THIS ISSUE

Brands in this issue include: A.BCH (finalist in an Australian sustainability award), Arket (sustainability instead of fast fashion), C&A (C2C jeans), Eileen Fisher (DesignWorks), H&M (calls on industry to join forces over water; an investment in reducing waste; and a commitment to improving workplace conditions in supply chain), Inditex (supports call for Bangladesh living wage), Kering (an interview with the CSO), Kmart (the scary cost behind its cheap prices), Mara Hoffman (botanic fibres from Lenzing), Outerknown (most sustainable jeans ever?), Reliance Industries (fashion line from PET bottles), Stella McCartney (promoting ethical fashion with Galeries Lafayette), The North Face (interview with SD), and more.

Reports released this week:

In general news:

  • Rawhide waste in Dhaka continues to pollute
  • Supply chain ethics take a hit
  • A step closer to living wages in Cambodia and Myanmar
  • Expert guide to making your wardrobe sustainable
  • US Customs and Border Protection publishes advice on forced labour risk in supply chains

In the supply chain:

  • Bangladesh: 22% of female RMG workers face harassment
  • Cambodia: PM warns workers wages hikes must be reasonable
  • Myanmar: committee rejects jail time for bosses who break law

Manufacturers in this issue include: Blocktexx (textile recycling), Mainetti (allegedly union busting in Sri Lanka), Orange Fiber (from citrus fruit scraps to fabric), and more.

Quotes of the week:

  • “If employers are sentenced to jail, investors might leave the country.” Politician U Ba Shein explaining why Myanmar’s draft Labour Dispute Law excludes a provision for imprisonment of employers who break the law (29 Aug).
  • “92 per cent of all clothing sold in Australia is made overseas.” An estimate by the Council of Textiles and Fashion Industries (28 Aug).
  • “Never assume because you do something good people will care.” Katie Johnston, founder and CEO of Wild – The Lifestyle Co. (28 Aug).

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

BRANDS & RETAILERS

Top 5 sustainable clothing brands leading the eco fashion movement: [Ed’s note: Jeanerica, Grassroot by Anita Dongre, Pour Les Femmes, Ka-Sha, and Rave Review.] (30 Aug).

Sustainability instead of fast fashion: an interview with the Arket CEO: “Arket is the new sustainable fashion label of the H&M family. … Arket has high standards for itself and has already set an example for the fashion industry in terms of transparency: Arket mentions all suppliers by product on its website and on the care labels” (30 Aug).

H&M calls on the industry to join forces to achieve a water wise world: “H&M group joins WWF at the World Water Week to jointly find solutions to water related challenges of today” (29 Aug).

H&M seeks ideas to reinvent fashion and reduce waste in latest award project: “H&M is looking for ideas to “reinvent the entire fashion industry” with a special focus on digital innovation as it launches the fourth annual round of its innovation challenge, Global Change Award” (29 Aug).

Stella McCartney and Galeries Lafayette are campaigning for sustainable fashion: “In an effort to promote ethical and eco-conscious fashion, [Galeries Lafayette] will play host to a vast selection of environmentally-responsible labels, one of which will be a capsule collection from the event’s sponsor – and pioneer of eco-friendly fashion – Stella McCartney” (29 Aug).

How to make luxury goods sector sustainable: Kering’s mission to identify issues, team with suppliers and enable designers: “Marie-Claire Daveu, chief sustainability officer at French luxury group Kering, talks about the group’s efforts to reduce its environmental impact that have seen it named the most sustainable luxury company for the third time in a row” (29 Aug).

C&A’s not-so-secret recipe for circular jeans: “Sustainability always has been in C&A’s genes – and now it’s in its jeans. Last week, the Dutch apparel company launched the first Cradle to Cradle (C2C) Certified Gold denim jeans, an impressive feat for a notoriously polluting product in the sustainability-challenged fashion industry” (28 Aug).

Mara Hoffman integrates sustainable fibers in upcoming collections: “Designer Mara Hoffman selected Lenzing’s botanic fibers for fall 2018 and spring 2019 collections” (28 Aug).

Is this the most sustainable denim ever made?Kelly Slater, Outerknown’s co-founder, weighs in on the company’s new venture … Its new jeans are part of Outerknown’s S.E.A. (Social Environmental Accountability) program … re made from organic cotton in a sustainability-minded denim factory, and come with a lifetime guarantee” (28 Aug). [Ed’s note: see also here (30 Aug), which references eco-friendly denim manufacturer Saitex.]

How Eileen Fisher’s DesignWork initiative is effectively strengthening sustainability in fashion: “Eileen Fisher is arguably the leader in sustainable fashion” (28 Aug).

IndustriALL – the voice for textile workers: “IndustriALL – representing garment workers globally – and H&M group are committed to work together to improve working conditions within the textile industry. We share the vision that all textile workers across the industry should earn living wages” (28 Aug).

The truly scary cost of Kmart’s cheap prices: “Aussies love Kmart, with its unbelievable prices attracting a legion of loyal fans. But the true cost of those bargains might shock you” (28 Aug).

Slow fashion is good for the planet, but will consumers embrace it? [Ed’s note: Eileen Fisher, Maria Cornejo, Stella McCartney, Atelier & Repairs, Lunya, Cuyana. H&M is ‘faltering’; ‘hurting’. Victoria’s Secret is ‘born of the fast-fashion mind set’.]  (28 Aug).

Independent Australian fashion label A.BCH announced as finalist in Premier’s Sustainability Awards: “Independent fashion label A.BCH from North Fitzroy [in Melbourne] has been named a finalist in the prestigious Victorian Premier’s Sustainability Awards Innovative Products or Services category for creating garments from responsibly sourced fibres, threads and components and ethical supply chains” (27 Aug – media release). [Ed’s note: finalists will be announced on 11 October. See here for a profile of A.BCH on the Premier’s Sustainability Awards website.]

Sustainability is opportunity for The North Face: An interview with James Rogers, director of sustainability: “To find out more about what the company is working to achieve, we spoke with James Rogers, the Director of Sustainability [at The North Face]. He’s spent the last seven years leading environmental responsibility initiatives and has overseen the company’s new programs, products, and climate policies” (27 Aug).

Reliance launches R. Elan, a fashion line made of 100% pet bottles: “Reliance Industries [India] in association with the United Nations and House of Anita Dongre has developed R. Elan, a fashion line which is made of 100% PET bottles” (24 Aug).

Retail workers in Chinese store protest over apparel factory workers’ wage arrears: Retail employees in a sports goods store raised a banner in-store to protest wage arrears owed to apparel factory workers (22 Aug – in Chinese; photos at link).

NEWS & REPORTS

CERD releases report on China’s compliance with UN Convention: The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has released its report on China’s compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, recommending China reform the hukou system to allow internal migrants, in particular members of ethnic minorities, enjoy the same work, and social security, health and education benefits as long-time urban residents. The Committee expressed concerns that China’s regional unemployment statistics are not disaggregated by ethnicity, thus preventing analysis of racially discriminatory practices in employment (30 Aug). [Ed’s note: this report may be of interest for companies with non-discrimination clauses in their codes of conduct and sourcing from China.]

Dhaka continues to be polluted by rawhide waste: “Rawhide waste continue to pollute the densely populated Hazaribagh area in the capital. The problem persists as tanners were using their abandoned factories to store rawhides, local inhabitants complained” (29 Aug).

How the fashion industry is paving the way for a sustainable future: “We’re at the dawn of a new era of textile innovation, writes Clare Press. As designers and scientists are coming together to conjure up materials that are kinder to Mother Earth, what does this mean for the wardrobe of the future?” (29 Aug). [Ed’s note: article references Nike, Institute for Frontier Materials at Deakin University, Lenzing, Tejidos Royo, Country Road, Bolt Threads, Orange Fiber, Nanollose, Biofabricate, and others.]

As trade wars heat up, supply chain ethics take a hit: “It’s evident from analyzing the thousands of global, on-site factory audits we’ve conducted so far this year that manufacturers’ interest in ethics and sustainability is waning” (29 Aug).

Global Fashion Agenda and Institut Français de la Mode to push for sustainability: “Global Fashion Agenda and the Institut Français de la Mode to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to strengthen their ties and establish more partnership agreements to accelerate sustainability in the fashion industry” (29 Aug).

Garment unions in Cambodia and Myanmar step closer to a living wage: “As part of IndustriALL’s living wage campaign garment unions in Cambodia and Myanmar met last week on 20 - 22 August 2018 to develop and agree on joint demands and strategy for national sectoral bargaining in the apparel and footwear sector” (28 Aug).

An expert’s guide to making your wardrobe sustainable: “Fashion Revolution, the global platform working towards a more sustainable fashion industry, today launches its third zine, Fashion, Environment, Change. An A-Z of everything from greenhouse gases to textile pollution” (28 Aug).

Companies must look beyond own operations to enhance water stewardship: “GRI’s updated standard on water and effluents requires reporting impacts in the value chain … The updated standard, GRI 303: Water and Effluents 2018, has an emphasis on water stewardship, aimed at actively managing the impacts within the context of the watersheds companies are operating in” (28 Aug). [Ed’s note: see also this infographic titled ‘5 things you need to know about the new GRI303’.]

The M.I.A.-approved CSM graduate pushing sustainable design: “Patrick McDowell wants to leave behind boring connotations around eco-design and look forward to the future” (28 Aug).

CBP releases new document regarding Forced Labor Risk and the Global Supply Chain: “U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published a document entitled, “Responsible Business Practices on Forced Labor Risk in the Global Supply Chain“, which provides details regarding the best practices for importers of goods into the U.S.”(24 Aug).

THE SUPPLY CHAIN

Bangladesh

Cells against sexual harassment at apparel factories a must: “The inclusion of women’s labour, especially in the apparel sector, into formal economy has been considered a major mark of progress for Bangladesh. However, workplace safety has not been guaranteed for women workers” (29 Aug).

Brands support for a living wage for garment workers in Bangladesh: “The Minimum Wage Board in Bangladesh will reconvene on Wednesday, 29 August, to set the new statutory minimum wage for workers in Bangladesh’s garment industry. Ahead of this meeting Clean Clothes Campaign, the International Labor Rights Forum and Maquila Solidarity Network jointly urged major brands sourcing from Bangladesh to publicly support workers’ demands. These include the minimum wage of 16,000 taka, a statutory framework to govern pay grades and promotion and other welfare measures. Inditex – the owner of Zara, Bershka, Pull and Bear and several other labels – was the first to publicly respond in a positive manner” (28 Aug).

22% female RMG workers face harassment: study: “Twenty-two per cent of female garment workers face physical, psychological and sexual harassment at workplace or on the way to/from the workplace, says a recent study” (27 Aug). [Ed’s note: research conducted by SHOJAG (Awaken) Coalition.]

Cambodia

Minimum wage hike must be reasonable: PM: “Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday [29 Aug] warned workers that an unreasonable increase in the minimum wage could drive companies to bankruptcy and out of the country” (30 Aug).

China

Workers protest sudden closure and wage arrears owed by shoe factory in Quanzhou, Fujian: [Ed’s note: includes video footage.] (24 Aug – in Chinese).

Myanmar

Bill committee rejects prison time for employers who break labour law: “The bill committee of the Pyithu Hluttaw (lower house) has submitted a draft Labour Dispute Law to parliament that excludes a provision for imprisonment of employers who break the law” (29 Aug).

MANUFACTURERS

Stop union busting at world’s biggest hanger company: “IndustriALL Global Union is calling on Mainetti, the world’s largest producer of fashion hangers, to stop union busting at its factory in Sri Lanka” (30 Aug).

Inside the campaign to bring natural dyes to fashion: “That is the ultimate message of Victoria based organisation Fibreshed, who have curated the Festival of Natural Dyes, which is running in Melbourne until September 10th” (29 Aug).

Blocktexx joins forces with the Formary on textile recycling: “Australian fashtech company Blocktexx joins forces with New Zealand’s The Formary to develop textile recycling and waste solutions” (28 Aug).

Nature is in fashion: the textile industry is sustainable: “Citrus, liquorice, coffee and mushrooms are some of the ingredients for the creation of revolutionary fabrics. Natural elements are sustainable alternatives in the fashion industry. Green clothes, shoes and accessories are a current and future trend” (28 Aug – in Italian). [Ed’s note: brands mentioned include Orange Fiber and Vegea.]

This bright blue dye is found in fabric: Could it also power batteries? “Methylene blue is a common ingredient in wastewater from textile mills. But scientists think it may be possible to give this industrial pollutant a second life. In a study, they show that the dye, dissolved in water, is good at storing and releasing energy on cue” (27 Aug).

Material guide: how ethical is Tencel? [Ed’s note: by Good On You ethical fashion app. References Lenzing, Patagonia, G-Star RAW, Reformation, Birla, and the Rainforest Alliance.] (27 Aug).

Fabric from citrus fruit scraps: “There is a thread linking Sicily to Como and it is the one created by Orange Fiber, a company founded in 2014 that produces sustainable fabrics from by-products of the citrus industry” (25 Aug – in Italian).

CONFERENCES & SEMINARS                                        

[New listings or updated information marked with *]

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

* 04 – 06 September, Munich: Munich Fabric Start 2018: Three days of exhibiters and seminars focussing on sustainable textiles.

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 September, Adelaide, South Australia: Redress Design Award Fashion Academy: “A free-to-attend sustainable fashion event for students, emerging designers and educators.”

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.”

* 26 – 29 September, Koudougou, Burkina Faso: 4 days focussing on organic and Fairtrade cotton in West Africa.  International Cotton & Textile Conference (SICOT).

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.”

* 29 September, Washington DC: Unveiling Fashion: Conversations about Fashion and Sustainability: Keynote speaker: Lauren Fey, Fashion Revolution USA, and many more.

* 31 October – 01 November, London: Responsible Supply Chains: The future of trade: “[The] event will include analysis of key sustainability trends, the future of business models and leadership and explore new models of collaboration.”

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.”

* 11 – 12 October, Kilkenny, Ireland: Global Forum on Responsible Leather. Hosted by TextileExchange Responsible Leather Roundtable.

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, 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 Martin StrCCO)

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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