Correction: in FSWIR 31.1 (Tue 31 Jul), we inadvertently provided a wrong link and information for the Leather & Sustainability in Retail Conference 2018, scheduled for 15 November in London. See here for the correct link, or below in our section on “Conferences and Seminars”.

Brands in this issue include: Allbirds (sugarcane soles), Burberry (burning clothes), H&M (union protests in NYC), Jalila Essaïdi (cow manure shirts), Levi’s and Tesco (joined China’s Green Supply Chain Map), Levi’s (slashing supply chain emissions), Ralph Lauren (no more mohair), and many more.  

In general news:

  • The future is sharing clothes, not owning them
  • How clothing became a disposable product
  • BBC examination of the fight to end silence on waste (i.e., Burberry)
  • US suspends trade benefit for Rwanda over used clothing
  • Elle UK dedicates September issue to sustainability
  • An appeal to business to stop sourcing cotton from Uzbekistan or Turkmenistan

Reports released this week:

  • North Korea Sanctions & Enforcement Actions Advisory, issued by the US Department of State

In the supply chain:

  • Bangladesh: collaboration with ILO on ‘Decent Work’ priorities
  • Cambodia: another traffic accident involving garment workers, and Hun Sen reaps the benefits of wooing garment workers with benefits and policies
  • Nicaragua: crisis starting to impact Central American sourcing
  • Pakistan: chief justice says he would ban unions if they weren’t guaranteed in Constitution

Manufacturers in this issue include: Archroma (showcasing denim solutions), Braskem (making an EVA copolymer from sugarcane – as used by Allbirds), Euro Dyers (fined for no environmental permit), Jay Chemical Industries and Pidilite (join ZDHC), OrganoClick (DWR used by GoLite), SoftWear Automation (sustainability), and more.

Quotes of the week:

  • “The buyers are coming here [to Bangladesh] with bulk of work orders as the country's image has now brightened after the near-completion of factory remediation as per the recommendations by the Accord and Alliance.” Refayet Ullah Mirdha (02 Aug).
  • “Where other companies needed forty to fifty weeks to get a new collection from the drawing board in the shop rack, H&M succeeded in twenty weeks.” Emy Demkes, on the early days of fast fashion (01 Aug).

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


Continued protests against H&M in New York: “H&M still gets negative attention after the protests outside of New York stores have been built. Now the union protests have been extended to include all the stores in the city” (02 Aug – in Swedish).

Allbirds wants to fix your sole: “Allbirds is showcasing a groundbreaking new material, called SweetFoam, which it has spent more than three years developing. The vast majority of shoes churned out by the $246 billion global footwear industry contains some form of EVA–a foam with a rubbery texture–in their soles. Until now, this material has been made with petroleum. But Allbirds has quietly invented a more sustainable version of it, creating the exact same EVA polymer using a renewable energy source–the sugar plant–instead of fossil fuel” (01 Aug).

The startup making shirts out of cow poo: “Cow waste is a global environmental issue. Jalila Essaïdi and Dutch farmers are tackling the problem by transforming manure into materials” (01 Aug).

Levi’s, Tesco join Green Supply Chain Map: “Levi’s and Tesco have become the latest brands to join the Green Supply Chain Map; a publicly available online transparency tool that ties companies to their suppliers’ environmental performance in China” (01 Aug).

Levi’s Plans to Slash Emissions in Global Supply Chain by 2025: “The apparel giant aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at a sprawling set of factories and mills in 39 countries, starting with first-tier suppliers” (01 Aug).

Inside Levi’s ambitious plan to cut its carbon footprint: “In an unprecedented and impressive move, by 2025, the company plans to cut emissions in its supply chain by 40%” (31 Jul).

Bonfire of the vanities: Why Burberry’s admission it burns unsold stock might just help the fashion industry: “But perhaps the British heritage brand has inadvertently done the fashion world something of a favour. Through its overt transparency, a multibillion-dollar industry that has long been riddled with bad practice and waste, could finally be required to account for its actions” (31 Jul).

Ralph Lauren joins long list of fashion retailers to stop using mohair after pressure from PETA: “Ralph Lauren is the latest fashion retailer to join a long list of companies that will no longer use mohair from angora goats in their products, the company said” (30 Jul).


The future of (sustainable) fashion is not in ownership but the sharing economy: “While there is no easy solution to fashion’s environmental harms, increased attention is being paid to a circular economy model, one that seeks to move beyond fashion’s linear model of take, make and waste, in order to close the loop, and design out waste and minimize environmental impacts. Recycling has become an important initiative to address this” (01 Aug). [Ed’s note: article references Patagonia, Luxe, Rent the Runway, H&M and Burberry.]

How clothing became a disposable product: “Welcome to the fast-fashion era, where collections change daily and you pay the same for a T-shirt as for a kilo of chicken fillet or a Big Mac” (01 Aug – in Dutch). [Ed’s note: mentions H&M, Primark, C&A, Zara, Peek & Cloppenburg, Zeeman, and V&D.]

Burning stock is what happens when financial value is the only measure of a business: “Whilst it is Burberry who recently hit the headlines for destroying £28 million worth of fashion and cosmetics products, they are not alone.  It is symptomatic of an industry-wide problem which undervalues fashion product, and does not account for its full cost - either to the people behind the product, or to the environment” (31 Jul).

Inside the fight to end the silence on waste: “The BBC contacted 35 high-end designers and high-street retailers to ask about their practice [of burning clothes like Burberry did recently]. Only six replied with breakdowns or further information, and the rest said they could not help or did not respond at all” (31 Jul).

‘Pakistan should adopt responsible business conduct to raise trade’: “[From a] seminar on ‘Responsible Business Conduct in Punjab’ … jointly organised by LCCI, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education & Research (PILER), Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), Employers Federation of Pakistan (EFP) and Workers Employers Bilateral Council of Pakistan (WEBCOP)” (31 Jul).

US suspends trade benefit for Rwanda over used clothing: “The Trump administration has suspended a benefit that allows Rwanda to export clothing to the United States without facing tariffs” (31 Jul).

Elle UK dedicates September issue to sustainability: “Naomi Klein, Pamela Anderson, Stella McCartney, Arizona Muse, Livia Firth, Katherine Hamnett, Jaden Smith, Pandora Sykes and Slick Woods have joined forces with us to create a landmark September issue dedicated to encouraging a more environmentally-friendly fashion industry … [also includes] research to find out the attitudes and awareness of sustainability in fashion among young women in the UK” (31 Jul).

Sourcing at Magic to focus on sustainability in fashion: “Sourcing at Magic, a global fashion event, to be held from August 12 to 15, 2018, in Las Vegas, will focus on sustainability and using innovation to accelerate sustainability in apparel production. Sourcing at Magic will show how to close the loop on production, processing, and recycling by bringing environmentally-friendly practices to the forefront” (30 Jul).

Why we need to address our clothing footprint now: “It’s time to face the facts. By 2030, we will consume 102 million tons of apparel per year, an increase of 63 percent from 2017. And by 2050, the global-fashion industry will consume a quarter of the world’s annual carbon budget” (30 Jul).

Join BSR to empower 1.6 million women workers through HERproject by 2022: “BSR’s HERproject is based on the belief that women can be powerful agents of change to address these inequalities. When low-income working women are empowered to make and act on choices they value, they can change their workplaces, communities, and societies for the better” (30 Jul). [Ed’s note: a call by BSR for companies to get involved in HERproject.]

How can fashion embrace the circular economy? [Ed’s note: seven points to emerge from an industry discussion, ranging from “don’t count on consumers to lead the charge” and “some consumers are still confused about what sustainability means” to “not every consumer can afford to be conscious” and “collaboration is key”.] (26 Jul).

Businesses, don’t risk forced labour affecting your cotton: “Louise Eldridge on why businesses should not source cotton from Uzbekistan or Turkmenistan” (21 Jul).



Bangladesh sets ‘Decent Work’ priorities with ILO: “The creation of green jobs and the promotion of social dialogue are amongst the priorities that the government of Bangladesh, employer and worker organisations will work on in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO) until 2020” (01 Aug).


Garment workers injured in traffic accident: “A truck carrying 26 garment workers in Kandal province was involved in an accident yesterday in Ang Snuol district, leaving ten workers slightly injured” (02 Aug).

Garment workers help CPP overtake CNRP strongholds: “The ruling Cambodian People’s Party secured about one million more votes in Sunday’s poll than it did in the 2013 national election, allowing it to overtake many regions that were once strongholds of the former opposition CNRP” (02 Aug).


Nicaragua crisis seen spoiling Central America sourcing: “The turmoil in the Central American country is causing American fashion brands to review their sourcing of apparel from the entire region” (31 Jul).

North Korea

U.S. Agencies warn businesses of North Korean sanctions evasion tactics: “The two primary risks are: (1) inadvertent sourcing of goods, services, or technology from North Korea; and (2) the presence of North Korean citizens or nationals in companies’ supply chains, whose labor generates revenue for the North Korean government. This advisory also provides due diligence references for businesses” (23 Jul).


Speakers express concerns over CJP’s statement against trade unions: “Speakers at a seminar on Contract System, Labor Rights and the Role of Judiciary on Wednesday [01 Aug] expressed grave concerns on the Chief Justice of Pakistan’s recent remarks on trade unions” (02 Aug).

Workers’ bodies lament CJP’s remarks on trade unions: “The Pakistan Workers Federation (PWF) on July 30 expressed its concern over Chief Justice Saqib Nisar’s remarks in case that he would have banned the trade unions in the country if they were not permitted by the Constitution” (31 Jul).


Braskem launches sugar renewable-based EVA: “Brazilian resin supplier Braskem has introduced an ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) copolymer derived from sugarcane. The first application of the material is in a flip-flop footwear product developed by San Francisco-based Allbirds and dubbed Sugar Zeffer” (01 Aug).

Three new organisations join ZDHC: “The three new ZDHC contributors are joining in the Value Chain Affiliate Category [are: Jay Chemical Industries Limited, Pidilite and the Italian Leather Research Institute [Stazione Sperimentale per l’Industria delle Pelli e delle materie concianti]” (01 Aug).

Leading German textile certifier opens labs in Bangladesh: “Hohenstein Institute, a leading accredited German certification provider, has formally launched two laboratories in Dhaka and Chittagong to offer a wide range of chemical and textile technology testing and results analysis” (31 Jul).

Indorama Ventures expands PET recycling capabilities with acquisition of Sorepla: “Indorama Ventures [has] announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Sorepla Industrie, a plastics recycling facility in France” (31 Jul).

China viscose sector launches sustainability roadmap: “Ten major Chinese viscose producers which together make up an estimated 50 per cent of the world’s supply have released a new joint 3-year roadmap for the sustainable development of the viscose manufacturing industry in China” (31 Jul).

Archroma to showcase denim solutions at DenimsandJeans: “Archroma’s Denisol range is a newly developed pre-reduced liquid indigo solution that is manufactured in Archroma’s award winning ‘zero liquid discharge’ manufacturing plant in Pakistan. Denisol Indigo 30 liq is compliant with major official eco-standards” (31 Jul).

GoLite selects OrganoTex water repellent treatment: “GoLite, an American outdoor equipment and clothing manufacturer, has chosen OrganoTex by OrganoClick, as its water repellent treatment (DWR)” (31 Jul).

Large fine for Leicester textile firm: “Euro Dyers, a textile dyeing firm, did not have an Environmental Permit and officers witnessed dangerous conditions that could have affected local residents” (30 Jul).

In conversation with SoftWear Automation: “Li & Fung in conversation with SoftWear Automation CEO Palaniswamy “Raj” Rajan and CCO Pete Santora” (27 Jul – 3:04-minute video). [Ed’s note: mentions sustainability.]

DuPont Sorona brand becomes Bluesign system partner: “Renewably sourced fiber meets rigorous sustainable textile production system; recognized for its environmental responsibility in the supply chain” (23 Jul).

CONFERENCES & SEMINARS                                        

[New listings or updated information marked with *]

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.”

* 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.”

* 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.)

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 Cindy LeverCCO)

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.