Two Announcements:

Starting today, we will be sending out the FSWIR newsletter twice per week; on Tuesday and Friday. This is because the once-per-week email on Wednesday had become unwieldy. We believe two shorter versions will be more manageable for readers, as well as providing the benefit of keeping you up-to-date with news more promptly.

And second, FSWIR is now on Twitter. Whether you’re a bone fide member of the Twitterati or a humble lurker, follow us for updates (@GoBluFSWIR). We promise not to bombard you with dozens of Tweets per day; one to three posts maximum, and focussing on important news as it breaks, the release of interesting reports, or thought-providing quotes from people in the industry. If motivated, we may even post the occasional photo from Hong Kong to prove the editor is real (and not an AI in a basement somewhere).

Brands in the news this week include: John Lewis (launching a buy-back scheme), Asos (updating its animal welfare policy), Nike (a mission to change the planet’s future), Jack & Jones (eco jeans), Uniqlo (partnering with UNHCR on refugees), Hund Hund (‘radical’ transparency), Adidas (UK’s most ethical brand), H&M (living wage), Hugo Boss (environmental impact evaluation), L.L. Bean, Fjällräven and Jack Wolfskin (outdoor companies going green), and Zephyr Headwear (working on backpay for factory employees).

Reports released in the last week:

In general news, there were stories on C&A Foundation’s financial support for five circular fashion initiatives, ongoing concern about plastic in clothing, a professor accused of ‘burying’ science papers critical of 3M’s PFAS chemicals, Luxembourg’s ban on fur farms, environmental harm by ‘animal-friendly’ fashion, quantifiable goals for sustainable US cotton, plummeting leather prices because of consumer sensibilities, and concerns in Germany over the new Green Button certification.

In the supply chain, there were reports about the Bangladesh Accord getting a mandate for another three years, low wages in the Indian garment sector, child labour in Pakistan, modern slavery in Sri Lanka, and anti-China protests in Vietnamese shoe factories.

In manufacturing, Chinese environmental legislation is squeezing the dyeing industry, Denim Expert becomes first Bangladesh manufacturer to join the SAC, and DBL releases its 2017 sustainability report.

Quotes of the week:

  • “As per Asia Floor Wage recommendations based on cost of living, the minimum wage in Bengaluru should be 23,000 rupees.” Raju BC, Garment Labour Union activist, on actual wages of 8,000 – 8,500 rupees per month (16 Jun).
  • “[W]e are going to double our business and halve our environmental impact.” Hannah Jones, Nike’s chief sustainability officer (15 Jun).
  • “As recently as 1960, 97% of the fibers we used in garments and materials were naturally derived. Today, it’s only around 35%.” Eillie Anzilotti, in a profile on Circular Systems (15 Jun).

By Stephen Frost, CUHK Business School, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.


John Lewis launches clothing buy-back scheme: “British department store John Lewis is currently trialling scheme which would allow customers to sell back unwanted clothing in an attempt to reduce the 300,000 tonnes of apparel sent to UK landfills each year” (18 Jun).

Outdoor & Sports Performance Check 2018: “Outdoor and Sports Company (OSC) has shown advanced results on FWF [Fair Wear Foundation] performance indicators. With a monitoring percentage of 93% and a benchmarking score of 77, it remains in the Leader category” (17 Jun).

Asos ditches silk, cashmere and mohair products as part of animal welfare policy update: ““We've updated our animal welfare policy,” Asos told AFP in an email, saying it would “no longer be stocking” products containing silk, feathers and down, bone, teeth or shell (including mother-of-pearl), cashmere and mohair” (18 Jun). [Ed’s note: the article also notes ‘PETA claims more than 140 international retailers had dropped mohair.’ On Twitter, PETA says it’s now more than 150.]

New recycling method helps garments to biodegrade: “A new recycling method by EU funded Wearable technologists Engage with Artists for Responsible innovation (WEAR) project and fashion label Sabinna turns garments into biodegradable materials, paving the way for a more eco-friendly fashion industry. This innovative process has the potential to significantly reduce fashion’s environmental footprint” (16 Jun).

Inside Nike’s mission to change the future of our planet: “[An interview with Nike’s] Chief Sustainability Officer about her role in ensuring that the role that Nike plays in the world has the right kind of impact” (15 Jun).

Jack & Jones partners with CHT for environmentally friendly jeans: “With its Low Impact Denim (LID) collection the Jack & Jones brand which belongs to the Danish company Bestseller sets now new standards in the field of environmentally friendly jeans manufacturing. The CHT Group and its innovative organIQ technology is a fundamental part of this trendsetting LID collection” (15 Jun).

Uniqlo x refugee assistance by UNHCR (2018): A video detailing some of the work Uniqlo is doing with UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). Released for 20 June, which is World Refugee Day (14 Jun – 1:36-minute video).

Filippa K attracted by sustainable water-repellent: “Swedish fashion brand Filippa K has partnered with cleantech company OrganoClick and will market the firm’s water-repellent and biodegradable textile impregnation, OrganoTex, through its garment care product line” (14 Jun – subscription required to read full article).

Paving the way for ‘radical’ transparency in the fashion industry: “When it comes to transparency and sustainability in the fashion industry, German fashion brand Hund Hund is among the frontrunners leading the way for positive change” (13 Jun).

The UK’s most ethical fashion brands have been revealed but most high street shops need to improve: “Adidas and Reebok (which is owned by Adidas) took the first and second places in the survey by ethical fashion organisation Good On You. High street giant Marks and Spencer came third with luxury fashion label Stella McCartney and denim brand G-Star Raw completing the top five” (13 Jun).

Guess chair resigning from harassment probe to stay on board: “Guess Inc.’s Paul Marciano resigned as chairman after a probe of sexual-harassment allegations by women including model Kate Upton, though he won’t be leaving the company he co-founded altogether” (13 Jun).

Sexual harassment at Walmart’s stores and suppliers in China: “Neither CSR nor local laws are protecting the workers in Walmart’s supplier factories from exploitation and gender-based violence. We need an instrument with more teeth” (13 Jun).

Final comment from H&M on living wage campaign: ““We want to emphasise that while we agree that wages in many markets indeed need to be raised, it is not our role as a brand and buyer is to set the level of wages. Instead, as wages are an industry wide issue, they also need to be set on an industry wide level, preferably negotiated between the parties on the labor market. This understanding of how to drive improvements on wages is shared by the global trade unions and the International Labour Organisation, whom we consulted extensively when we set our Fair Living Wage Roadmap”” (13 Jun).

New Look is wrong to slash prices – consumers no longer want fast fashion: “Following drastic financial results New Look announced … they’re slashing their prices. … But while lower prices may appeal to lovers of fast fashion, more consumers than ever are becoming mindful of the potential pitfalls of this style of shopping” (13 Jun).

Hugo Boss releases 3rd white paper on environmental impact evaluation: [Ed’s note: in this 3rd paper, Hugo Boss provides life cycle assessment data on wool suits, silk ties, as well as the climate change impact of leather, wool, cotton, synthetic fibres, and so on.] (31 May).


€1.29 million in funding to support circular fashion initiatives: “C&A Foundation’s work to make circular fashion a reality is set to receive a major boost thanks to the approval of five initiatives following the 2017 Request for Proposals (RFP): ‘Bridging the Gap’ Implementation of Circular Economy in the Apparel Sector” (18 Jun).

‘Impact beyond numbers’ – GoodWeave’s global solution to child labor: “Nina Smith is the founding CEO of GoodWeave International. Since 1999, she has developed and led its operations that, include standard-setting and product certification programs; its programs for inspecting and monitoring informal supply chains; its market engagement; the removal and rehabilitation of child laborers; and a range of worker-protection programs. The organization now has offices in India, Nepal, Afghanistan, the U.K. and Germany” (18 Jun).

Scottish fashion student who grows dresses from tea brews up storm in fashion world: “Aurelie Fanton, who studies at Edinburgh College of Art, used a recipe of fermented kombucha tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast to make the clothing” (17 Jun).

Chronicle of the labor situation in Uzbekistan: Media review for the period March – May, 2018, including multiple stories on cotton (17 June).

Are our clothes a growing plastic catastrophe? “We all know we need to move away from fast fashion. But it’s not just the amount of clothing we get through that’s a landfill timebomb. Our reliance on manmade fibres means we’re wearing, and washing, an increasing amount of plastic” (17 Jun).

Save the planet! How to join the circular fashion economy: “This, folks, is the new fashion dream: a beautiful item of clothing is crafted according to the most strident eco and ethical principles (100% organic, workers paid a living wage, low fashion miles)” (17 Jun).

Professor ‘bragged about burying bad science’ on 3M’s PFAS: “Professor [John P.] Giesy was credited with being the first scientist to discover toxic per- and poly-fluoroalkyl [PFAS] chemicals in the environment, and with helping to persuade chemical giant 3M Company to abandon their manufacture. But Fairfax Media can now reveal that Professor Giesy was accused of covertly doing 3M’s bidding in a widespread international campaign to suppress academic research on the dangers of PFAS” (17 Jun).

Luxembourg takes hard stand against fur with nationwide ban: “Global fur trading continues to die as Luxembourg becomes the 10th nation in the European Union to ban fur farms!” (15 Jun). [Ed’s note: press release from PETA.]

Food waste is going to take over the fashion industry: “The startup Circular Systems is pioneering new tech to convert food crop waste–like banana peels and hemp stalks–into wearable fibers” (15 Jun).

Towards circular fashion – a report on Textile Exchange’s May workshop: “Highlights from Textile Exchange’s Workshop: Closing The Loop On Textiles – 30 – 31 May” (15 Jun).

How Inspectorio uses silent collaboration to improve quality inspections and compliance: “We’re entering a new stage of global sourcing. It’s not a race to find the next country to source. It’s a race to get more transparency. It’s a race for more efficiency and predictability” (15 Jun – sponsored content).

Meet Seerat: first Indian designer to upcycle fashion for Redress Design Award: “Over the past few months I’ve seen eye opening documentaries and read overwhelming articles on BOF [Business of Fashion] about the severe impact the fashion industry has made. I’m an empathetic person who also happens to be a designer and I felt it was my responsibility to act on this” (15 Jun).

Animal leather: Ethical fashion’s enemy? “Considering that leather is really a refined waste material, a by-product of the meat industry, can it be argued that leather is actually good for the environment? Can it be argued that it promotes the tenet of sustainability which encourages zero waste in production?” (15 Jun).

Sorry vegans! ‘Animal-friendly’ fashion that uses fur alternatives is BAD for the environment: “‘Animal-friendly’ fashion alternatives could do more harm to the environment than fur and leather-based clothing, experts say” (14 Jun).

OIA supports the EOG Sustainability Charter: “The European Outdoor Group (EOG) has confirmed that two more national associations have adopted its Sustainability Charter. The Outdoor Industries Association (OIA) and Outdoor Sports Valley (OSV) have both pledged their support to the charter, making the commitment to pursue best practice in corporate citizenship, responsibility and sustainability” (14 Jun).

Trying to stay healthy? Some of your workout wear isn’t helping: “Millions of Americans work out in an effort to stay healthy. But research shows some activewear could be detrimental to the wearer’s health and the environment at large. That’s why more makers are interested in steering their collections toward performance cottons” (14 Jun). [Ed’s note: research by Cotton Incorporated.]

Outdoor gear makers: Get green or die trying: “Lots of big brands are shifting toward more sustainable gear, without harmful PFCs. But for the industry as a whole, change is slow” (13 Jun). [Ed’s note: article mentions Sustainable Down Source, Bluesign, Big Agnes, Brooks-Range, L.L. Bean, Nikwax, Fjällräven, Patagonia, VF, Burton, and Jack Wolfskin.]

New, quantifiable goals set for sustainable U.S. cotton: “The Cotton USA Sustainability Task Force, established by the U.S. cotton industry in 2017, recently established national goals for continual improvements in key areas of environmental stewardship, farm productivity and resource efficiency including land, water, air, input and energy use by 2025” (13 Jun).

Can plastic recycling solve the fast-fashion problem? “Fashion firms are tapping into growing public outrage at plastic pollution by offering snazzy garments made from old water bottles and other waste. But will it catch on — and can it make a difference?” (13 Jun).

Face2Face with Jason Kibbey: “[Sustainable Apparel Coalition] CEO Jason Kibbey discusses sustainability measurement, responsible practices and more in an interview with Fibre2Fashion” (13 Jun).

How can women garment workers’ rights be safeguarded in the #MeToo era? “As the #MeToo movement makes strident gains for women across the world, campaigners are focusing on how to improve the lives of female factory employees producing items for well-known clothing brands” (13 Jun – 24:50-minute video). [Ed’s note: from Al Jazeera’s “The Stream”.]

Is circular fashion the real deal? “Maybe we need to take a step back and adjust the way we consume” (12 Jun). [Ed’s note: Article mentions H&M and Eileen Fisher.]

Consumers want to eat beef, not wear it, sending leather prices plummeting: “Today, shoppers have a more vegan sensibility about what goes on their feet, demanding shoes with non-animal elements like canvas, microfiber and plastic” (12 Jun).

Even the clothes you donate probably end up in a landfill: “Pakistan is currently the biggest importer of used clothes, with 11 percent of the market, followed by Malaysia, with 7.1 percent” (12 Jun).

Materiateca – the materials library: “Since 2014, the free platform and database “Materioteca” has been cataloguing and analysing socially and environmentally responsible materials, products and services available in Brazil. As part of our circular fashion programme in Brazil, C&A Foundation is partnering with MateriaBrasil, the company responsible for the platform” (11 Jun).

Pratt Institute’s BF+DA combats fashion slavery: “Amy DuFault, communications director [of the Pratt Institute Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator (BF+DA)], sits down with me to talk more about the BF+DA and its collaboration with Free the Slaves on the Fashion for Freedom campaign. Here are a couple things I learned from our conversation (11 Jun).

Environmentalists fear light green button: [Ed’s note: in April this year, German Development Minister Gerd Müller announced a new government-backed certification – the Green Button [Grüner Knopf] – for consumers to identify clothing produced under fair conditions. But questions are now being raised.] “How green is the green button? What will he mean for green businesses? This is discussed by entrepreneurs and activists who deal with sustainable clothing” (11 Jun – in German).



Bangladesh Alliance factories completing upgrades 13 Jun to 19 Jun: IFA Printing, Medlar Apparels, BP Wears, Well Designer Ltd., Well Dresses Ltd., Talisman Ltd. (19 Jun). [Ed’s note: this list is based on the Bangladesh Alliance Twitter feed.]

All garment workers paid: “All the garment factories, irrespective of their affiliation with the BGMEA and BKMEA, have paid workers' salaries and festival bonuses as of yesterday, dispelling apprehension that some might not be able to do so ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr, according to factory owners” (15 Jun).

$22,000 for KT Embroidery workers: “Seventeen Bangladeshi garment workers have finally been paid the wages they’ve been owed for more than a year. Earlier this month, the [Worker Rights Consortium] oversaw the disbursement of over $22,000 in back wages and severance to these workers, who had been wrongly and illegally retaliated against for advocating for their rights” (15 Jun). [Ed’s note: also cited in the article is Zephyr Headwear, for working with the WRC to ensure backpay payments.]

Govt to give treatment assistance to workers: “The government has decided to offer assistance for treatment of sick readymade garment workers and education of workers’ children from the RMG sector Central Welfare Fund” (14 Jun).

Bangladesh Accord mandate renewed for three years: “The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh has been given a three-year extension to is mandate by the Bangladesh government – from 1 June – after a court order preventing this was lifted” (13 Jun).

Bangladesh women defy roadblocks to leadership: “Bangladesh garment worker and union leader Nazma Akter is among women challenging obstacles to leadership in their unions, their workplaces and their communities” (12 Jun – 4:14-minute video).


Labour Ministry denies claims over NSSF faults: “Officials from the Labour Ministry’s National Social Security Fund (NSSF) have denied allegations that its partner clinics offer poor medical treatment and discriminated against garment workers who checked in using the NSSF-issued ID card” (12 Jun).


Low wages and the garment sector: What can the Karnataka govt do for employees? Employees say that it is impossible to make a living from the wages that they are paid for their work (16 Jun).

Which child to school? Tough choice for Indian garment workers: “[Thomson Reuters Foundation reports] despite minimum wage laws, salaries continue to be “grossly low” for thousands of workers, many of whom are still not given pay slips or are only hired as apprentices” (14 Jun).


Pakistan’s shame: the open secret of child sex abuse in the workplace: “Like millions of Pakistani children, Ahmed had to work to support his family. The sexual abuse he suffered is as commonplace as the government’s failure to act” (15 Jun). [Ed’s note: the article notes one abused boy found work at a leather factory where he now feels safe.]

Sri Lanka

Over 45,000 Sri Lankans trapped in exploitative work: “However much companies are careful about not resorting to slave labour in their apparel factories, it can happen when orders are outsourced. Manufacturers then need to find ways to ensure their outsourcing partners are also clean” (17 Jun).


Anti-China protests in Vietnam set to aggravate tensions with Beijing: “Around 100 arrested during demonstrations over draft law for special economic zones that workers fear will be dominated by Chinese interests … The anti-China protests – the worst seen in Vietnam since 2014 – began on Saturday [09 Jun] at Taiwanese-owned shoe factory Pou Yuen [and at] Ching Luh, another shoe factory” (13 June). [Ed’s note: see also video footage of the protest at Pou Yuen here.]


China shutdowns squeeze textile dyeing industry: “The global textile dyeing sector is struggling to deal with sky high prices after tougher environmental legislation in China forced the closure of intermediate factories and severely restricted the supply of key ingredient chemicals” (18 Jun).

Singtex releases new sustainable fabrics: “[Singtex] has developed an eco-friendly moderate stretch fabric with long-lasting performance, S.Leisure. It features comfort stretch with breathability, fast-dry, lightweight and good recovery while emitting less carbon footprint” (15 Jun).

Polartec introduces 100% recycled Power Fill insulation: “Polartec [introduces] upgraded Polartec Power Fill insulation, now made from 100% post-consumer recycled (PCR) materials. This fill insulation was introduced with 80% recycled content just one year ago, and now has reached this sought-after milestone more quickly than previously thought possible, according to the company” (14 Jun).

Sri Lanka’s MAS Holdings makes a CleanChain connection with ADEC Innovations in Journey toward elimination of hazardous materials: “Sri Lanka’s largest apparel manufacturer MAS Holdings (MAS), a leading manufacturer of intimate apparel, sports, swim and performance wear, has invested in CleanChain, a software solution from ADEC Innovations, in its quest to be a zero toxic manufacturer” (14 Jun).

Asahi Kasei to show Roica fibre products at Interfiliere: “Roica Eco-Smart family is the world’s first range of responsibly made premium stretch fibres creating Roica smart yarns that offer sustainable solutions with prestigious certifications like the Global Recycling Standard (GRS) Version 3.0 certified by Textile Exchange” (14 Jun).

Pollution by textile units in Balotra: SC directs Rajasthan HC to take up the matter: “The top court on Thursday (June 14) directed the Rajasthan High Court to hear the matter raising concern over the pollution created by the textile units in the town of Balotra, Rajasthan” (14 Jun).

Denim Expert now a member of SAC: “Denim Expert Ltd has become a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) as the first Bangladeshi garment maker for its global compliance standards and transparency” (13 Jun).

The path towards sustainable fashion – innovative alternatives with Bolt Threads: “Bolt Threads [has] partnered with Ecovative, a biomaterials company, to introduce another innovative material to the world; Mylo is the first leather alternative grown from mycelium, the root structure of a mushroom” (12 Jun).

Agreements signed to address water security challenges in Punjab: “The partners inked two MoUs covering different segments of cotton value chain, with the overarching objective of jointly developing strategies to mitigate the shared water and environmental risks and to safeguard the environment from the sources of pollution originating from Punjab’s textile industry” (12 Jun).

DBL releases Sustainability Report 2017: ““We are now focusing on our own DBL Sustainability Goals: we call these 2020 Goal” (June 2018).


[New listings or updated information marked with *]

19 – 20 June, London: How business can measure the impact - and ROI - of corporate sustainability: “Tools, techniques and strategies for understanding, measuring and communicating impact.”

* 20 June, London: Interventions in the Supply Chain: “Human Rights Lawyers Association and ICA bring together human rights experts to discuss the pursuit of corporate accountability for abuses in their supply chains.”

21 June, Zeist, the Netherlands: Workshop ‘Due Diligence in your purchasing practices’: “How do companies improve their purchasing practices? In a short session Modint and Solidaridad will help companies further in how to embed due diligence in your purchasing practices.”

21 June, London: Ellen MacArthur Foundation 2108 Summit: “This year, we ask; How do we reinvent the systems of today so that they are fit for tomorrow?”

* 21 June, Bentonville, US: Ethical Sourcing Forum: Responsible Sourcing Audit Programs Vendor Awareness: Intertek’s Ethical Souring Forum invites vendors, suppliers, agents, to an exclusive informational session addressing the growing industry shift toward vendor choice audit programs.”

22 June, Amsterdam: Circular Certification: “Join the Circle Economy Textiles Team and industry experts for a Deep Dive on the topic, where we will unpack the core limitations, opportunities and with an eye on the future, the role blockchain can play in what's to come for circular certifications.”

25 June, online course: Who Made My Clothes? The University of Exeter and Fashion Revolution deliver a three-week course where participants will discover who made their clothes, share their stories, and influence global change.

25 June, Brussels: Five Years after the Launch of the Sustainability Compact: Taking Stock and Staying Engaged: “The fourth high-level follow-up meeting of the [Bangladesh] Sustainability Compact.”

* 26 – 27 June, London: Fashion SVP: 121 producers attending from over 21 countries for seminars and information sharing around sustainable sourcing.

26 – 28 June, Brussels: Scaling Impact through Collaboration: “The BCI 2018 Global Cotton Conference will bring the entire sector together … to collaborate on a more sustainable future for cotton.”

27 June, London: Sustainable Supply Chains 2018: “Aligning procurement & supplier engagement practices with sustainability strategy.”

3 – 5 July, Berlin: Ethical Fashion Show Berlin: “The Ethical Fashion Show Berlin stands for urban zeitgeist, sustainable lifestyle and fashion.”

3 – 5 July, Berlin: Greenshowroom: “Like no other fashion event in Europe, the Greenshowroom stands for elegant designs and sustainable high-grade materials.”

18 – 19 July, London: The London Textile Fair: With a new section completely dedicated to sustainable fabrics.

24 July, New York City: Footwear Sourcing and Innovation Summit: Includes themes such as innovation in sustainable materials and production.

25 -26 July, London: Jacket Required: Spotlighting the growing emphasis and importance placed on sustainability; see, for example, the sustainable brands showing (Fjällräven, Re:Sustain, Tretorn, Sandqvist, Ohmme, et. al.).

28 – 30 July, Hofheim-Wallau, Germany: Innatex (Sustainable Textiles): “Innatex stresses the importance not only of ecological factors in the supply chain, but also social aspects.”

01 August, São Paulo, Brazil: SAC & ZDHC Manufacturer Forum: The first such forum in Brazil.

12 – 14 August, Las Vegas: Sourcing at Magic: “The show will mainly emphasise on helping the fashion industry reduce its impact on the environment with new design opportunities that meet market demand for sustainable fabric and fibres.”

16 August, London: Bare Fashion, London’s first vegan fashion show: “[W]ill feature autumn clothing lines from vegan, sustainable and ethical brands from the UK and beyond.”

05 September, Hong Kong: Manufacturer Forum: The first SAC & ZDHC Manufacturer Forum in Hong Kong.

22 – 24 October, Milan: 2018 Textile Sustainability Conference: United by Action: Accelerating Sustainability in Textiles & Fashion: Textile Exchange’s 2018 Textile Sustainability Conference. (See agenda update here.)

31 October – 01 November, London: ‘What’s Going On? A Discourse on Fashion, Design and Sustainability’: “The Global Fashion Conference is a bi-annual international conference, which aims to contribute to a multidisciplinary approach to fashion studies and brings together academia and industry, promoting a more sustainable model of development.”

13 – 14 November, Los Angeles: Remode: The premier event for disruptive and sustainable fashion: “[H]ear from fashion’s leading innovators, gain access to a collaborative network of relevant people and resources, and leave with an actionable plan for innovation and growth.”

(Photo by IlonaCCO)

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 GoBlu or any individual associated with the company.