Indian business conglomerate and a global player has received the Sustainable Textile Production (STeP) certification for both its home textiles plants [in India]” (15 Mar).
Textile processors want to procure water from other sources: “Sources said [Surat Municipal Corporation] has slashed the daily supply of water to over 125 textile processing units in Pandesara by almost 30 million litre per day (MLD) against the required quantity of 90 MLD” (15 Mar).
Stahl and Ananas Anam announce intentions to cooperate: “Stahl and Ananas Anam, a pioneer company in innovation and product development within the circular economy, announce their intentions to cooperate to enhance the performance and sustainability of Pinatex, a natural textile made from pineapple leaf fibre” (14 Mar).
Enzyme solution to upcycle polyester fabrics: “Bioplastics firm, Carbios has announced further developments in its enzymatic polyester depolymerisation process which could see new pathways to recycle polyester” (12 Mar – subscription required to read full article).
THE SUPPLY CHAIN
New garment wage proposals to be ready in six months: “The garment sector wage board asked the representatives of owners and workers to submit proposals for the minimum monthly pay for the entry-level workers” (20 Mar).
Govt talks with stakeholders over concerns of ILO begin: “The government has started discussions with stakeholders on the draft amendments to the Bangladesh Labour Act 2006 as the International Labour Organisation expressed reservations about the proposed changes” (19 Mar).
Bangladesh Accord posts safety remediation progress update: 85% remediation progress across 1600+ Accord factories; 138 factories fully remediated; 749 factories completed >90% remediation (19 Mar).
Slackness in wage board activities ill-motivated, say garment workers: “Garments workers’ leaders on Friday [16 Mar] complained that there was an apparent slackness in the activities of wage board formed to fix minimum wages for readymade garments workers and there might be some ill motivation behind such indolence” (17 Mar).
20 hurt as RMG workers clash with cops in Savar: “Witnesses said a group of workers of United Trousers Garments at Gouripur were staging demonstrations in front of their factory on Thursday night demanding payment of their arrears” (16 Mar).
Alliance remediation fund left untouched: “Garment manufacturers could not avail themselves of the $100 million remediation fund of the Alliance signatory companies due to complicated terms and conditions, making the 28 North American retailers’ pledge an empty promise” (16 Mar).
Alliance wants independent body to monitor safety progress: “Alliance for Bangladesh Workers Safety Executive Director Jim Moriarty has said the organization was considering the establishment of an independent body to monitor the progress on safety measures at RMG factories in the country” (15 Mar).
Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety announces unprecedented progress in factory safety, worker empowerment: “Remarks from Ambassador Jim Moriarty, Alliance Executive Director, at Quarter One Press Conference” (15 Mar).
Alliance says 322 Bangladesh RMG factories ‘substantially’ remediated: “The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety says 322 readymade garment factories or 88 percent affiliated with the initiative in the country have completed all material components in their corrective action plan” (15 Mar).
Minister agrees to final talk on draft minimum wage law: “The government has accepted a request from a senior officer of the US State Department to hold another discussion on the draft minimum wage law before it is approved” (20 Mar).
Garment worker killed, 12 others hurt in crash: “One garment worker died and a dozen others were injured when a five-tonne truck veered into their minibus on National Road 2 in Takeo province’s Bati district on Saturday” (19 Mar).
Canada praises progress in factory labour conditions: “Canada’s Ambassador to Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, on Friday lauded Cambodia’s recent advancements in factory labour conditions” (19 Mar).
Workers to be informed of their labour rights: “The Labour Ministry will send more than 200 trainers to factories and relevant institutes to educate workers about labour rights” (16 Mar).
Minister wants doctors at factory infirmaries: “The Minister of Labour [has] suggested that recently graduated doctors should find work at factory infirmaries following a government push for garment factories to take better care of their workers” (16 Mar).
Expensive fashion from cheap production – hunger wages for seamstresses: “For little money, international fashion companies have their high-priced goods produced in East and Southeast Europe. As laws are disregarded, seamstresses work under difficult conditions and receive starvation wages” (13 Mar – video report in German).
Tamil Nadu government plans resource centre to ‘track’ migrant workers: “Under fire from various international organisations for failing to monitor the working conditions of migrant women labourers in Tamil Nadu’s bristling textile hubs, the state government is mulling over setting up a resource centre that would track the movement of this vulnerable section and resolve their grievances” (18 Mar).
New basic wage may take effect in April: “The National Minimum Wage Council has sought the approval of the president for the new minimum wage of K4800 (US$3.60) per day to be enforced starting in April” (19 Mar).
Microfinance institution goes digital to educate migrant factory workers: “VisionFund Myanmar (VFM), the second largest microfinance institution in Myanmar, recently partnered with Opportunities NOW (ONOW), to launch ‘Mr. Finance VFM’ - a ground-breaking chatbot platform that provides user-friendly financial literacy to microfinance borrowers” (13 Mar).
Two workers die in factory fire: “Two labourers died and three others injured when a fire broke out in a shoe factory at Batapur” (17 Mar).
Disclaimer: The Fashion Sustainability Week in Review (FSWIR) is a weekly roundup of sustainability news items relevant to the fashion, apparel, textile and related industries. The views and opinions expressed in the FSWIR by individual authors and/or media outlets cited do not necessarily re