Brands in this issue include: Arc'teryx (launches recommerce platform), Banana Republic (announced waterless dyed denim), Boohoo (launch first recycled fashion collection), Boohoo and Amazon (under fire over living wages), C&A (reduces carbon and water footprints significantly), Missguided (faces backlash on £1 bikini), Net-A-Porter (unveils sustainability platform), Nordstrom (commits to women’s empowerment), Pentland Brands (launches ethical trade app to combat modern slavery), and more.
Recently released reports:
Fixing fashion: clothing consumption and sustainability: Government Response to the Committee’s Sixteenth Report, by House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee
Annual Report 2018, by C&A Foundation
In general news:
Text of the Convention concerning the elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work is online, and will be voted on (approved) today (21 Jun)
New research says actually, consumers do buy sustainable goods (from NYU’s Stern Centre for Sustainable Business)
Call for fashion disruptors in South Asia at launch of innovation program
Working Capital says why it invests in transparency and risk assessment schemes for supply chains
Audits are failing, and brands should deal with waste and pay a living wage
UK Government responds to the February Fixing Fashion report (reactions aplenty to its rejection of all recommendations)
The supply chain
Bangladesh: manufacturers seeking higher export subsidies to offset low prices
Cambodia: a human-interest story about one of the women garment workers who lost her arm in a truck accident back in April
Greece: garment sweat shops in Athens hidden in plain sight
Manufacturers in this issue include: Archroma, CHT, Colourtex, DyStar, Huntsman, KISCO, Pulcra, Rudolf, and Tanatex (join ZDHC), Crystal (starts fabric waste upcycling in Sri Lanka), GRETE (new technologies for man-made cellulose), YKK (recycled plastic to zippers), and more.
Sustainable fashion jobs: 5 new jobs listed (at Disney, Global Brands Group (Li & Fung), Hugo Boss, and s.Oliver).
Quotes of the week:
“Did you know everything right down to the speed of the sewing machines stitching the seams had to be considered for C&A to produce Cradle to Cradle Gold level certified jeans?” Fashion for Good (20 Jun).
“In what must be one of the most tone-deaf fashion fiasco’s this year, online retail giant Missguided debuted a bikini costing an unfathomable one pound on its website as part of the company celebrating 10 years of empowering women.” Don-Alvin Adegeest (19 Jun).
By Stephen Frost, CUHK Business School, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.
BRANDS & RETAILERS
C&A reduces carbon and water footprints significantly: “C&A details 2018 progress in Global Sustainability Report: Sourcing more sustainable cotton and viscose avoided 116,000 tons of CO2 emissions (mtCO2e) in 2018. More sustainable agriculture and apparel  production in supply chain saved 1 billion m3 of water in 2018. Almost 4 million pieces of revolutionary Cradle to Cradle CertifiedTM apparel , including world’s most sustainable jeans, brought to market in Europe, Brazil and Mexico” (19 Jun).
Missguided faces backlash against 1 pound [£] bikini: “While it is likely the women who work in the factories sewing reduces carbon and water footprints significantly items are feeling far from empowered earning less than one pound per day, Missguided’s promotion of a garment so ludicrously cheap counters everything about sustainability in the fashion industry from an environmental and social perspective” (19 Jun).
Banana Republic announces waterless dyed denim for 2020: “Banana Republic has partnered with Spanish denim mill Tejidos Royo to bring to market a line of denim through an innovative indigo foam-dyeing technique that allows the Gap Inc.-owned brand to use a drastically decreased amount of water” (19 Jun).
Net-A-Porter unveils sustainability platform: “Net-A-Porter is bringing together a selection of sustainable fashion brands under a new platform called Net Sustain. Launching with 26 brands and 500 products, the edit includes exclusive capsules from Stella McCartney, Mother of Pearl x BBC Earth and Maggie Marilyn” (18 Jun).
Arc'teryx launches recommerce platform in sustainability drive: “The program will allow Arc'teryx to buy back used gear in good condition, to then clean and repair, and resell the items at a lower cost. The repurposing hub was designed to keep products in service as long as possible, while allowing customers to access technical gear for less and minimizing the brand's environmental footprint. (18 Jun).
Nordstrom commits to women’s empowerment: “Nordstrom takes great pride in the products we create, and we value the women and men in our global supply chain who make it possible, which is why we partner with factories to create healthy and fair workplaces. We're pleased to announce a new goal in which by 2023, 70% of all our Nordstrom Made products will be produced in factories that support women's empowerment. We have more than 40 brands in our Nordstrom Made portfolio that reflect our commitment to style, value and quality … In 2007, we started working with Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) HERproject to provide trainings, resources and services for women” (18 Jun).
Boohoo launch their first recycled fashion collection: “Boohoo launch their first dedicated recycled fashion range made using recycled polyester, the fabric is created from plastic that has been directed away from landfill and repurposed to produce new yarn” (17 Jun).
Pentland Brands launches ethical trade app to combat modern slavery: “Pentland Brands has launched a new ethical trade app to help people throughout its supply chain spot potential ethical trade issues. The app, entitled ‘Everyone’s Business’, has been designed to engage and educate all employees in responsible labour sourcing. The app is a simple smart phone tool designed to help all factory-facing employees maintain labour standards and human rights across the supply chain” (17 Jun).
Tell Boohoo and Amazon to pay a living wage: “Boohoo and Amazon are some of the biggest players in online fashion, but in our recent survey – Tailored Wages UK 2019 – both brands failed to show they had any policy for ensuring workers who make the clothes they sell are paid enough to live with dignity and support a family” (15 Jun). [Ed’s note: online petition by Labour Behind the Label.]
NEWS & REPORTS
Text of the Convention concerning the elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work: The General Conference of the ILO will vote on the text today – 21 Jun (20 Jun).
Research: Actually, consumers do buy sustainable products: “For years, brand managers have groused that while consumers say they intend to buy sustainable products, in store they don’t actually purchase them. This conventional wisdom has been used by many brands as justification for not making their products more sustainable. NYU Stern’s Center for Sustainable Business just completed extensive research into U.S. consumers’ actual purchasing of consumer packaged goods (CPG), using data contributed by IRI, and found that 50% of CPG growth from 2013 to 2018 came from sustainability-marketed products. IRI’s data comes from bar scan codes at retail checkout in food, drug, dollar, and mass merchandisers. We examined over 36 categories and more than 71,000 SKUs, which accounted for 40% of CPG dollar sales over the five-year period” (19 Jun).
Are you a fashion disruptor in Asia? “Fashion For Good (FFG) is launching a South Asia Innovation Programme to help sustainable fashion startups in the region reach their full potential” (19 Jun).
The need to invest in transparency schemes and risk assessment tools: “We invest in tools that can be used by companies, suppliers, governments, NGOs, trade unions and advocates to improve conditions for workers and increase respect for labor rights in global supply chains. What function do transparency and risk assessment tools play in this work? How can they be compared to one another? And, most importantly, how can the use of transparency and risk assessment tools improve the lives of workers? Here’s how we’re currently thinking about these tools” (18 Jun). [Ed’s note: by Working Capital.]
Audits are failing – brands should cut out waste so suppliers can pay their workers a living wage: “I was wrapping up a session on supply chain management with a group of business leaders from various Asian countries. It was an inspirational group: intelligent, ambitious, with a palpable drive to make a change. They had participated with great interest, and cared deeply about the topics discussed. At the end, a young business leader – let’s call her Banhi – asked: How can we be expected to follow all these requirements and pay for multiple audits per year, if our clients are not willing to pay us a proper price?” (18 Jun).
UK Government responds to parliamentary report on fixing fashion: The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, which published the report Fixing fashion: clothing consumption and sustainability in February this year, released the Government’s response this week. See below for reactions (17 Jun).
Fast fashion: Should we change how we think about clothes? “The Environmental Audit Committee demanded the government clean up the industry, making 18 recommendations covering environmental and labour practices. The government says it is dealing with the problem” (19 Jun).
What the UK Government are actually doing to make fashion sustainable: “This piece focuses on how the Government has responded to the final report, put forward in February 2019” (18 Jun).
Mary Creagh reacts to the Government response: (19 June – 1:19-minute video).
MPs call for end to ‘throwaway clothes’ era: “A report by MPs has urged the UK government to end the era of throwaway clothes and poor working conditions in the fashion supply chain. The MPs' proposals are designed to force the fashion industry to clean up its act. They made 18 recommendations covering environmental and labour practices and want the government to act” (18 Jun).
Ministers reject plans for 1p per garment levy to tackle fast fashion: “Government backs only voluntary measures for clothing industry despite rising environmental costs” (18 Jun).
Fast fashion fail: Government rejects proposals that would force retailers to clean up their act: “Environmentalists have said they are “shocked” that the Government has rejected a set of recommendations intended to put a stop to the culture of fast fashion in the UK” (18 Jun).
Britain rebuffs call for 'fast fashion' levy to tackle labour abuse, waste: “Britain's government rejected calls on Tuesday from parliamentarians to introduce a new levy on clothing sales to help tackle labour abuses and environmental damage in the country's fashion industry” (17 Jun).
THE SUPPLY CHAIN
Bangladesh garment manufacturers seek higher export subsidies: “Garment manufacturers in Bangladesh on Sunday demanded higher export subsidies from the government, saying proposals in the latest national budget, unveiled last week, were not enough to compensate for higher production costs and low prices” (17 Jun).
Horrific accident puts Cambodia’s poor travel conditions for garment workers in spotlight: “Srey Sar was one of about 40 garment workers on their way to their factories in an open-back truck on April 4 when it collided with a cement mixer truck that their driver was trying to overtake. Eighteen of the women were injured and five, who were holding on to the top of a metal frame, each lost an arm” (18 Jun).
The sweatshops next door: ““From fifth place in Europe on the global slavery index, Greece shot up to second in 2018 as a result of the thousands of refugees who found themselves trapped in Greece and have become victims of exploitation because they have such limited options,” says Dr Fiori Zafeiropoulou, an expert in social entrepreneurship and coordinator for Fashion Revolution’s Greek branch. Businesses working in the so-called “cut-make-trim” (CMT) stage represent a part of the garment industry where labor exploitation is rife, and such sweatshops, where workers, many of them minors, are forced to spend almost the entire day stooped over a sewing machine for just 2 or 3 euros, have become a booming business in the Greek capital” (15 Jun).
ZDHC Foundation is welcoming a group of the world’s leading chemical suppliers (*GCIRT): “The Global Chemical Industry Round Table (*GCIRT), made of the leading chemical solution providers to the textile and leather industry, joins the ZDHC Programme with the aim of supporting a faster industry transformation, taking complexity out of the supply chain and helping their customers to find appropriate, sustainable solutions” (19 Jun). [Ed’s note: GCIRT members include Archroma, CHT, Colourtex, DyStar, Huntsman, KISCO, Pulcra, Rudolf, and Tanatex.]
DyStar joins ZDHC Foundation: (19 Jun).
The factory in India making shoes out of plastic bottles: Short video from the BBC about Polygenta Technologies in India, which turns 2 million bottles each day into fabric (18 Jun – 1:28-minute video).
New sustainable technologies for wood-to-textile value chain enables increased production of man-made cellulose fibers in Europe: “GRETE, the Green chemicals and technologies for the wood-to-textile value chain project, has been granted EUR 2.6 million by the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU), which is partnership between the EU and the Bio-based Industries Consortium. The project will improve the existing wood-to-textile value chains by developing breakthrough technologies that can open up the identified bottlenecks and enable increased production of man-made cellulose fibres in Europe” (18 Jun).
YKK tackles plastic waste with zippers made from recycled bottles: “NATULON zippers are resource-conserving, recycling-oriented products made from PET bottles, old fiber and other polyester remnants. 10,000 NATULON zippers of 60 cm length recycle approximately 3,600 plastic bottles (29 g/bottle). The materially recycled zippers are Bluesign certified” (17 Jun).
Crystal starts fabric waste upcycling project in Sri Lanka: “Crystal, a leader in the apparel manufacturing industry, has started a fabric waste upcycling pilot project at its Sri Lankan factories in 2018. The fabric waste from garment production processes is sorted and converted to high quality raw fibre for yarn manufacturing. This raw material again contributes to the circular economy for the fashion industry” (14 Jun).
SUSTAINABLE FASHION JOBS
[New listings or updated information marked with *]
Adidas: Senior Manager SEA, Environment - South Asia (Jakarta/Bangkok)
Adidas: Director SEA, Field Operation - North Asia (Guangzhou)
Adidas: Manager Sustainability Materials FW (Ho Chi Minh City)
Aldi: Corporate Responsibility in Supply Chain (Salzburg)
Amazon: Social Responsibility, Senior Program Manager (Shenzhen, China)
Amazon: Japan Environmental Manager (Tokyo)
ASOS: Ethical Trade Assistant (Hong Kong)
Avery Dennison: Sustainability Project Engineer (Boston, MA)
BSR: HERproject Associate (Hong Kong)
BSR: Manager, Supply Chain Sustainability (New York)
C&A Foundation: Data Analyst (Gurgaon)
Canada Goose: Manager- Fabrics Research, Development, and Sustainability (Toronto)
Canada Goose: Sr. Materials Developer, Fabric Research, Development & Sustainability (Toronto)
Canada Goose: Corporate Citizenship Department Coordinator (Toronto)
Canada Goose: Sustainability Programs Specialist (Toronto)
Canada Goose: Manager, Sustainability and Social Compliance Programs (Toronto)
Center for Child Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility (CCR CSR): Social Worker (Shenzhen)
Centric Brands: Global Sourcing & Compliance Analyst (New York)
Chanel: Sustainability Project Coordinator – Internship (London)
Cotton made in Africa: Junior Project Manager for Verification Management (Hamburg)
Decathlon China: Supplier Quality Engineer (Shenzhen)
* Disney: Manager, Audit Analysis, ILS (Glendale, CA)
Fair Labor Association: Social Compliance Program Manager (Washington, DC)
Gap: Operations Administrator, Supplier Sustainability (Hong Kong)
* Global Brands Group: Social & Environmental Affairs Officer (London)
* Global Brands Group: Social & Environmental Affairs Assistant (London)
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS): GOTS Public Procurement Specialist (EU) (Stuttgart)
Good Business Lab: Marketing and Partnerships Associate (Bengaluru/Delhi)
Good Business Lab: Data Associate (Bengaluru/Delhi)
Good Business Lab: Data Intern (Bengaluru/Delhi)
Good Business Lab: Research Associate (Bengaluru/Delhi)
GoodWeave: Director of Communications (Washington DC)
GoodWeave: Senior Program Officer (Washington DC)
Guess Europe: CSR Coordinator (Bioggio)
Gymshark: Sustainability Manager (Solihull)
H&M: Sustainability Developer (Yangon)
H&M: Sustainability Expert Industrial Relations and Wage (Yangon)
* Hugo Boss: Sustainability & Innovation Manager (Metzingen)
IDH: Senior Program Manager Cotton (Utrech or Gurgaon)
Impactt: Marketing Manager (London)
Impactt: Principal Consultant (London)
Impactt: Project Officer (London)
Kenneth Cole: Senior Corporate Social Responsibility Manager (New York)
Kering: Ready to Wear Materials Research & Sustainability Specialist (Novara)
Kmart Australia: Community Relations Advisor (Melbourne)
Marc Fisher Footwear: Compliance Coordinator (Greenwich, CT)
Nakd: Corporate Social Responsibility Internship (Gothenburg)
New Era Cap: Senior Manager, Global Social Compliance (Buffalo, NY)
New Look: CSR Administration Assistant (London)
Nike: Community Impact Director Latam (Mexico City)
Nike: Director of Supplier Relationship Management – Supply Chain (Beaverton, OR)
Patagonia: Head of Supply Chain Environmental Responsibility (Ventura, CA)
Pentland Brands: Corporate Responsibility Business Partner (Nottingham)
PVH: Director, Corporate Social Responsibility – Calvin Klein (New York)
Ralph Lauren: Associate, Global Employee Communications & Philanthropy (New York)
REI: Director, Communications and Public Affairs (Kent WA)
REI: Senior Administrative Assistant, Brand Stewardship & Impact (Kent, WA)
* s.Oliver: Senior Global Sustainability Manager Environment & Chemical Compliance (Rottendorf)
Samil Vina International: Compliance, CSR (Tây Ninh)
Selfridges: Senior Sustainability Manager (London)
Superdry: Ethical Sourcing Assistant (Hong Kong)
Sustainable Apparel coalition: Operations Coordinator, Europe (Amsterdam)
Sustainable Apparel Coalition: Senior Manager, Public Affairs (Amsterdam)
Sustainable Apparel Coalition: Executive Director (San Francisco)
Sustainable Apparel Coalition: Senior Manager, Higg Brand & Retail Tool (San Francisco, New York, Amsterdam, or Hong Kong)
Sustainable Apparel Coalition: Senior Manager of Higg Facility Tools (San Francisco, New York, Amsterdam, or Hong Kong)
Sustainable Apparel Coalition: Senior Manager of Verification (San Francisco, New York, Amsterdam, or Hong Kong)
Uniqlo (Thailand): Sustainability Officer (Bangkok)
University of Leeds: Research Fellow in Sustainable Materials and Renewable Fibres (Leeds)
VF: Sustainable Operations Manager, North East Asia (Shanghai).
VF: Manager, Worker Rights (Hong Kong)
VF: Specialist, Supply Chain Sustainability (Shanghai)
Wearable Collections: Drivers, Route Helpers and Market Coordinators (New York)
WSR: Director of Outreach and Communications (New York)
CONFERENCES & SEMINARS
[New listings or updated information marked with *]
22 June, Barcelona: Planet Textiles 2019: “The 10th edition of Planet Textiles will be a seminal event on sustainability in the textile manufacturing sector and will see an unrivalled gathering of experts from the entire fashion value chain.”
24 June, Webinar: 2025 Sustainable Cotton Challenge: Review and Brand Perspective: “review the findings from the first (2018) 2025 Sustainable Cotton Challenge report and learn from the successful partnerships between Cotton Connect and Lindex.”
25 June, Bangalore: Supply Chain Transparency: A workshop on Blockchain for Circular Fashion: “Join us in discovering how this can be leveraged, in a workshop that will include representation from brands, manufacturers, entrepreneurs and other key textile stakeholders…”
27 June, Webinar: Discover how to drive success with transparency: “Work in fashion and want to learn how to set a strategy for your transparency journey?”
09 July, Webinar: Biosynthetics E-Learning Series Part 2: “Biosynthetics can play an important role in replacing fossil-based resources with renewable feedstock. At the same time, there are various sustainability challenges also associated with the use of renewable feedstock.”
* 22 – 23 July: New York: 2019 Sourcing & Sustainability Summit: “This is the only sourcing summit focused 100% on footwear.”
08 September, Dhaka, Bangladesh: GOTS Bangladesh Seminar 2019: “The theme of this year´s seminar is ‘Connecting for Success’. In 2018, Bangladesh reached second position (after India) in terms of GOTS certified facilities in the country. This growth trend showcases the commitment of the Bangladeshi textile industry to not only use organic fibres, but also to environmental and social compliances. Fire and Building Safety are included in GOTS criteria and the country has made significant progress in all these areas.” Speaking opportunities available: contacts at link.
09 – 10 October, San Diego: The Responsible Business Summit West 2019: “The Responsible Business Summit West focuses on what business needs to do to show leadership on key social and environmental challenges and opportunities.”
15 – 18 October: Vancouver: Textile Exchange Sustainability Conference: Driving impact through integrity and preferred fiber & materials.
23 – 24 October: Amsterdam: European Textile Polyester Summit 2019: “an insight into the European polyester market and its drivers and developments, as well as focus on feedstock availability and sustainability challenges.”
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”
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.
12 – 14 November, San Jose, California: BSR Conference: Note: this link is only to sign up for updates; registration will begin in May.
11 March, London: Drapers Sustainable Fashion 2020: “[With a] focus on collaborating for change within the fashion retail industry.”
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.