Brands in the news this issue include: C&A, Cecil, Primark, H&M and Zalando (called upon to protect children in Indian factories), Otto Group (interview with head of sustainability), H&M, Inditex, Benetton and Fast Retailing (leading on Detox), Fendi (for using faux fur), Tchibo (for renting clothes), Rêve En Vert and E.L.V. Denim (clean denim), and VF Corporation, 5.11, and Skechers (over problems at Cambodian footwear factory).

Reports released:

In general news: rise of the robots to threaten garment jobs in Southeast Asia; how mohair and angora became fashion’s most-unwanted fabrics; a new guidebook for Germans sick of disposable fashion; tracing flip-flops through the global economy; and the Alliance for Responsible Denim showcasing sustainability at the UN.

In the supply chain: workers at Gold Star Design in Bangladesh protested over sudden closure; hundreds of workers in another mass outbreak of fainting in a Cambodian factory; and Nepal signs a master plan prohibiting child labour.

In manufacturing: toxic tanneries are polluting a new site in Bangladesh; Pili is using microorganisms to produce environmentally-friendly dyes; and Norway’s oil fund has excluded a Chinese textile firm over human rights violations.

Quotes of the week:

  • “And let’s be honest, if we consider a wool suit, the total increase in terms of fabric would be of 20 euros – and I talk about a suit which retails at 2,000 euros. It’s nothing. The industry should be aware of this and stop complaining.” Luca Trabaldo Togna, president of luxury textile company Trabaldo Togna, on rising wool prices in Australia and New Zealand (10 Jul).

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


Petition demands better childcare for children of Indian garment workers from major brands: A petition (in Germany) demanding C&A, Cecil, Primark, H&M and Zalando ensure all children of workers at their supplier factories in India to be properly cared for. It demands for children between ages of 6 months and 6 years to be allowed into the factory nursery, and not only the children of arbitrarily selected employees (petition still live on 13 Jul).

The Sustainability Strategy 2020 of the Otto Group: “Luna Journal spoke to Laura Jossberger, Head of Sustainable Supply Chain Management at the Otto Group, about how important sustainability is to the company and what goals the sustainability strategy encompasses” (12 Jul).

H&M Group praised by Greenpeace for leading the way on responsible water and chemicals management: “Among the big fashion brands/companies, H&M, Inditex, Benetton and Fast Retailing are leading the pack (12 Jul). [Ed’s note: H&M press release on the new Greenpeace Detox report: Destination Zero: seven years of Detoxing the clothing industry.]

Solve creates three biodegradable pieces of clothing that transform into 30 different styles: “Solve includes three pieces of clothing that can transform into over 10 styles each, from jumpsuits and dresses, to trousers and jackets. hoping to discourage excessive consumption, the collection makes use of natural, renewable resources, product life-cycle traceability and powerful magnets to create a sustainable, innovative design of multi-functional and compostable clothing” (10 Jul).

Fix it, don’t ditch it: H&M teaches shoppers to take care of their clothes: “As part of H&M’s wider sustainability efforts, the retailer is trialling a new initiative in Germany that aims to educate consumers on how to take better care of their fashion purchases. Not only has the retailer launched a new range of branded laundry products, but visitors to H&M’s Hamburg store can also now get their clothes fixed by in-store seamstresses” (10 Jul).

Fendi ditches real fur for faux in latest fashion show: “Luxury Italian fashion designer, Fendi, made a bold statement last week during the Paris Haute Couture event by sending faux fur down the runway” (09 Jul).

17 innovative Nordic beauty and fashion brands that disrupt the industry: List includes Ecosphere, Ipomia, ÅÄÖ, Re:newcell, Solosocks, Blanche, KYGO Life, Studio EBN, Gugguu, and Minna Parikka (09 Jul).


Greenpeace report: clothing industry shows progress in cutting hazardous chemicals: “The new Greenpeace Germany report launched today – Destination Zero: seven years of Detoxing the clothing industry – shows how 80 fashion companies that committed to cut hazardous chemicals from their clothing production by 2020 have all achieved significant progress” (12 Jul).

Destination Zero – Seven Years of Detoxing the Clothing Industry: “A new Greenpeace Germany report shows the progress of global clothing brands and suppliers in detoxing from hazardous chemicals, as well as identifying future challenges for all stakeholders” (12 Jul).

Rise of robots fuels slavery threat for Asian factory workers: analysts: “[Thomson Reuters Foundation reports] the rise of robots in manufacturing in Southeast Asia is likely to fuel modern slavery as workers who end up unemployed due to automation face abuses competing for a shrinking pool of low-paid jobs in a “race to the bottom”, analysts said on Thursday [ 12 Jul]” (12 Jul). [Ed’s note: the report referenced is “Human Rights Outlook 2018” by Verisk Maplecroft. See report here.]

Fast fashion fueling push for sustainable apparel, lower impact on environment: [Ed’s note: article mentions H&M, Asos, Missguided, Under Armour, Gap, Levi Strauss & Co., Patagonia, Forever 21, Zara, I:Collect, and Unifi.] (12 Jul).

How mohair and angora became fashion’s most-unwanted fabrics: [Ed’s note: the short answer is PETA. Article mentions Benetton, Zara, H&M, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Inditex, Asos, Arcadia, Gap, Calvin Klein, Stella McCartney, and Topshop.] (12 Jul).

Simply Alluring – new guidebook from Germany for people sick of disposable fashion: [Ed’s note: the book – co-authored by Kirsten Brodde (Greenpeace textiles expert) and Alf-Tobias Zahn – provides a guide to people who want to take their first steps to building a sustainable wardrobe. The article mentions Tchibo’s new clothing rental service.] (11 Jul – in German).

Why dirty is the newest sustainability buzzword: “Keen to shop responsibly? Take notes from Cora Hilts, the founder of Rêve En Vert, who is determined to add ‘dirty denim’ to the environmentally-and ethically-conscious shopper’s lexicon thanks to a collaboration with E.L.V. Denim” (11 Jul).

“Designers aren’t taking responsibility” says Stella McCartney: “Speaking to Dezeen at her newly opened London flagship store, the British fashion designer explained her frustrations with other designers and how she believes a movement towards sustainable materials is necessary” (10 Jul).

Fashion Film Festival Milano focuses on sustainability: “The event running Sept. 20 to 25 will introduce a new eco-friendly related category” (09 Jul).

How your flip-flops reveal the dark side of globalisation: “As you pack for your holidays, don’t forget to pack your flip-flops – and treat them with respect, they may have travelled more than you and witnessed things you cannot see. Flip flops may look simple and cheap, but they are part of a bigger and more complicated story” (09 Jul).

As commitments escalate in Uzbekistan to end forced labor, vigilance needs to continue: “Although the Cotton Campaign (of which RSN [Responsible Sourcing Network] is a co-founder) welcomes these new comments and efforts by the government, Uzbekistan still has a way to go before systematic forced labor is eliminated completely” (09 Jul).

The SIN List has been updated: The SIN [Substitute It Now] List is a database maintained by non-profit ChemSec of 919 hazardous chemicals likely to be banned or restricted in the future (09 Jul).

Alliance for Responsible Denim showcases sustainability at the UN: “Professor Lori DiVito of the Amsterdam School of International Business (AMSIB) and project manager Travis Rice go to the United Nations to showcase their sustainability project, the Alliance for Responsible Denim (ARD). The forum, titled “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies” is about sustainable development and will take place from 9 July to 18 July 2018 in New York” (06 Jul).

The natural connection to cotton-seed selection: “The apparel and textile industries are under a lot of pressure these days. Consumers are becoming more vocal about sustainability, where products are sourced and how they are made. Shoppers are more sensitive about the use of genetically modified organisms used in cotton production and often bristle at any mention of GMOs. … But a solution to some of these problems is being developed by Indigo Ag, a Boston-based company that has identified a natural, non-GMO approach to using microbes to ease the burden of problems associated with dependence on cotton-crop yields” (05 Jul).



Bangladesh Alliance factories completing upgrades 09 – 13 JulMeher Garments, Anowara Dress Makers, and Frank Apparels (13 Jul). [Ed’s note: this list is based on the Bangladesh Alliance Twitter feed.]

DIFE proposes organogram for industrial safety unit: “The Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments has proposed an organogram involving 123-strong manpower and eight divisional offices for the planned industrial safety unit which will a permanent body tasked with monitoring industrial safety” (10 Jul).

RMG workers block city road protesting factory closure: “Several hundred garment workers blocked Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue at Tejturibazar in the city on Tuesday morning protesting at the closure of their factory [Gold Star Design Limited] without any prior notice” (10 Jul).


Kandal union protest leaders freed on bail: “Four union leaders from the Cosmo Textile company in Kandal province have been freed on bail after nearly five months’ detention over allegations of violence and property damage during a protest” (11 Jul).

Minister urges early pay for workers: “The Labour Ministry yesterday released a statement suggesting all employers across the nation pay a cash advance to workers to ease their financial burden prior to election day” (10 Jul).

Cambodian NGO calls on the Ministry of Labour, VF Corporation, 5.11 Inc. and Skechers to inspect working conditions at Pontus Footwear Ltd: “CENTRAL calls on the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training to send Labour Inspectors to inspect Pontus Footwear and the health, safety and working conditions of workers in the factory under Article 233 of the Labour Law. CENTRAL further calls on VF Corporation, 5.11 Inc., and Skechers USA Inc. – all companies to which Pontus Footwear supplies – to also send independent inspectors to the factory” (10 Jul). [Ed’s note: contrary to claims in the media – see story directly below – CENTRAL claims the fainting was triggered as a result of fumes and heat.]

Nearly 300 garment workers treated after fainting at Takeo factory: “Nearly 300 female workers at Pontus Footwear Ltd in Takeo province’s Tram Kak district fainted on Monday after another female worker got injured” (10 Jul).


Master plan against child labour passed: “As per the plan, use of children as domestic helpers, porters, farm workers, in collection and trafficking of narcotic drugs, in carpet weaving, embroidery and hosiery, in brick kilns, mining sector, entertainment business (including sexual abuse), and transport sector has been prohibited” (09 Jul).


Innovative dyeing using microorganisms – Pili: “At Pili we use microorganisms to fabricate colourful dyes at the most environmentally friendly labs ever. We literally biosynthesize dyes from sugar using fermentation processes without any nasty solvents or the need to heat at high temperatures. Once biosynthesized the pigments are filtered out leaving the microorganisms for further uses. We finally purify them so that they can be used in a wide range of industrial applications, especially in the textile industry” (12 Jul).

IIT-J develops clay-based solution to purify water: “This technology can be used to treat textile contaminated water, a major problem in western Rajasthan, under sunlight using Rajasthani clay” (10 Jul).

Norway’s oil fund excludes textile company over human rights violations: The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund has excluded China’s Luthai Textiles and placed Taiwan’s Nien Hsing Textile under observation (10 Jul).

Toxic tanneries polluting new site: “Bangladesh tanneries prepping leather for shoes, belts, wallets and purses are dumping toxic chemicals into a river at a new industrial complex more than a year after the government shut them down for poisoning a different river and using child labor” (08 Jul).

CONFERENCES & SEMINARS                                        

[New listings or updated information marked with *]

17 July, London: FuturePlanet Presents - Sustainable Fashion: Panel discussion featuring Orsola de Castro (Fashion Revolution), Safia Minney (Po-Zu), and others.

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

23 & 24 July (ET) webinar: How to set science-based targets: “The UN Global Compact Academy together with the Science-Based Targets initiative, are hosting two sessions to cover the same set of topics, but with a different set of expert contributors.”

23 – 25 July, NYC: Texworld: Covering a wide range of topics in the global textile industry.

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 July, New York City: Fashion for Freedom: Free The Slaves teams up with Fashion Revolution USA to fight for a slavery-free fashion industry

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.”

* 26 August, Los Angeles: Study Hall in collaboration with MIT Media Lab and G-Star Raw: “[T]hemes that will be explored, as part of this critically-acclaimed conference series, are: Circularity, Denim, & Human Rights.”

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

* 12 September, webinar: SDG Leadership Forum for Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production: “As part of our ongoing series of online dialogues, the SDG Leadership Forum for Goal 12 … offers an opportunity to explore how we can accelerate our transition to a circular economy” (co-hosted by C&A Foundation).

* 14 – 15 September, Lüneburg, Germany: C2C Congress 2018: Special track: Fashion and Textiles.

* 20 – 25 September, Milan: Fashion Film Festival Milano: For the 2018 edition a particular invite is extended to the representatives of Sustainable Fashion: A roundtable, a European preview and a new category, “Best Green Fashion Film.”

* 27 – 28 September, Raleigh, US: 2018 Footwear Materials and Innovation Summit: “[F]ocused on helping professionals better understand current and emerging materials and material developments at an in-depth technical level.”

10 – 11 October, London: 13th Responsible Supply Chain Summit Europe: “focus on the emerging technologies, innovations and collaborations critical to sustainable, cost-effective supply chain strategies.”

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.”

06 – 08 November, NYC: A New Blueprint for Business: “[An] increasingly complex environment requires a new blueprint for business, with resilient strategies, effective governance models, and new management approaches.” BSR’s annual conference.

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.”

13 – 14 November, San Diego: 2nd Responsible Busin4ess Summit West: “It is imperative to advance ethical leadership in today's age of digital disruption. Failure to do so will result in loss of customer trust, shareholder value and ultimately, profits.” Hosted by Ethical Corporation.

(Photo Rüştü BozkuşCCO)

Disclaimer: The Fashion Sustainability Week in Review (FSWIR) is a twice-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 International or any individual associated with the company.