BRANDS AND RETAILERS
Brands signing up to the 2018 Bangladesh Accord 14 Mar – 28 Mar: Brands signing up during the last two weeks to the 2018 Accord include: Bel&Bo, Dansk Supermarked Group, Åhléns AB, Morrisons, Schijvens, TV Mania, Zephyr Headwear, and Reima (28 Mar). [Ed’s note: list gleaned from IndustriALL’s updates list of signatories here.]
Effective implementation of GFAs in the garment industry: “IndustriALL organized series of workshops to train union organizers and workers to take advantage and ensure effective implementation of IndustriALL’s Global Framework Agreements (GFAs) with garment producers H&M, Inditex and Tchibo” (27 Mar).
ASOS hosts modern slavery event at House of Lords: “ASOS is today [27 Mar] co-hosting an event on the subject of modern slavery at the House of Lords with Baroness Lola Young to identify and address shared risks in the apparel sector. A number of leading fashion players, such as Missguided, Boohoo, New Look, French Connection, Lipsy, Selfridges, Burberry, Jack Wills, Perry Ellis and Debenhams, will also be in attendance” (27 Mar).
Sustainability remains priority, but progress is slow on implementation: “While companies such as Eileen Fisher and Ramblers Way are making strides in offering sustainable products, the apparel industry as a whole is lagging” (27 Mar).
Superdry co-founder to donate shares as he steps down from the retailer: “The co-founder of fashion retailer Superdry is stepping down and donating more than £1 million in shares, saying he plans to devote more time to other business and charitable interests” (27 Mar).
Abercrombie launches new website highlighting transparency and corporate responsibility: “Abercrombie & Fitch has relaunched its corporate website, featuring a new design aiming to provide more information to investors, partners, consumers and employees about corporate sustainability, diversity and community” (27 Mar).
How H&M is leading the charge for sustainable fashion: [Ed’s note: The bulk of the article features a Q&A with Anna Gedda, head of sustainability at H&M.] (26 Mar).
China’s JD.com ramps up sustainability efforts: “Last week, JD.com launched the fourth round of its clothing recycling programme, which has collected roughly 1 million items of clothing since it started in 2016” (26 Mar).
Apparel giant VF Corporation refutes Cambodian ministry’s allegations: “In a rare rebuke, a US apparel giant refuted the Labour Ministry’s portrayal of a closed-door meeting earlier this week and denied reports they were increasing orders from Cambodia … VF Corporation spokesman Craig Hodges said news coverage that the company expressed satisfaction with the government’s efforts to improve workers’ rights “greatly misrepresents” the company’s position” (23 Mar).
Britain’s top suppliers flout landmark anti-slavery law: “[Thomson Reuters Foundation reports] only 58 percent of the government's 100 top suppliers last year met a British legal requirement to outline their actions to combat forced labour within their supply chains” (23 Mar). [Ed’s note: a list of apparel companies confirmed by the Modern Slavery Registry to have published a statement in compliance with minimum requirements set out in the UK Modern Slavery Act includes the following brands (this does not include retailers, which will be listed next week): Acushnet (subsidiary of Fila), Adidas, Airwear International (Dr Martens), Alfred Dunhill, Amer Sports (Salomon, Wilson Sporting Goods, Arc’teryx), Asics, Bestseller, Burberry, Camira Fabrics, Charles Tyrwhitt, Cha Technologies Group, C. & J. Clark (Clarks), Coach, Coast Fashions, Coats, Cooneen By Design, Cotton Traders, Craghoppers, FitFlop, Fred Perry, GBG International, Gildan Activewear, Givenchy, Glen Raven, Hackett, Hugo Boss, Hunter Boot, IC Group (Peak Performance, Tiger of Sweden, By Malene Birger, Saint Tropez, Designers Remix), Jack Wills, Johnstons of Elgin, J. Barbour and Sons (Barbour), Jimmy Choo, Johnsons Apparelmaster Limited, Joules Group, JP Boden, KCP Operating Company (Kenneth Cole), Kering, Levi Strauss, Lululemon Athletica, Meltemi, Michael Kors, Mirza, Mizuno, Mulberry, New Balance, Nilörngruppen (Nilorn), Oasis Fashions, Patagonia, Pencarrie, Pentland Brands (Speedo, Berghaus, Canterbury of New Zealand, Endura, Mitre, Ellesse, Boxfresh, SeaVees, KangaROOS, Red or Dead), Perry Ellis, Phase Eight, Prada, Puma, Quantum Clothing Group, Radley + Co, Ralph Lauren, Rapha, Regatta, Reiss, Rubies, Rula Group, Scottish Leather Group, Seasalt, Specialized Bikes, Stella McCartney, Ted Baker, Thomas Pink, Toms, Under Armour, VF Corp, Victoria Beckham, Wacoal, Welspun, Whistles, William Lamb, Williamson-Dickie, Yours Clothing.]
JCPenney Joins Cotton LEADS Program: “[JCPenney has joined the] Cotton LEADS program raises awareness of sustainable and responsible cotton growing by connecting businesses across the global supply chain with the leading efforts in sustainable cotton production” (22 Mar).
Wrangler suppliers adopting water-saving technology: “Wrangler has announced it is working with major denim suppliers around the world to adopt a revolutionary water-saving technology” (22 Mar).
Nike scandal threatens its image with women: “For a company that expects its future growth to come from selling more sneakers to young women, concerns about a locker-room mentality are threatening” (22 Mar).
Australia’s first sustainable fashion conference just happened: “Patrick Duffy, the New York-based co-founder of Global Fashion Exchange, gave a keynote speech at Australia’s first circular fashion conference, namechecking Ginger and Smart, Arnsdorf and organic cotton underwear label Mighty Good as examples of local brands using sustainable textiles and practices” (22 Mar).
Garment brands must step up to the plate in Haiti: “Clothing brands sourcing in Haiti have been urged to intervene to ensure their suppliers reinstate union leaders and activists unfairly dismissed last year after going on strike to demand an increase in the minimum wage” (22 Mar). [Ed’s note: brands mentioned include Gildan Activewear, Hunt Wilson International and Edwards Garment. The article is by IndustriALL Global Union.]
Donna Karan and DKNY o o fur-free from ll 2019: “DKNY and Donna Karan are the latest fashion brands to grow an ever-growing list of labels who have shunned the animal-derived material for good in favor of ethical alternatives” (22 Mar).
Gucci and Chime for Change partner with Beyoncé and UNICEF for charity project: “Gucci and Chime for Change – the brand’s global campaign for gender equality – unveiled a partnership with Beyoncé and UNICEF USA to bring clean, safe water to Burundi” (22 Mar).
Kering, owner of Gucci and Saint Laurent, faces Swiss tax inquiry: “Swiss prosecutors said on Wednesday [21 Mar] they had opened a criminal investigation into a tax case involving the French luxury group Kering, widening the legal scrutiny of its tax practices in Europe” (21 Mar).
Fashion finally goes fur-free: What else should it do beyond making the world beautiful? “Versace, Gucci, Jimmy Choo and Michael Kors. Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger. Ralph Lauren. Armani. Furla. In the last six months, the aforementioned labels have pledged to go fur-free” (20 Mar). [Ed’s note: the author also suggests brands also pay a living wage, use more organic fabrics, and respect IPR.]
Athleta earns B Corp certification: “Athleta announced [last week] it has earned B Corp Certification from the nonprofit B Lab, becoming one of the largest apparel companies in the world to certify as B Corp.” (20 Mar).
Target’s fresh approach to sustainable water management: “Today [20 Mar, Target is] taking the next step forward, announcing a freshwater stewardship approach that builds on our existing water management aspirations. Created in partnership with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and designed to help us deliver on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, it will address how we can improve water quality, optimize water efficiency and increase access to clean water” (20 Mar).
Columbia enhances, Target introduces, take-back programs: “Columbia Sportswear is enhancing the purpose its ReThreads program for a limited time … in conjunction with I:Collect (I:CO) … Target (also) announced its own new take-back program in collaboration with I:CO” (20 Mar).
Review: H&M’s Eco-Conscience line: “[L]ast week I bit the bullet and checked out H&M’s eco-conscious line collection for myself. The first thing I noticed when I walked in, was just how HARD it was to find the eco-conscious pieces” (05 Mar).
Bangladesh 2017: [Ed’s note: In FSWIR Week 11, we noted the Spanish trade union CCOO had released a report on its work in the Mango supply chain in India. The report linked in the headline here is also by CCOO and is an assessment of the training work by Inditex in Bangladesh under the Accord in 2007. As with the Mango report, the report on Bangladesh is based on field research by CCOO and the Inditex sustainability department. It is in Spanish only.]
REPORTS AND COMMENTARY
Coming up (events and surveys)
GOTS India Seminar 2018: To be held on Tuesday, 29 May 2018 in Coimbatore, GOTS India Seminar 2018 will provide a platform for focused and challenging discussions under the theme “Sustainability as Key to Business Efficiency.” Click the headline for agenda and registration.
Public consultation for the YESS Draft Standard: “RSN is requesting public comment for our YESS: Yarn Ethically & Sustainably Sourced Draft Cotton Lint Standard. The goal of YESS is to drive forced labor out of cotton production.” [Ed’s note: you can submit comments at the headline link by 11 April 2018.]
Reports and Commentary
Fashion blockchain startups – a survey of players in the field, Q1 2018: “There are big sensationalized headlines about blockchain, but it’s really just accounting software, and you have to combine it with other technologies to do anything interesting” (27 Mar).
Kingpins Transformers targets transparency turnaround: “Transparency, described by organisers as ‘The Mother Lode’ of textile industry issues, will be high on the agenda of the Kingpins Transformers shows set to be held in Amsterdam and New York in the coming months” (27 Mar – subscription required to read full article).
Is fast fashion dying in the age of wokeness or is it just H&M? “In light of the recent declines on behalf of the market’s two largest apparel entities, it is difficult not to wonder if fast fashion is finally meeting its demise. Such a question seems appropriate given the rising awareness and interest amongst many millennial and Gen-Z consumers (the core consumer demographics for fast fashion) of the environmental harms and human rights issues that come hand-in-hand with the low-cost, high-speed manufacturing of inherently disposable fashion” (27 Mar).
Brian May: BAN the fur trade – millions of animals must NOT suffer: “Rock legend Brian May revealed the horrors of fashion fur today [27 Mar] as he marched on Downing Street to support a ban on the trade” (27 Mar).
Fashion’s carbon footprint: “Clothing companies in the rich world, from the U.S. to the European Union, conveniently outsourced the work (and the carbon footprint) to places with low labor standards and low environmental regulations and areas of the world using the cheapest, dirtiest form of power: coal” (27 Mar). [Ed’s note: one of the authors is co-founder of Zady.]
Fashion’s 7 priorities to achieve sustainability: “In the lead up to this year's Copenhagen Fashion Summit, Eva Kruse’s sustainability forum Global Fashion Agenda highlights seven sustainability measures every fashion CEO needs to prioritise this year” (27 Mar). [Ed’s note: see also CEO Agenda 2018: “The complexity of sustainability has had fashion executives around the world call for guidance. The CEO Agenda 2018 is a response to this request. It is a guide to what every CEO in fashion needs to prioritise to future-proof their company – because sustainability is no longer a trend, it is a business imperative.”]
Interview with the founder of Spanish ethical fashion app, Ethical Time: [Ed’s note: an interview with Ignasi Eiriz, a university student who raised over €23,000 through crowdfunding to develop a sustainable fashion app called Ethical Time.] (26 Mar – in Spanish).
Bremen event spotlights sustainability: “Supply chain transparency, the African cotton sector and sustainability were top of the agenda at last week’s ‘Cotton Insights’ event in Germany which attracted over 500 participants from over 40 countries from throughout the supply chain” (26 Mar – subscription required to read full article).
Ethical fashion app Good On You informs busy Millennials' buying decisions: “The Australian app Good On You has won a spot in the Amsterdam-based Fashion For Good-Plug and Play accelerator program, sponsored by fashion retailers including adidas and Target” (25 Mar).
Sustainable, eco-friendly Ramie promises to be a fabric of the future: “Ramie [a flowering plant used to make textile fibre of the same name] may have just made its initial foray into the world of fashion, but it sure has the potential to rewrite the Indian fashion story” (25 Mar).
New nanotubes could be used to absorb and remove azo dyes from water: “Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory [have designed and built] synthetic nanotubes that mimic biological microtubules, [which] could be used to absorb and remove azo dyes from water” (24 Mar).
Binding Power: The Sourcing Squeeze, Workers’ Rights, and Building Safety in Bangladesh Since Rana Plaza: [Ed’s note: an 18 pp. research report by Mark Anner, director of the PennState Centre for Global Workers’ Rights.] “This report finds that [worker rights] gains have been severely limited in regard to wages, overtime hours, and work intensity in part due to the sourcing practices of the brands and retailers that sit at the top of global supply chain” (22 Mar).
Alliance announces progress in Bangladesh factory safety: “Eighty eight per cent of factory remediation is complete, with 84 per cent of items most critical to life safety covered and 322 affiliated factories have completed all material components in their corrective action plans and are considered substantially remediated, the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety (Alliance) announced recently in Dhaka” (22 Mar).
It takes 2,720 litres of water to make one t-shirt – as much as you’d drink in 3 years: “A 2017 report revealed that, in 2015 alone, the fashion industry consumed 79 billion cubic metres of water – enough to fill 32 million Olympic-size swimming pools. That figure is expected to increase by 50% by 2030” (22 Mar).
Vegan clothes don’t have the best rep, but that’s about to change: “There’'s an abundance of cruelty-free synthetic and natural materials to choose from – including microfibre, linen, cotton, and faux animal skins” (22 Mar).
CMiA saves 63bn litres of water in 2017: “Through the volume of cotton traded as CmiA [Cotton Made in Africa] in 2017, approximately 63 billion litres of water have been saved – enough to supply more than one million people in Germany with water for an entire year” (22 Mar).
Can a proposed plastic ‘pollution’ garment label change the apparel industry? “A new bill proposed in the California State Assembly in February aims to change that. Introduced by Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D. Santa Monica), if passed, the bill would require any garment made with more than 50% polyester to be labeled with a warning about the polluting effects of microfibers, and would recommend handwashing instead. By 2020, the sale or offering of garments made with 50% or more polyester without the label would be prohibited” (21 Mar).
How sustainable is recycling in fashion? “How widespread is recycling in fashion really? And is recycling a sustainable method or simply greenwashing by corporations at the expense of nature and humans?” (21 Mar – 48:06-minute podcast in German).
Faux fur: fashion trend, or the future? “While faux fur may be the ethical choice, it isn’t necessarily an ecologically sound one, though some animal rights activists blame furriers for spreading this “propaganda” against faux fur” (21 Mar).
Four unfolding technology trends point to sustainable fashion future: [Ed’s note: an article by Leslie Johnson, executive director of the C&A Foundation, which covers automation, apps, innovation and various platforms for good.] (20 Mar).
St. Louis poised to lead reshoring of U.S. fashion and apparel industry: “Article highlights Saint Louis Fashion Fund’s innovative efforts to attract apparel manufacturers and skilled workforce needed to support local fashion culture” (19 Mar).
Candiani celebrates 80th anniversary with new denim: “[Candiani] the Italian denim-maker marked 80 years with a new, recycled fabric that debuted in a collaboration with Los Angeles-based Atelier & Repairs” (25 Mar).
Running on water in sneakers made with kelp: “The beauty of Algiknkit, and why it is attracting so much industry interest is that it is completely customizable. The material’s yarn-like strands can be any dimension and knitted to spec for sneakers and handbags, or the company can alter the hand-feel, durability and size of the material to create accessories like wrist watches” (24 Mar).
Lenzing to evaluate sustainability scorecard of suppliers: “Lenzing has highlighted its aim to evaluate the sustainability scorecard of 80 per cent of its suppliers by 2022” (24 Mar).
Sustainable products & practices of Bangladesh highlighted in Intertextile, Shanghai: [Ed’s note: companies mentioned include South West Textiles Ltd. and Auko-Tex Group.] (24 Mar).
Carbios develops process to recycle PET fibres: “Carbios, a pioneer company in bioplasturgy, has taken a new step forward in the development of its enzymatic depolymerisation process rending it applicable to Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) polyester fibres from textile waste” (23 Mar).
Cintas named recipient of Evoqua Water Sustainability Award: “Cintas, a supplier of uniforms and apparel to the cruise industry, is said to save up to 599 million gallons of water through its company-wide systems” (22 Mar).
RadiciGroup and Geogreen work for water conservation: “RadiciGroup, a producer of a wide range of chemical intermediates, polyamide polymers, engineering plastics, synthetic fibres, and nonwovens [sources its electricity from] Geogreen, a Radici family company [that] owns five hydroelectric power stations” (22 Mar).
Sustainable fabric start-up wins €300,000 of H&M Global Change prize: “Crop-A-Porter, which takes the harvest remains of crops such as oil-seed flax, hemp, sugarcane, bananas and pineapples and turns it into useful bio-fiber for making textiles, has been awarded €300,000 of the €1million prize, following a public vote” (22 Mar).
Jeanologia says denim can be water-free by 2025: “Jeanologia, a Spanish company specialising in the development of sustainable technologies for garments finishing, is celebrating World Water Day by highlighting the company’s capabilities, which could enable all jeans to be made “100% water free” by 2025, according to Enrique Silla, CEO” (22 Mar).
At Intertextile Shanghai European product, sustainability are key: “Sustainability is a buzzword in the textile industry around the world, but nowhere is this more pronounced than in China, where a government-led crackdown on environmental pollution has impacted production practices and consumer attitudes alike” (21 Mar).
‘World’s largest viscose supplier ABG still in denial over rampant water pollution’: “Urska Trunk of Changing Markets Foundation says pollution by India’s Aditya Birla Group is only getting worse after last year’s exposé on the fashion industry, despite its membership of numerous sustainability certification schemes” (20 Mar).
Isko becomes first denim manufacturer to have all of its products environmentally assessed: “The Turkish denim mill has completed Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) of its entire denim range to assess and quantify the environmental footprint of its products from raw material to finished product” (20 Mar).
How this textile house uses excess fabrics for good: ““Fil Doux Textiles has always been committed to keeping the planet healthy by reducing excess energy usage and waste,” said Leo Novik, the company’s CEO. “We use sustainable operations at our mills. Fil Doux for the Arts is the next step in completing the cycle for reuse of materials” (19 Mar).
THE SUPPLY CHAIN
Pregnant migrant workers in Asia face discrimination, deportation – report: “[Thomson Reuters Foundation reports] women migrant workers in parts of Asia risk being deported if they become pregnant, forcing many to have unwanted abortions or abandon their newborns, researchers [from the Fair Labor Association] said on Monday” (26 Mar).
Bangladesh Alliance factories completing upgrades 14 Mar to 28 Mar: Dressmen Garments Ltd., Dressmen Ltd., Dressmen Apparels Ltd., Brandix Causal Wear Ltd., Doreen Garment Ltd., Amber Denim Ltd. (28 Mar). [Ed’s note: this list is gleaned from the Bangladesh Alliance Twitter feed.]
Accord cuts ties with 10 more RMG factories: “European buyers and retailers platform Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh has cut business relations with 10 more Bangladeshi readymade garment factories due to their failure in implementing workplace safety measures suggested by the platform” (24 Mar).
Police, workers clash leaves 20 injured in Chittagong: “At least 20 persons, including cops, were injured in a clash between garment workers and police in Chittagong [last week]. Workers of a garment factory of Saad-Musa group took to the streets and tried to block the Chittagong-Hathazari Road” (22 Mar).
Jhut godowns catch fire in Gazipur: “A fire broke out at several jhut (Garment rags) warehouses in Konabari area of Gazipur, on the outskirts of the capital city Thursday (March 22)” (22 Mar).
Most garment workers have no contract, survey: “More than 72 percent of the garment workers in Dhaka and Gazipur do not have any appointment letters, according to a survey conducted by Manusher Jonno Foundation, a non-governmental organisation” (22 Mar).
‘RMG workers are unaware they are sexually harassed’: “Bangladesh’s garment workers are mostly unaware that they are being sexually harassed at factories, Manusher Jonno Foundation said in a report” (21 Mar).
Garment workers travel to factories standing in the back of flatbed trucks that often crash: “The majority of the country’s 700,000 garment workers get to work every day in the back of flatbed trucks, which are often overloaded with up to 50 or 70 labourers” (23 Mar).
Government pays $1.2 million to garment workers who gave birth: “The government has paid about $1.2 million to nearly 12,000 female garment workers who have had babies so far this year” (23 Mar).
Call for Cambodian Government to safeguard human rights: “amfori has joined five other influential organisations in signing a letter urging the Cambodian government to take immediate action to promote human and labour rights. The letter, also signed by the Fair Wear Foundation, Fair Labor Association, the Ethical Trading Initiative, American Apparel and Footwear Association, and Social Accountability International” (22 Mar).
PM vows to halt surprise factory closings: “Speaking to more than 10,000 garment workers in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district [last week], the prime minister said a long-term solution would prevent owners from fleeing the country without having paid severance to their workers when their factories shuttered” (22 Mar).
‘Violation of labour laws rampant at garment units in Madurai’: [A union has alleged] non-payment of minimum wages, violation of other labour-related regulations, and harassment were rampant in majority of the garment units in and around Madurai, which primarily employed women workers” (26 Mar).
Urinals don’t exist in 30% Surat textile units, where 92% workers aren’t paid minimum wages, study: “A new study on the working conditions textile units of Surat in South Gujarat – powerloom, processing, embroidery, garment units, and composite mills -- has revealed that 82 per cent workers do not receive any payslip on receiving their salary, hence they have no written proof from the managements whether they receive the amount they are be legally entitled to get” (26 Mar).
Workers strike for immediate increase in minimum wage: “Over 500 workers of Jabp Jiawei Myanmar garment factory [went on] strike [last week] demanding payment of the new minimum wage of K4800 (US$3.60) starting this month” (23 Mar).
Fire rips through clothing factory: “Fire broke out at [Vina Korea Co. Ltd.] clothing factory in the early hour of Sunday morning causing what official fear may be "total damage" (25 Mar).
Thousands of Vietnamese workers take to highway to protest wage cuts: “Thousands of workers at a Taiwanese footwear company [Pouchen Vietnam] put on a wildcat strike that occupied a national highway for hours on Saturday to protest the company’s new salary system” (24 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 reflect the position of G