THIS ISSUE

Brands in this issue include: Allbirds (wool, trees and sugar shoes), Asos (reusable sanitary pads), Good Cloth (on becoming a B Corp), H&M (slow strides to sustainability), Nike (reopens in South Africa), Target (water stewardship), Tchibo (recycled materials), Uniqlo (Stockholm store protest over Indonesian factory; recycled shopping bags), and more.

Reports released this week:

In general news:

  • India is one of the fastest growing Fairtrade markets
  • Are fungi the answer to sustainable textiles?
  • A drop in China sales creates waste disposal problem for luxury
  • PETA’s ‘Pledge to Ditch Wool’ campaign
  • What does B Corp certification mean for a fashion brand?

In the supply chain:

  • Bangladesh: workers wait for festival allowances
  • India: garment factory fire
  • Myanmar: UN report recommends ‘individual sanctions’ against military leaders
  • Philippines: DOLE tells employers to obey new safety law
  • South Africa: 7.5% wage hike for clothing industry workers

Manufacturers in this issue include a long list of innovative textile producers, and more.

Quotes of the week:

  • “[T]he Security Council should adopt targeted individual sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, against those who appear most responsible for serious crimes under international law.” A UNCHR recommendation to the UN Security Council, from a recent fact-finding mission on the Rohingya situation in Myanmar. The ideas of sanctions against the nation’s military leaders, including its top commander raises the question of pecuniary interests in apparel factories in Myanmar and the potential for supply chain disruption (24 Aug).
  • “How clothing is made shouldn’t be a mystery.” Stephanie Hepburn, founder of Good Cloth, a B Corp clothing company in New Orleans (24 Aug).

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

BRANDS & RETAILERS

Can H&M ever be sustainable? [Ed’s note: the short answer: “H&M is making some strides forward, albeit very slowly.”] (27 Aug).

This company is making footwear out of wool, sugar and trees: “What makes [Allbirds footwear] so special is that each shoe is derived from ethically- and sustainably-sourced merino wool, tree fiber or sugar – a major development in an industry that is looking to reduce its high carbon footprint as a result of the manufacturing process” (27 Aug).

As Uniqlo arrives in Scandinavia, Indonesian garment workers demand justice: “As Uniqlo, Japan’s largest clothing retailer, hits Stockholm on Thursday 24 August with a huge opening party at its new flagship store, labour rights campaigners demand the fast fashion giant act immediately to settle a long running dispute with 2000 Indonesia workers fighting for USD 5.5 million they are owed in lost wages and unpaid severance” (24 Aug).

Nike stores in South Africa reopen following backlash over racist video: “Nike stores in South Africa were all open on Friday, the company said, after some were closed following a backlash over racist comments by a man said to have links to the U.S. sportswear company” (24 Aug).

ASOS creates sanitary pads for women in Kenya using spare fabric: “The new ASOS Made In Kenya collection is providing women in the Kasigua region of the country who are in need with reusable sanitary pads made from leftover fabric from clothes in the range” (24 Aug).

Good Cloth’s Stephanie Hepburn on how her B Corp is calling for transparency in sustainable clothing: “Founded in 2014, Good Cloth became a Certified B Corporation in 2016. Switching to an entity that emphasizes social and environmental transparency was a decision [Stephanie] Hepburn knew she wanted to undertake because it was the best thing for her business and its place in the fashion industry” (24 Aug).

secondtoNaked, Adidas by Stella McCartney boost ethical activewear market: [Ed’s note: secondtoNaked is an ethical shopping platform.] (23 Aug).

Target pursues holistic water stewardship: Q&A with Jennifer Silberman: “Water has become a powerful connective force for Target Corporation. Earlier this year the retailer announced a freshwater stewardship approach created in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) that built on the company’s existing water management aspirations” (23 Aug).

The material cycle with recycled materials: Tchibo’s sustainability manager Sarah Herms talks about what the German retailer is doing with regards to recycled materials and its upcoming green fashion collection (23 Aug – in German).

Uniqlo introduces recycled, paid-for shopping bags: “2016, in many European countries, single-use plastic shopping bags are either prohibited, unless they are recyclable, or have to be paid for. Japanese fashion retailer Uniqlo is following suit on a worldwide scale, having decided to offer its customers paid-for, re-usable eco-friendly shopping bags manufactured with Hong Kong company Burltex Nonwoven Industrial Ltd.” (22 Aug).

NEWS & REPORTS

Beyond Bangladesh, OECD countries must act to save lives in the garment industry: “We have the tools to make a better garment industry. We must use them. Public pressure to improve the working conditions of garment workers has never been greater, and now is the time to push for change. The lives of garment workers in Bangladesh and in many places beyond depend on it” (26 Aug). [Ed’s note: from the OECD Observer.]

India is one of the fastest growing Fairtrade markets: “In the past year, [five new fashion brands] made a commitment to sourcing from Fairtrade certified supply chains. These include five fashion brands: Deivee, Soul Space, Tuuda, Huetrap and Aizome” (25 Aug).

Are fungi the answer to a more sustainable future? “We are in dire need of sustainable materials that provide an environmentally-friendly alternative to plastic and other materials that cause pollution and end up crowding landfills. The solution could be fungi” (25 Aug).

Luxury fashion’s waste disposal problem, China’s part in it, and the steps brands are taking to make fashion more sustainable: “Leading brands regularly destroy unsold stock to foil grey market sellers and maintain pricing power; a drop in China sales has added to their waste problem. Some are trying to change their ways, but turning fashion green is a huge challenge, experts say” (25 Aug). [Ed’s note: story references Burberry, LVMH, Kering, Stella McCartney, Nike, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and Julie Zerbo from The Fashion Law.]

Textile Exchange partners With Bluesign for conference: “Textile Exchange, a global non-profit organization for the textile industry, said that it has partnered with Bluesign, a Switzerland-based solution firm for sustainable textile production, for its fifth biannual conference on Oct. 18 and Oct. 19. The event will be held back-to-back with Textile Exchange’s annual Textile Sustainability Conference from Oct. 22 to Oct. 24, with both conferences taking place in Milan over a five-day period” (24 Aug). [Ed’s note: be sure to keep up-to-date with upcoming conferences and seminars and scroll down for a full list of what’s coming up in the next six months.]

Stimulating sustainable consumption by overcoming the attitude-behavior gap: [Ed’s note: an article on Tal Daniel’s master’s thesis, which focussed on the sustainability paradox: non-sustainable consumers perceive sustainable consumer as morally superior and pretentious, which leads to non-sustainable consumer to buy fewer sustainable products (i.e., being enthusiastic about sustainability actually drives other consumers away from making sustainable purchases). Tal’s thesis, in English, can be downloaded here.] (23 Aug – in Dutch).

Sheep in the UK beaten, stamped on, cut, and killed for wool: PETA Asia has started a campaign against wool with videos of cruel treatment by shearers in the UK. The organisation invites supporters to sing its Pledge to Ditch Wool (23 Aug).

How France wants to force fashion companies to recycle: “Unsold fashion ends up being burned in Europe. France wants to change this practice and force clothing companies to recycle … In France, the cremation of fashion could soon be history. Prime Minister Édouard Philippe wants to develop new rules for dealing with unsold clothing by 2019.” (23 Aug – in German). [Ed’s note: article references Burberry, H&M, Kirsten Brodde of Greenpeace, and Francois Souchet, director of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s ‘Circular Fibers Initiative’.]

No Sweat t-shirt producer brings hydropower to remote Bangladeshi village: “Oporajeo, the workers co-op that make No Sweat t-shirts, have used their profits to bring hydropower to farming village, transforming people’s lives” (22 Aug).

To B Corp or not to B Corp: what the ethical business certification means for brands: “An investigation into what B Corp certification is and what kinds of apparel brands it makes sense for” (22 Aug). [Ed’s note: article references Eileen Fisher, Patagonia, Allbirds, Kotn, Nisolo, Athleta, Cotopaxi, Sseko Designs, and Unilever. Note: not all companies mentioned are certified B Corp companies.]

THE SUPPLY CHAIN

Bangladesh

Workers of many RMG units get no festival allowances, wages: “Workers of many of the garment factories across the country received no festival allowances and wages till Monday evening, according to Industrial Police sources” (21 Aug).

India

Fire breaks out in garment factory: Fire in a garment factory (DC Oswal and Sons) in Ludhiana (19 Aug).

Myanmar

Damning UN report: Myanmar generals should be prosecuted for genocide and crimes against humanity: [Ed’s note: The UNHRC’s Report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar (PDF download here) includes the following recommendation: “the Security Council should adopt targeted individual sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, against those who appear most responsible for serious crimes under international law.” The question this raises is how many of those at whom “individual sanctions” might be directed (i.e., the nation’s military leaders, including its top commander) have pecuniary interests in apparel factories in Myanmar? And if sp, what might that mean for supply chain disruption?] (27 Aug).

Philippines

Comply with OSHS law, DOLE tells employers: “An official of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Tuesday urged companies to follow provisions of Republic Act No. 11058 or the Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHS) law” (22 Aug).

South Africa

7.5% wage hike for South African clothing industry workers: “Workers in the clothing industry across South Africa will receive a 7.5 per cent wage increase, effective September 1, 2018. Workers in the non-metro areas will receive an additional 0.5 per cent in the form of greater employer contribution to the provident fund” (25 Aug).

MANUFACTURERS

Resource recovery, circular economy drive textiles innovation: Profiles innovation at Evrnu, Candiani, Alice Potts, Thermore, Tintex, Penn Textile Solutions, Re:Newcell, Iluna Group, Isko, Lanificio Zegna, Lanificio Botto Giuseppe & Figli, Tessitura Colombo Antonio, Maglificio Ripa, Albiate 1830, and Wolford (27 Aug).

Indian textile mill illegally diverts water for agricultural irrigation: Petitioners have sought court intervention to return water to farmers (25 Aug).

CONFERENCES & SEMINARS                                        

[New listings or updated information marked with *]

29 August, Berlin: Sustainable Fashion in the Digital Era: “Introducing the new report TRANSPARENT: Sustainable Fashion in the Digital Era.”

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

06 September, Hong Kong (livestreamed): Redress Design Award 2018 Grand Final Show: Redress will be live-streaming the Grand Final Show or the Redress Design Award 2018 on its Facebook page at 6.30 p.m.

06 – 07 September, Hong Kong: Fashion Summit (HK) 2018: Asia’s sustainable fashion event.

10 September, San Francisco: The Future of Design Workshop: A workshop teaching the SAC’s Higg Production Tools to apparel and footwear designers.

10 – 12 September, Chemnitz, Germany: Sustainable Textile School: “Formation of a marketplace for innovation and further education with a focus on sustainability in the textile industry.”

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.

* 19 September, San Bruno, California: Impact Sourcing – Economic Inclusion through Procurement: “Leading companies are no longer just approaching sustainable procurement to mitigate risk. They are maximizing opportunities and generating business benefits and lasting social impacts.”

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.”

26 September, Amsterdam: Unpack Impact: “Four successful impact enterprises [circular fashion] will be unpacked.”

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.”

01 – 02 October, Toronto: Wear Conference: “WEAR [provides a] forum to share examples of both local and global leadership, best practices and innovative solutions with the North American apparel and textile industry.”

09 – 10 October, Maastricht, the Netherlands: 34th IAF World Fashion Convention: With a theme this year of “Building a Smart Future for Fashion”, the Convention will “will show many inspiring examples of a smarter apparel supply chain.” 

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.”

15 – 17 October, Shanghai: Yarn Expo Autumn: “Sustainable sources of specialty yarns, fancy yarns and chemical fibres will be the focus at this year’s Autumn Edition.”

18 – 19 October, Milan: 5th Bluesign Conference: “TraceAbility. NetworkAbility. TransformAbility. Stitching the blue way together … gathering of all the Bluesign system partners and broader sustainability community for an opportunity to exchange ideas.”

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.)

25 – 26 October, Lisbon: Sustainable Retail Summit: Hosted by the Consumer Goods Forum – “Topics on the agenda include plastic waste, migrant labour, consumer health, food waste and transparency.”

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 Johannes PlenioCCO)

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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