Brands in this issue include: BHive (new chemical app used by brands), H&M (CEO on the fallout of consumer shaming), Ikea and H&M (named as doing business in Xinjiang), Loro Piana (celebrates cashmere in documentary), Nasty Gal (signs up eco-warrior), Nike (teams up with Ocean Conservancy to protect the Arctic), Reformation (finding a sustainable focus), Ross Stores (target of nationwide protests), more.

Recently released reports:

  • No new reports this issue

In general news:

  • ‘Sustainable’ clothing product descriptions have soared 125% since 2017, Edited says

  • Most fashion brands don’t know enough about their carbon footprints to actually shrink them

  • Drapers launches Sustainable Fashion Awards

  • Reinventing luxury: sustainability as a way forward

  • Is your Greta Thunberg t-shirt contributing to climate change?

  • Italian police bust ‘Mafia plastic recycling ring’

  • Responsible fashion falls on consumers and media, too

  • Vintage, faux and real: navigating fur in fashion in an age of sustainability

  • How sustainable are you if your inventory is out of control?

  • Blue Peace Index 2019 (on water scarcity)

In the supply chain:

  • Bangladesh: Mostafiz Uddin featured in Time magazine; foreign RMG brand alliance Nirapon banned for 6 months; and garment workers face menstruation taboos

  • Cambodia: workers, factory owner reach agreement over unpaid wages, benefits; and CARE and BFC improve identification of sexual harassment in factories

  • Chile: five dead as looters torch garment factory

  • India: workers who drank contaminated water discharged

  • Myanmar: Yangon chief minister able to settle only one factory dispute

Manufacturers in this issue include: Indorama Ventures (joins the New Plastics Economy global commitment), Genesis:M&J Group (sets new standards in garment manufacturing), and more.

Sustainable fashion jobs: 5 new jobs listed this issue (at Adidas, Epic Group, Mey, and Vans).

Quotes of the week:

  • “Textile mills generate 17 to 20% of the world’s industrial water pollution. 72 toxic chemicals have been identified in water solely from textile dyeing, 30 of which cannot be removed.” Brooke Roberts-Islam in an article about chemicals in clothing and the chemical management tool BHive (25 Oct).

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


Swedish boost for textile-to-textile recycling: “Swedish pulp and paper giant Södra claims it’s made a new chemical ‘breakthrough’ that allows it to separate polyester/cotton blended textiles and turn them into raw materials for viscose and lyocell fibre production” (28 Oct).

Downturn reported in Bangladesh garment industry: “Fifty-nine garment factories have closed down with the loss of 25,900 workers jobs in the last seven months in Bangladesh where industry leaders fear the country’s contracting industry could soon by overtaken by that of rival Vietnam” (28 Oct).

Time to ‘normalise’ sustainability, says university figure: “Fast fashion brands should harness their strong market positions and online outreach to ‘normalise’ sustainable fashion items, says a senior fashion lecturer at the University of Manchester” (28 Oct).

Uzbek cotton could be banned over slavery fears: “A landmark legal judgement due in London next week could prevent cotton from Uzbekistan from entering the UK - and potentially the entire European Union - over fears it is planted and harvested with the aid of slave labour” (25 Oct).

24 more companies join the Fashion Pact: “Another 24 fashion and textiles companies have signed up for the Fashion Pact which was launched at the recent G7 summit in France in an attempt to reduce the impact of the industry on the environment” (25 Oct).

Scientists find ‘new way’ of using enzymes to dye textiles: “Scientists at the University of Boras in Sweden claim to have come up with a new way of using enzymes to dye textiles which reduces the usage of energy and water and the discharge of potentially harmful chemicals” (25 Oct).

Vietnamese suppliers ‘must embrace sustainability’: “Vietnamese manufacturers need to focus on sustainability in order to take a bigger stake in the global supply chain, according to the head of the international trade association, Amfori” (25 Oct).


The impact of corporate social responsibility on fashion brands: “Corporate social responsibility has emerged as a key factor that can significantly impact a brand’s value. Brands that refuse to embrace CSR face potential diminution in value or, even worse, the slow and painful death known as irrelevance” (28 Oct).

Consumer shaming: H&M CEO sees ‘terrible’ fallout: “The CEO of H&M says a growing movement that shames consumers represents a very real social threat. Karl-Johan Persson, the 44-year-old chief executive of the fashion giant and son of its billionaire chairman, is speaking out as a pattern of shaming that initially targeted air travellers spreads into more industries, including his. Persson says his concern is that the climate movement seeks to prohibit behaviours. Many of the protests are “about ‘stop doing things, stop consuming, stop flying’,” Persson said. “Yes, that may lead to a small environmental impact, but it will have terrible social consequences”” (28 Oct).

It’s time to boycott any company doing business in Xinjiang: “Any western company doing business in Xinjiang should consider their supply chains tainted by forced labour drawn from internment camps. Hardly a drop in the ocean of the vast global economy, this involves companies such as Ikea, H&M, Volkswagen and Siemens” (27 Oct).

Nike and Ocean Conservancy team up to protect the Arctic: “Nike and Ocean Conservancy are encouraging businesses to avoid shipping routes via the Arctic Ocean, with the launch of an ‘Arctic Shipping Corporate Pledge’” (27 Oct).

Babygro outgrown? Now you can rent fresh replacements by the month: “Families who seek an environmentally friendly alternative to fast fashion pay a monthly subscription to companies offering ethical-branded, age-appropriate clothes and receive new outfits in the post. The clothes, washed, ironed and ready to be worn again, are sent back when the child has outgrown them, with another bundle arriving soon after. The hire fee covers stains and lost items” (26 Oct).

This company wants chemical ingredients listed on our clothes labels - Here’s why: “Chemistry may not be the most consumer-friendly subject, perhaps explaining the general avoidance of it by fashion marketing teams, however, the chemical management tool BHive wants ingredients lists on all our clothing for health and sustainability reasons, and they have a simple and effective app to underpin it” (25 Oct).

Depop: Can pre-loved clothes make fast fashion sustainable? “Can it ever be green to buy clothes and only wear them once? Well it might be, if you buy second-hand ones and sell them again when you're finished with them” (25 Oct).

Reformation’s Yael Aflalo on finding a sustainable focus: “BoF meets Reformation Founder and CEO Yael Aflalo, who created her brand in 2009 around the idea of upcycling, after years of frustration battling with inefficiencies of the fashion wholesale system” (25 Oct).

Cara Delevingne: Eco-warrior on Instagram promotes fast fashion: “This week, Cara Delevingne announced a collaboration with retailer Nasty Gal, an online brand owned by …  Given her environmental advocacy, the fact that Cara Delevingne has launched a clothing collection with Nasty Gal may leave a nasty taste in your mouth” (25 Oct).

More brands monitoring Chinese chemical supplier operations: “More brands from the textile and IT industries have started to actively look into the operations of their Chinese chemical suppliers, according to the Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs (IPE)” (24 Oct).

Garment Worker Center organizes nationwide Ross protests: “The Garment Worker Center, a downtown Los Angeles organization that represents garment workers, is planning a protest Oct. 31 outside of Ross Stores Inc.’s Ross Buying Office at the California Market Center” (24 Oct).

Loro Piana celebrates cashmere in documentary film by Luc Jacquet: “Loro Piana has celebrated cashmere in a new documentary film, ‘Cashmere - The Origin of a Secret’, directed by Luc Jacquet. The film by the French director, an environmentalist and Academy Award winner for ‘March of the Penguins’, is the first chapter in a trilogy dedicated to the Italian luxury label’s expertise and its long-standing policy of caring for nature and the environment” (24 Oct).


‘Sustainable’ clothing product descriptions have soared 125% since 2017, Edited says: “Since 2017, retail products described using sustainable buzzwords such as “eco” and “recycled” have seen a “marked increase” online in the United States and United Kingdom, according to Edited, a retail-decision platform based in London, New York and San Francisco. Overall, new products described as “sustainable” in those markets have increased by 125 percent” (28 Oct).

Most fashion brands don’t know enough about their carbon footprints to actually shrink them: “Environmental scientist Linda Greer discusses two new reports on the subject and what it would take for fashion to truly go green” (25 Oct).

Drapers launches Sustainable Fashion Awards: “Drapers will host its inaugural Sustainable Fashion Awards at London’s Hilton Bankside on 21 May” (25 Oct).

Reinventing luxury: sustainability as a way forward: “Guest authors from Mazars USA LLP say brands need to address the most pressing environmental issues … Regulations are rising, especially in Europe, where most luxury brands are based. The financial community increasingly considers sustainability practices as an element of risk mitigation and values sound corporate responsibility strategies” (25 Oct).

Is your Greta Thunberg t-shirt contributing to climate change? “The teen climate activist is a powerful figure to rally behind — but it’s worth thinking twice before buying merch with her face on it” (24 Oct).

Italian police bust ‘Mafia plastic recycling ring’: “Italian authorities say they have smashed a Mafia-run plastic recycling ring that sent toxic material from the southern island of Sicily to China. The scam was uncovered during a four-year investigation, after shoes made in China with the contaminated plastic were found on sale in Italy” (24 Oct).

Responsible fashion falls on consumers and media, too: “Despite common notion, sustainability in fashion is not just the responsibility of a brand or mill. The obligation also falls on media representatives to educate readers, politicians to set regulations and consumers to shop ethically. So was the discussion at the Global Fashion Agenda Media Masterclass held in New York City Tuesday, where fashion leaders addressed the industry’s adoption of eco-friendly practices, common misconceptions and the need for better solutions—including one universal language that demystifies certain buzzwords” (24 Oct).

Vintage, faux and real: navigating fur in fashion in an age of sustainability: “How far should we adjust our anti-fur attitudes when considering the planet?” (24 Oct).

How sustainable are you if your inventory is out of control? “No amount of 2020 goals, science-based targets or fur bans can solve the apparel industry’s sustainability issue if it can’t get the inventory equation right. And as consumers clamor for more sustainable fashion, uniting the two pain points will prove critical in overhauling a supply chain playbook that hasn’t kept pace with the changing times” (24 Oct).

Blue Peace Index 2019: “By 2050, more than 50% of the world’s population will live in water scarce regions; without a solution many regions of the world are fast approaching a state of water poverty. Although rapidly rising sea levels are a very real consequence of climate change, freshwater resources – that account for just 2.5% of all the world’s water – are dwindling fast” (18 Oct).



Bangladeshi entrepreneur featured in Time: “Bangladeshi entrepreneur Mostafiz Uddin has been featured in the Time magazine, which has highlighted his achievements in developing Bangladesh’s ready-made garment (RMG) sector” (26 Oct).

Foreign RMG brand alliance Nirapon banned for 6 months: “The High Court has imposed a six-month ban on Nirapon, an alliance of 23 foreign RMG brands to oversee building inspection, remediation, and monitoring of listed apparel factories in the country … The High Court also issued a rule asking Nirapon to explain within two weeks why it should not be ordered to join the RMG Sustainability Council, a tripartite compliance and safety monitoring body of the apparel sector that will formally come into being on November 25” (23 Oct).

Bangladesh garment workers face menstruation taboos: “Nearly 70% of Bangladesh’s textile workers are women, but menstruation taboos mean they must skip work when they have their period. Activists say more must be done to raise awareness and provide hygienic aid” (23 Oct).


Workers, factory owner reach agreement over unpaid wages, benefits: “More than 3,000 workers from the Chinese-owned Jiun Ye Garment (Cambodia) Co Ltd factory in Kampong Chhnang province, who protested on Tuesday over unpaid wages and benefits, have agreed with their employer to a payment timeline” (24 Oct).

Improving identification of sexual harassment in factories: How CARE and Better Factories Cambodia worked in partnership: “CARE International and Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) are working together to improve how factories prevent and respond to sexual harassment. This collaboration illustrates the benefits of partnership between organisations who share similar goals” (15 Oct).


At least eight dead in Chile after looters torch garment factory as metro fare riots continue: “At least eight people have been killed in the Chile riots after protesters hit the streets of capital Santiago to demonstrate against metro fare hikes … Five more people were later found dead in the basement of a burned warehouse and were not employees, authorities said.” (21 Oct).


Workers who drank contaminated water discharged: “Twenty-five labourers who were hospitalised after drinking water at a textile factory in western Bengaluru were discharged on Tuesday” (25 Oct).


Yangon chief minister able to settle only one factory dispute: “Yangon Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein was only able to settle one of five garment factory labour disputes brought to his office for mediation, labour rights activists said on Thursday” (25 Oct).


Indorama Ventures joins the New Plastics Economy global commitment: “Indorama Ventures Public Company Limited (IVL), a global chemical producer, has announced its commitment as part of the New Plastics Economy to help create a world where plastic never becomes waste” (28 Oct).

Measuring sustainability: GENESIS:M&J Group sets new standards in garment manufacturing: “GENESIS facility carefully selects its partners from top innovative machine and chemical suppliers, to shape a sustainable yet highly controlled manufacturing process. All machinery and chemicals consumption are now closely connected with the company’s revolutionary multi-measurement system START TO MEASURE. This means that every customer can request a detail report on water, gas, steam, electricity and chemicals consumption” (25 Oct).

New ways of degrading dyes and purifying wastewater: “Textile dyeing has a significant negative effect on the environment. A study at the University of Borås has currently devloped a new method to degrade the dyes and remove contaminants from the wastewater” (23 Oct).


[New listings or updated information marked with *]  

* Adidas: Flagship Retail Sustainability Expert (Parley) (London)

Adidas: Internship - Social and Environmental Affairs (6 Month, Jan 2020) (Hong Kong)

Allbirds: Manager, Materials Innovation (Footwear) (San Francisco, CA)

AllSaints: Corporate Responsibility Manager (London)

Amaro: Sustainability & Social Impact Lead (São Paulo)

Amazon: Social Responsibility, Senior Program Manager (Shenzhen, China)

Ann Inc: Manager: CSR, Strategy and Communications (New York)

AVI: Packaging Graduate (Sustainability & Quality) (Sandton)

Big W: Sustainability Specialist (Sydney)

BRANDS: Manager Nachhaltigkeit (Ökologie) (Buchholz)

Brooks: Corporate Responsibility Analyst (Seattle, WA)

Burberry: Corporate Responsibility Manager (London)

Burberry: Corporate Social Responsibility Manager (SA8000 Auditor) (Tokyo)

Burton Snowboards: Sustainable Production Analyst (Burlington, VT)

C&A Foundation: Data Analyst (Gurgaon)

Canada Goose: Manager Fabrics Research, Development, Sustainability (Toronto)

Carhartt: Social Compliance Manager (Dearborn, MI)

Clean Clothes Campaign: European Coordinator (Louvain-la-Neuve)

Center for Child Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility (CCR CSR): Social Worker (Shenzhen)

Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute: Manager, Built Environment EMEA (Amsterdam)

Disney Parks: Strategic Sourcing Specialist, Disney Cruise Line (Celebration, FL)

* Epic Group: Senior Manager / DGM Sustainability (Dhaka)

* Epic Group: Sustainable Product Specialist (Dhaka)

Fashion for Good: Programme Associate for South Asia (Mumbai)

Fashion for Good: Innovation and Investment Analyst for South Asia (Mumbai)

Geox: CSR & Sustainability (Montebelluna)

Global Fashion Agenda: PR & Communications Intern (Copenhagen)

Global Fashion Agenda: Sustainability Intern (Copenhagen)

Global Fashion Agenda: Production Intern (Copenhagen)

Global Fashion Agenda: Global Partnership Intern (Copenhagen)

Global Fashion Agenda: Exhibitor Manager (Copenhagen)

Good On You: Sales Manager (Europe or Australia)

Groupe ETAM: Sustainability Manager (Hong Kong)

Higg Co: Director, Customer Success

Hugo Boss: Manager Corporate Sustainability (Stuttgart)

Hugo Boss: Manager Corporate Sustainability Reporting (Stuttgart)

JCPenney: Sustainable Sourcing Manager (Plano, TX)

KappAhl: Sustainability Manager (Gothenburg)

Kmart Australia: Human Rights Manager (Melbourne)

Levi Strauss: LEAN Project Manager Distribution (Unna)

Lojas Renner: Environmental Analyst - Textile Field (Shanghai)

Lululemon: Director, Chemicals & Materials Sustainability (Vancouver)

Macy’s: Vice President, Sustainability (New York)

* Mey: Corporate Responsibility Manager (Albstadt)

Nike: Director – Carbon and Energy (Beaverton, OR)

Nike: Sustainability Manufacturing and Sourcing Internship (Beaverton, OR)

Nike: Graduate Sustainability Innovation Internship (Beaverton, OR)

Patagonia: Environmental Responsibility Associate (Ventura, CA)

Pegas Nonwovens: Global Safety, Regulatory and Sustainability Specialist (Znojmo)

Pure Strategies: Sustainability Advisor (Boston, MA)

PVH: Corporate Responsibility Coordinator (Amsterdam)

PVH: Director, Supply Circularity (New York)

PVH: Corporate Responsibility Programs Specialist (New York)

PVH: Communications Manager Sustainability (Amsterdam)

Quiz Clothing: Ethical Compliance & Sustainability Manager (Glasgow)

Salomon: Sustainability Program Manager (Annecy)

SAC: Manager, Member Services – APAC (Hong Kong)

SAC: Senior Manager, Human Resources (San Francisco, CA, or remote)

SanMar: Factory Compliance Analyst (Seattle)

Softex: Sustainability Assistant Manager (Tangerang)

Solidarity Center: Senior Specialist for Organizing – Trade Union Strengthening Department (Phnom Penh)

Steve Madden: Social Compliance Manager (Long Island City, NY)

Stitch Fix: Packaging Program Manager (San Francisco, CA)

Tapestry: Director, Corporate Sustainability Strategy (New York)

Target: Regional Director Production Safety & Quality Assurance (Shanghai)

Tommy Hilfiger: Communications Manager Sustainability (Amsterdam)

UAL: Knowledge Exchange Project Coordinator, Centre for Sustainable Fashion (London)

* Vans: Senior Manager, Social Responsibility (Costa Mesa, CA)

Velcro Companies: EHS Manager (Manchester, NH)

VF: Sustainable Operations Assistant Manager (Shanghai)

WSR: Director of Outreach and Communications (New York)

CONFERENCES & SEMINARS                                        

[New listings or updated information marked with *]  

29 October, Shenzhen: Higg Index Manufacturer Forum: “The manufacturer forum targets apparel and textile manufacturers, brands/ retailers who would like to start capturing their Environmental and/or Social/labor performance using the Higg Facility Tools in 2020.”

29 October, Shanghai: Top Ten Best Practices – ZDHC: Training by Sustainable Textile Solutions (STS) – Those interested in attending should contact:

29 – 30 October: Washington DC: “Brands Taking Stands – What’s next?”: “bringing corporate leaders together on a fast-paced main stage, keenly focused on the ‘why’ and ‘how’ behind their thinking.”

30 October, Istanbul: Top Ten Best Practices – ZDHC: Training by Sustainable Textile Solutions (STS) – Those interested in attending should con tact:

31 October, Shanghai: Higg Index Manufacturer Forum: “The manufacturer forum targets apparel and textile manufacturers, brands/ retailers who would like to start capturing their Environmental and/or Social/labor performance using the Higg Facility Tools in 2020.”

01 November: Hong Kong: Crisis Management & Modern Slavery: “[The Mekong Club’s] intensive 3.5-hour workshop will equip you with the right tools to anticipate and prepare for a crisis, and teach you how to use crisis management principles effectively. A realistic modern slavery crisis scenario will be used so participants can practice these principles.”

04 – 05 November: Stockholm: Transforming Products for the Circular Economy: “This two-day forum will feature leading innovators, product designers, manufacturers and brands using Cradle to Cradle Certified to design and make safe, healthy materials and products for the circular economy.”

05 November: Dhaka, Bangladesh: Sustainable Apparel Forum: 2nd edition of a forum facilitated by the Bangladesh Apparel Exchange.

05 November, Webinar: Looking Beyond the Regulation, Potential Safety Hazards: Open industry. All apparel and footwear industry professionals, regardless of AAFA membership, are encouraged to participate.

07 November, Chennai: 1 Day Chemical Compliance & Product Safety in the Supply Chain: “Manufacturers and suppliers who attend this one-day course can understand the importance of RSL and MRSL obligations for their business, key restricted substances and topical global legislation, as well as best practice guidance for implementation of MRSL compliance to satisfy the leather, footwear and apparel industries.”

12 – 14 November, San Jose, California: BSR Conference: “The 27th annual BSR Conference, one of the longest-running and most prestigious sustainable business events. This year, we will explore the transformations that are creating a new climate for business and help to pave the way for companies, people, and planet to thrive in this era of rapid change.”

13 November, New York: Leather, Compliance & Sustainability New York Conference (organised by Eurofins | BLC and held at Tapestry HQ): “Calling all brands and retailers: How to ensure your brand is compliant with chemistry legislation and can take advantage of the opportunity of adding value through sustainability.”

13 November, Webinar (free): Sourcing Sustainable Cotton: The myths, the reality, and how to make the transition (by Common Objective with industry expert): “Cotton is the most used natural fibre - making up around 21% of of all fibre used in apparel production. In this masterclass, we'll be discussing the ins and outs of sourcing sustainable cotton.”

14 November, Brussels: Ready, Set, Substitute it Now!ChemSec invites you to a full-day event, which will include messages from policy makers, inspiration from progressive companies and hard facts from scientists, as well as panel discussions and workshops on how to best substitute hazardous chemicals.”

15 November, Yangon: Employers Briefing on Labour Laws: “[Free] briefing for employers on 2019 updates to labour laws, 2019 OSH law.” By Luther Law in cooperation with SMART Myanmar (in Burmese and English). Anyone interested in attending should contact:

16 November, Yangon: Conducting Internal Waste Audits in the Factory: “[Free] half-day workshop for factories on waste management, conducting internal company waste audits and how to implement recycling programs.” By Thant Myanmar in cooperation with SMART Myanmar (in Burmese and English). Anyone interested in attending should contact:

20 November, Delhi: Higg FEM 3.0 training: Training by Sustainable Textile Solutions (STS) – Those interested in attending should contact:

20 November, Hong Kong: Half Day Sustainability in the Leather Supply Chain Training Course: This half-day leather sustainability course covers key aspects of traceability and material sourcing, chemical management risks, environmental impacts and stewardship, NGO activity and the leather life cycle.”

22 November, Coimbatore: Higg FEM 3.0 training: Training by Sustainable Textile Solutions (STS) – Those interested in attending should contact:

26 November, Dhaka: Higg FEM 3.0 training: Training by Sustainable Textile Solutions (STS) – Those interested in attending should contact:

26 – 27 November, Yangon: Managing Across Cultures: “Workshop on cross-cultural management, conducted jointly with the ETI.” In cooperation with SMART Myanmar (in Mandarin Chinese only). Anyone interested in attending should contact:

03 December, Northampton, UK: Leather Training Course: “The improved understanding you will gain from this leather course will help you to avoid problems when sourcing and specifying leather products as well as providing confidence when dealing with suppliers, manufacturers, and tanners.”

11 December, Webinar (free): Sourcing Sustainable Packaging: What options exist that are planet-friendly and meet quality requirements? (by Common Objective with industry expert): “In this masterclass, we'll be exploring what sustainable solutions exist, and where you can find them.”

11 – 12 December, Istanbul: Chemical Management - ZDHC: Training by Sustainable Textile Solutions (STS) – Those interested in attending should contact:

11 – 12 February, Cologne: 1st International Conference on Cellulose Fibres: “New International Conference on Cellulose Fibres, the fastest growing fibre group in textiles, the largest investment sector in the bio-based economy and the solution for avoiding microplastics.”

11 March, London: Drapers Sustainable Fashion 2020: “[With a] focus on collaborating for change within the fashion retail industry.”

(Photo by Ashim D’Silva, CCO)

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.