THIS ISSUE

Brands in the news this issue include: Asda, Lidl & Missguided (viscose suppliers), C&A Foundation (transparency, and interview with Anita Chester on sustainable materials), H&M (versus union in NYC), Martina Spetlova, (blockchain for transparency), Numero Uno (Indian jeans using one glass of water), thredUp (an offer to Burberry), and Tonlé, Zero Waste Daniel, Renewal Workshop and Ø Glass (zero-waste fashion).

In general news:

  • Garment factories decline from 1,200 to 50 in Nepal
  • Sweatshops are less productive as every degree over 85 reduces productivity by 3%
  • PwC calls for environmentally-friendly garment factories in Bangladesh
  • BLC and ILM announce date for London Leather Sustainability Conference

In the supply chain:

  • Bangladesh: debate continues over minimum wage increase (including announcement of hunger strike by labour leaders), the Accord appeals for another extension, and more dormitories for female garment workers (despite one built last year remaining empty)
  • Cambodia: Labour Ministry approves three days of leave so garment workers can vote in election
  • Thailand: criticisms of the tripartite committee mechanism used to solve labour problems

In manufacturing news:

  • Garmon Chemicals launches new sustainability strategy
  • Rajasthan government closes 225 textile units over water pollution
  • Chemours adds renewably sourced, non-fluorinated DWR technology

Quotes of the week:

  • “[S]ocial media had done some interesting things in terms of promoting sustainability but also detrimental things with a big culture of people only wearing things once. Luxury brands are heading towards sustainability but that’s not translating to younger people who have the wear-it-once culture.” Scarlett Curtis (27 Jul).

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

BRANDS & RETAILERS

Numero Uno takes sustainable fashion a notch higher with one glass water denims: “Numero Uno, one of India’s first indigenously manufactured denim labels, has always been a strong believer of sustainable fashion. Adding to their commitment towards the global green movement, the brand has recently launched its one glass water denim collection” (27 Jul).

Asda, Lidl & Missguided “continue to ignore” this key fashion sustainability issue: “Changing Markets Foundation has named and shamed fashion brands accused of ignoring calls to switch over to sustainable viscose” (26 Jul).

C&A Foundation reflects on becoming accountable from the inside out: “Disclosure of transparent data is one of the C&A Foundation’s major strategies to improve conditions in the garment industry. We believe transparency is an essential tool to increase accountability in apparel production and much of our support is focused on enabling partners to disclose and use transparent data on supply chains and working conditions” (26 Jul).

Secondhand retailer thredUp pens letter to Burberry over burned clothes: “[T]he world’s largest online secondhand retailer, thredUp, has penned an open letter to Burberry, noting the environmental effects of the brand’s waste and proposing a solution” (26 Jul).

First fashion designer to adopt Provenance’s blockchain service: “London-based, Czech designer Martina Spetlova has become the first clothing label to integrate Provenance’s blockchain technology platform in her collection. Provenance was set up by tech designer and engineer Jessi Baker in 2013 to build a trusted system to make supply chains more transparent” (25 Jul).

Clothing retailer H&M is accused of labor violations in Manhattan: “A labor clash is unfolding between H&M, a Swedish multinational retail clothing company, and the union representing its 1,500 employees in New York City’s Manhattan-based stores” (24 Jul).

OIA releases first-ever sustainability report: “Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) released the association’s first-ever State of Sustainability in the Outdoor Industry report surveying 120 individual small, midsize and large companies in the outdoor industry to quantify the outdoor industry’s long-time collaborative efforts to reduce the impacts of the association’s products and processes” (24 Jul). [Ed’s note: see the full report here.]

NEWS & REPORTS

Sustainable materials take hold in the apparel industry: Q&A with C&A Foundation’s Anita Chester: “Recently we caught up with Chester to find out what she’s seeing in the industry as apparel companies shift their raw material sourcing, particularly with cotton, and strive for more circular models” (27 Jul).

A post mortem of Nepal’s garment boom: “An industry once made up of 1,200 firms now has only 50, and survives on orders that have no other takers” (27 Jul).

Sweatshops are less productive as every degree over 85 reduces productivity by 3%: “Researchers found at 26 garment factories in India that temperature was over 85 degrees inside the factory that for every extra degree it got hotter, productivity went down by 3% and profits went down by 2.2%” (27 Jul). [Ed’s note: see more here about the research, including that one of the key companies involved in the research was Shahi Exports, recently the subject of a report critical of management-employee relations.]

The sustainability wave hits Première Vision show: “Sustainability took center stage at the Première Vision New York international textile show while show organizers doubled the size of the “Smart Creation” area, which spotlights trends and technologies in sustainable fashion” (26 Jul).

PwC calls for environmentally-friendly garment factories in Bangladesh: “The growth in the sector needs to be sustainable and environment-friendly, said Pallab De, partner for management consulting of PwC India” (26 Jul).

Zero waste fashion – Would you buy haute-couture clothes made of textile waste? [Ed’s note: showcases Tonlé, Zero Waste Daniel, Renewal Workshop and Ø Glass.] (25 Jul).

BLC and ILM announce date for London Leather Sustainability Conference: “BLC Leather Technology Centre Ltd and International Leather Maker (ILM) [have announced] the date of the Leather & Sustainability in Retail Conference on 15th November 2018” (20 Jul). [Ed’s note: agenda includes MRSL compliance, circular economy, modern slavery, traceability and sustainable materials.]

THE SUPPLY CHAIN

Bangladesh

Two more dormitories for female garment workers: “The labour and employment ministry is forking out Tk 110 crore [US$13 million] to construct two more dormitories for female garment workers even though the first one remains eerily empty more than a year on” (30 Jul).

Garment labour bodies to besiege wage board on Aug 5: “The garment workers’ right bodies will besiege the wage board office on August 5 demanding to set minimum wage at Tk 16,000 per month for apparel workers” (29 Jul).

Accord persistent over another extension: “Despite repeated refusals by the government, Accord once again sought extension of its tenure in Bangladesh until the Remediation Coordination Cell (RCC) is fully ready for monitoring workplace safety in garment factories” (29 Jul).

Labour leaders announce hunger strike: “Andolanrata Garment Sramik Sangathan Samuha, a platform of more than 40 garment workers’ organisations, on Friday announced a hunger strike in front of the wage board on August 31 demanding Tk 16,000 as minimum monthly wage for the ready-made garment sector” (28 Jul).

Accord Statement on 4th High Level Meeting of the Bangladesh Sustainability Compact: “2018 Transition Accord Steering Committee Statement on 4th High Level Meeting of the Compact for Continuous Improvements in Labour Rights and Factory Safety in the RMG and Knitwear Industry in Bangladesh (the Compact). 25 June 2018, Brussels, Belgium” (27 Jul).

Betrayed again? “The RMG workers that fuel Bangladesh's economy are offered only 20 percent raise at a time when the country's inflation rate is 5.96 percent—and rising. In comparison, last year the Bangladesh government bumped up the salaries of government workers across all pay grades by 91 to 101 percent!” (27 Jul).

Cambodia

Garment worker seniority amendment stalls: “The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia yesterday appealed to all of its members to remain calm and patiently wait for the Ministry of Labour to implement its directive on seniority indemnity, which aims to protect workers from fleeing employers” (27 Jul).

Unions urge workers to cast ballots: “Unions representing thousands of workers have urged garment workers to vote in the national election on Sunday after the Labour Ministry approved three days of paid leave for them” (26 Jul).

Thailand

Labour policy lacks common touch: “The Ministry of Labour has used the tripartite committee mechanism to solve problems on labour issues for more than three decades but it has recently come under fire from both employers and workers” (30 Jul).

MANUFACTURERS

Sustainability key to Garmon Chemicals’ new strategy: Garmon Chemicals is relaunching its commitment to an increasingly green and transparent use of chemicals … There are three main innovations spearheading Garmon’s commitment: i) partnership with the project Alliance for Responsible Denim focusing on the dissemination and promotion of best practices for sustainable manufacturing; ii) new ISO certifications (namely ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015; and iii) a new “Stretch Care” collection with high eco-compatibility rates (27 Jul).

225 textile units shut as CETP stops accepting effluents in Pali: “The operations at 225 textile units in Pali district of Rajasthan have come to a halt after a common effluent treatment plant (CETP) stopped accepting their effluents following a directive from the Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board (RSPCB)” (26 Jul).

Eco Passport by Oeko-Tex becomes level 3 ZDHC accepted certifier: “Today [26 Jul], the ZDHC Roadmap to Zero Programme announces Eco Passport by Oeko-Tex as Level 3 ZDHC Accepted Certification Standard for ZDHC MRSL conformance” (26 Jul).

Chemours adds renewably sourced, non-fluorinated DWR technology: “Chemours is expanding its commercial product offerings of nonfluorinated DWR products with the introduction of Zelan R2 PLUS, which contains 30% renewably sourced plant-based raw materials and is focused on delivering a high level of durable water repellency for all substrates” (24 Jul).

Unifi unveils new branding: “Unifi Inc. announced the launch of the company’s new ‘True Innovation Starts in the Fiber’ branding, which highlights Unifi’s commitment to the development of innovative and sustainable performance fiber” (24 Jul).

CONFERENCES & SEMINARS                                        

[New listings or updated information marked with *]

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.

* 15 November 2018, London: Leather & Sustainability in Retail Conference 2018: “Join BLC, ILM and leather industry professionals at this year’s half-day leather sustainability conference which covers sustainability and innovation around raw materials for leather, uses for waste materials within the leather value chain and circular economy. The conference will also be considering new materials coming to market and look at transparency and traceability of production within existing processes.”

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 Felix MittermeierCCO)

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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