THIS ISSUE

Brands in the news this issue include: Burberry (could face legal action over burning clothes), Gucci, Kering and Stella McCartney (triple bottom line leaders), Nike (raising staff wages), Supreme (fake store opens in China), Uniqlo (new video promoting recycling), and a number of companies (in the new Dirty Fashion report).

Reports released:

In general news:

  • Bangladesh could take lead on circular fashion
  • Fur farming to be banned by Flemish government
  • Millennials care about price more than social values
  • EU to assess critical PFAS use in textiles
  • Vegan eco-friendly comparison tool for fashion launching in UK soon

In the supply chain:

·        Bangladesh: debate over the minimum wage; the labour welfare fund short of deposits; and a claim that safer factories hire less women

  • Cambodia: more faintings
  • China: wage protests in a garment factory
  • India: protests from workers making rubber; textile firms blamed for fish deaths; and claims the 2018 Global Slavery Index has underestimated slave numbers
  • Myanmar: factoring closing on back of rising wages

In manufacturing news:

  • Lenzing, Aditya Birla, Tangshan Sanyou, Sateri, Zhongtai, Aoyang, Xiangsheng, Bohi, Grace and Fulida assessed in new report on viscose manufacturers
  • New producer Vidalia Denim begins sustainable denim production in US
  • Spinnova joins Fashion for Good

Quotes of the week:

  • “In the daytime I'm a security guard and at night-time I'm homeless." Kallum, working as a security guard on a zero-hours contract for Prada on Bond Street, London, for £8:50/hour (24 Jul – video footage).
  • “[W]hile there is certainly a cohort of millennials that pay attention to [civil rights issues, supply chain transparency, labor conditions, philanthropy, and/or domestic manufacturing] – and are willing to hold companies accountable, the average millennial does not.” Morning Consult, quoted in The Fashion Law (24 Jul).

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

BRANDS & RETAILERS

China opens up a brick and mortar fake Supreme store: “This week saw an entire fake Supreme store open in the city of Shenzhen, with the news going viral on Chinese social media” (25 Jul).

New video to promote in-store recycling programme: Uniqlo has released another video (in Japanese) to raise awareness on how consumers can help contribute to local communities through their in-store recycling initiatives called “All product recycling (24 Jul – in Japanese).

Nike to raise wages for thousands of employees: “Nike said on Monday [23 Jul] it would raise wages for about 7,500 employees following a global pay review, two months after the sportswear maker concluded a probe into workplace behavior that resulted in the departure of a number of top executives” (24 Jul).

Luxury brands turn to the triple bottom line: Gucci’s Equilibrium portal, Kering’s environmental P&L, and a new report on climate change with BSR, and Stella McCartney’s mushroom bag (25 Jul).

It’s not just Burberry – burning clothes is fashion’s dirty open secret: “If you work in fashion, the fact that luxury houses and high street brands alike routinely burn millions of pounds worth of stock (including samples and unsold products) is an open secret – albeit an incredibly bleak, very #HumansOfLateCapitalism one” (25 Jul).

How Kering is ushering in a new era for sustainable fashion: “During the World Economic Forum in Davos this year, Kering – the luxury conglomerate that owns Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, Brioni and other prestigious labels – was christened the most sustainable textile, apparel and luxury goods company” (24 Jul).

How ethical is Stella McCartney? Overall Rating: Good – 4/5 (23 Jul). [Ed’s note: rating by Good On You app.]

Burberry could face investigation over waste burning strategy: “By burning more than £28m of stock over the last year, Burberry has been potentially breaking the law under UK environmental guidelines, an environmental consultancy has claimed” (23 Jul).

NEWS & REPORTS

Dirty Fashion: on track for transformation, July 2018: “One year on from the launch of [Changing Markets Foundation’s] Dirty Fashion campaign, Dirty Fashion: on track for transformation assesses the progress made to date by global apparel companies and viscose manufacturers in the transition towards responsibly-produced viscose” (26 Jul). [Ed’s note: download the full report here. Brands sourcing viscose have been categorised into ‘frontrunners’ (including ASOS, H&M, Inditex, Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Esprit, C&A, Next, Stella McCartney, Patagonia and Eileen Fisher), ‘could do better’ (including Gap and John Lewis), ‘trailing behind’ (including Benetton, Lululemon, Arcadia – which owns Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and others – and Nike), and brands in the ‘red zone’ (including Gucci, Chanel, Burberry, Lidl, ASDA, Missguided, Boohoo, and Forever 21).]

Circular fashion: Why and how Bangladesh could take the lead: “[C]an we not create circular business models that brand Bangladesh as an innovator, add value within circularity and at the same time grow businesses and protect the environment?” (25 Jul).

Addressing disability issues in global supply chains: new business guidance released: “To coincide with the Global Disability Summit (23 and 24 July), the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) has released new guidance for companies to help them improve disability inclusion in global supply chains” (25 Jul). [Ed’s note: The report, Base Code Guidance: Disability inclusion in the global supply chain, is available in full here.]

Fur farming to be banned by Flemish Government: “[T]the Flemish government has announced that it’ll ban fur farming … in Flanders, Belgium, by 1 December 2023 at the latest” (24 Jul).

PETA pushes fashion brands to move beyond using animal skins – and wins: “Since [a PETA] investigation was released—revealing that crocodiles used to make “luxury” bags for Hermès were kept in soiled water and that alligators were kept in dank, dark sheds without sunshine, fresh air, clean water, or even basic medical care before being killed—French imports of reptile skin are down more than 30 percent” (24 Jul).

Most millennials care more about price than brands’ social values:  “According to a new study, the impact of social causes on the purchasing behavior of millennials may have been overstated quite a bit” (24 Jul). [Ed’s note: the report by Morning Consult is available here.]

Fashion identified as one of five key industries implicated in modern slavery: “The Global Slavery Index 2018 reveals that every year Australia imports over $US4 billion worth of clothes and accessories at risk of being tainted by modern slavery. According to the report, produced by the Walk Free Foundation, “our at-risk garments are imported from China, India, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Brazil and Argentina”” (23 Jul).

Vivienne Westwood: climate change matters more than clothes: “Vivienne Westwood won the latest honor in her brilliant career in fashion this weekend in Italy, though when one talks to this British Dame it’s abundantly clear she is much more interested in the climate than in clothes” (23 Jul).

Luxury sector unites to create roadmap for sustainability: “Major luxury firms such as Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton and Chanel have developed a sustainable roadmap to help the sector address the challenges posed by climate change, biodiversity loss and rising economic inequality” (23 Jul). [Ed’s note: report can be see here.]

EU project assesses ‘critical’ PFAS use in textiles: “Most textiles do not require high water and oil repellency, and use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) should be limited to applications for which technical performance is "unique and critical", according to the European Commission” (23 Jul).

UK’S first vegan, eco-friendly fashion comparison tool ‘compare ethics’ launches: “The UK’s first ever ethical fashion comparison tool Compare Ethics is set to launch next month” (22 Jul).

THE SUPPLY CHAIN

Bangladesh

The minimum wage debate: “There was unrest in 2006, 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2017. The meetings required to decide the wages were not as regular. In fact, if anything at all, decisions seemed to be taken based on sporadic meetings. For instance, the revision of the minimum wages for garment in 2018 was scheduled to have several meetings, but has had just thrice till date” (24 Jul).

Bangla labour welfare fund not receiving expected deposits: “Bangladesh’s central workers’ welfare fund for the readymade garments (RMG) sector is not receiving the expected deposits, as a number of factories, including those from the export processing zones (EPZs), refrain from contributing, according to labour ministry officials” (24 Jul).

Labour leaders trash owner’s proposal: “Senior leaders of a number of labour organisations at a solidarity rally on Monday declared that they would soon start tougher united movement for Tk 16,000 as minimum wage for garment workers” (23 Jul).

Pro-labour body threatens unrest over BDT 16k min wage: “A pro-labour organisation [Garments Workers’ Trade Union Centre] recently protested in Dhaka demanding an immediate implementation of BDT 16,000 as minimum wage for Bangladesh’s garment workers; threatening of stirring unrest in the sector otherwise” (23 Jul).

As safety improves in Bangladesh’s garment industry, women drop out: “The collapse of the Rana Plaza building sent shockwaves through Bangladesh and prompted a series of reforms to improve worker safety in garment factories. Five years on, the measures designed to protect employees are also shutting many women out of the workforce” (20 Jul).

Cambodia

More workers faint in Kampong Cham factory: “Just days after a fainting incident involving thousands of workers at the Carlington factory in Kampong Cham province, nearly 300 more fainted yesterday, leaving authorities baffled” (24 Jul).

China

Labour relations in China: Some frequently asked questions: [Ed’s note: an update of a China Labour Bulletin report on rights, the law, strikes, freedom of association, the ACFTU, and so on.] (25 Jul)

Workers protest closure and wage arrears owed by garment factory: “Workers protest closure and wage arrears owed by garment factory in Longnan, Jiangxi” (25 Jul).

India

Rubber corporation workers seek increased wages: “Police arrested 583 persons, including the labourers of Tamil Nadu Rubber Corporation and two MLAs, on Monday when they attempted to lay siege to the Tamil Nadu Rubber Corporation office here and staged road roko [obstruction] demanding increased wages” (24 Jul).

Hundreds of fish found dead at Coimbatore’s Valankulam water tank, locals blame nearby textile units: “On Tuesday, locals spotted hundreds of lifeless fish floating in the Valankulam water tank in Tamil Nadu's Coimbatore. Alleging that discharge from nearby textile dyeing units caused the deaths, residents have demanded a probe into the matte”  (24 Jul).

Ten million slaves go missing from survey in India: “[Campaigners in India have questioned the estimate of slaves in India by the 2018 Global Slavery Index released last week, saying] more than 20 million Indians are trapped in bonded labour, working in brick kilns, garment factories and other sites” (24 Jul).

Myanmar

Garment factories shutter on rising wages, land leases: “A total of 14 factories in Yangon’s industrial zones may cease operations within the next two months due to the rising cost of land and employees. Most of the factories are run by garment manufacturers” (24 Jul).

MANUFACTURERS

Dirty Fashion: on track for transformation, July 2018: “One year on from the launch of [Changing Markets Foundation’s] Dirty Fashion campaign, Dirty Fashion: on track for transformation assesses the progress made to date by global apparel companies and viscose manufacturers in the transition towards responsibly-produced viscose” (26 Jul). [Ed’s note: download the full report here. Manufacturers assessed include Lenzing, Aditya Birla, Tangshan Sanyou, Sateri, Zhongtai, Aoyang, Xiangsheng, Bohi, Grace and Fulida.]

Smoothing out the formaldehyde wrinkle: “Cotton Incorporated [has introduced] PUREPRESS, a durable press technology that keeps clothes wrinkle- and formaldehyde-free” (24 Jul).

Vidalia Denim to supply sustainably-made denim fabrics from state-of-art facility in Louisiana: “A new textile maker, Vidalia Denim, has secured its initial funding to produce yarns and fabrics for the North American market” (24 Jul).

Spinnova joins Fashion for Good’s Scaling Programme: “Spinnova and Fashion for Good join forces through the Scaling Programme. Spinnova is the Finnish developer of a cellulose fibre with a breakthrough production process” (23 Jul).

CONFERENCES & SEMINARS                                        

[New listings or updated information marked with *]

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.”

* 31 July, New Delhi: Industry 4.0: The future of textiles: Monthly seminar series on SMEs, with speakers from the industry and government.

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

* 04 August, London: Ethical Fashion & the Vegan Revolution: Panel Talk curated by Po-Zu: “What does our plant-based economy look like & what is fashions part in this?”

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.”

24 August, Shenzhen: Social & Environmental Compliance Seminar: Stay up-to-date with changes in Chinese environmental and OHS laws relevant to supply chains.

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.

16 – 17 January 2019, Delhi: International Workshop Agreement for the screening of GMOs in cotton and textiles: “The IWA is about a protocol for GMO screening in cotton and textiles.”

* 24 January 2019, London: 8th Future Fabrics Expo: “Source from 5000+ fabrics, yarns, leathers, trims with a reduced environmental impact from over 150 mills and suppliers.”

(Photo IlonaCCO)

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.

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