THIS ISSUE

Brands in this issue include: Asos (introduces “responsible edit” to its site), Boohoo and Missguided (booming but with hidden price), C&A, H&M, Levi’s and Eileen Fisher (betting on sustainable fashion to drive sales), From Belo (wins ‘handbag Oscars’ for seatbelt bag), H&M (trials new carbon-neutral transport), Le Château (removes cashmere from shelves), LVMH, Kering and Ralph Lauren (setting ambitious sustainability goals), REI (starts in-house magazine to support environmental activism), Stargate Apparel Group (prosecuted for US customs fraud), Tchibo and Otto (testing reusable shipping packages), The North Face (recycling National Parks waste into clothing), Walmart (pay $282 million to settle seven-year global corruption probe), and more.

In general news:

  • Five ways that fashion threatens the planet

  • Unilever boss says “woke-washing” destroys trust

  • Why women workers in global garment supply chains are saying #MeToo

  • New international labour standard to combat violence, harassment, at work agreed

The supply chain

  • India: the Confederation of Indian Industry says states should have power to determine minimum wages

  • Malaysia: US NGO takes quiet approach to improving lives in apparel factories

  • US: First person account from migrant worker in LA sweatshops

Manufacturers in this issue include: Candiani (Grabs ITMA Sustainable Innovation Award), Jeanologia (develops the sourcing model of the future), YKK (launches zippers made from plant-based plastics), and more.

Sustainable fashion jobs: 11 new jobs listed (at Adidas, Hugo Boss, ÏDKIDS, Miles, Nanushka, Nike, PVH, and Suitsupply).

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

BRANDS & RETAILERS

Retailers are betting on sustainable fashion to drive sales: “With stores in 18 countries, C&A is one of a growing number of apparel companies including H&M, Levi’s and Eileen Fisher that seek to provide shoppers with “fashion with a positive impact.” Consumers, according to C&A, should be able to “look and feel good every day, while supporting a good quality of life for those who make our clothes and a healthy planet””(24 Jun).

Le Château ditches cashmere after PETA Asia investigation: “Le Château (which has more than 150 retail locations across Canada as well as an e-commerce platform serving Canada and the U.S.) has just removed all its remaining cashmere stock” (24 Jun).

The story of a £4 Boohoo dress: cheap clothes at a high cost: “Online retailers such as Boohoo and Missguided are booming, but critics say there is a hidden price” (22 Jun).

Asos introduces “responsible edit” vertical to its site: “Asos is making it easier for shoppers to discover sustainable fashion. The digital retailer has launched the “responsible edit,” which brings together ethical brands and products to one place on the Asos site” (21 Jun).

Top fashion labels like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Ralph Lauren have all set ambitious sustainability goals, and the president of France is involved: “Over the past couple months, luxury powerhouses LVMH (Louis Vuitton, Dior, Givenchy, Fendi), Kering (Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen), and the Ralph Lauren Corporation — all multibillion-dollar conglomerates — announced significant sustainability initiatives. French president Emmanuel Macron has even gotten involved. And if they achieve the goals they've set, they're in a position to actually make an impact” (21 Jun).

North Face, NatGeo recycle National Parks waste into clothing: “The North Face has partnered with National Geographic on limited-edition clothing items for its Bottle Source collection, which uses recycled materials reclaimed from the waste stream of U.S. national parks” (21 Jun).

‘Handbag Oscars’: Bag made from seatbelts wins for Suffolk designers: “Two friends have won an award for making bags from old seatbelts - using the proceeds to feed homeless people. The Leka tote [by From Belo] was created by Charlotte Bingham-Wallis, 29, and Maria Costa, 29, who first met while at Sudbury Upper School, Suffolk. It has won the Best Green Bag of 2019 category at the Independent Handbag Designer Awards in New York. The tote was created from 10 metres of refurbished seatbelts, eight plastic bottles and scraps of old fabric” (21 Jun).

Walmart to pay $282 million to settle seven-year global corruption probe: “Walmart Inc said on Thursday it will pay $282 million (£222 million) to settle a seven-year-long investigation into whether its overseas units in Mexico, Brazil, China and India violated the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act” (20 Jun).

REI launches in-house magazine ‘Uncommon Path’: “REI Co-op is entering its latest effort to support environmental activism with the launch of its own print magazine, dedicated to environmental and outdoor journalism” (20 Jun).

H&M trials Maersk’s new carbon-neutral transport: “A new carbon neutral product – the first of its kind in the industry - is being piloted with select Maersk customers who are highly engaged in sustainable solutions for their supply chain. H&M Group is the first company to trial it as part of the shift towards carbon-neutral transportation” (20 Jun).

Tchibo and Otto are testing reusable shipping packages: “Tchibo and Otto are part of the PraxPack pilot project and are testing the sustainable shipping system. PraxPack wants to introduce reusable shipping packages by the beginning of 2020. The aim is to save resources and reduce waste and CO2 emissions” (19 Jun).

Clothing company CEO prosecuted for customs fraud by understating value of children’s apparel made in China: “Joseph Bailey, CEO of a children’s apparel company called Stargate [Apparel Group] and Rivstar Apparel Inc. has been charged with participating in a scheme to defraud U.S. Customs by understating the true value of children’s apparel made in China and resulting in a loss to the United States of over $1 million in tariff revenue. (17 Jun).

NEWS & REPORTS   

The five: ways that fashion threatens the planet: “A growing body of research exposes the environmental hazards posed by the clothing industry” (23 Jun). [Ed’s note: includes issues such as polyester, water and emissions.]

Unilever boss says “woke-washing” destroys trust, says all its brands must have purpose: “[T]his week [Unilever’s] CEO Alan Jope  spoke out about “woke-washing” saying that using language and imagery linked to worthy causes to increase sales could backfire” (21 Jun).

Why women workers in global garment supply chains are saying #MeToo: “Bobbie Sta Maria of the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, and JJ Rosenbaum of Global Labor Justice say the drafting of a convention to end gender-based violence against women workers at the ILO’s meeting in Geneva this week is long over-due” (21 Jun).

New international labour standard to combat violence, harassment, at work agreed: “A new Convention and accompanying Recommendation to combat violence and harassment in the world of work have been adopted by the International Labour Conference (ILC). The Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019, and Violence and Harassment Recommendation, 2019 , were adopted by delegates on the final day of the Centenary International Labour Conference, in Geneva. For the Convention, 439 votes were cast in favour, seven against, with 30 abstentions. The Recommendation was passed with 397 votes in favour, 12 votes against and 44 abstentions” (21 Jun).

THE SUPPLY CHAIN

India

States should have the power to determine minimum wages: CII: “[The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)] has also batted for the wage threshold under the Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana (PMRPY), to be increased to Rs 25,000 from Rs 15,000. Under this scheme, the Government of India will provide the full contribution to EPF and EPS for employees earning less than Rs 15, 000, for three years” (23 Jun).

Malaysia

Quiet approach allows US NGO to improve lives of workers in Malaysian factories: “A New York-based non-profit organisation [Transparentem] that investigates labour and environmental abuses has helped Malaysian factories improve their treatment of migrant workers. These factories are involved in making items ranging from clothes to shoes for famous western companies like Target, Nike and Fruit of the Loom” (22 Jun).

US

Sweatshops don’t just exist overseas — they’re here in the US too: “The more things change, the more they stay the same. To a surprising extent, the super exploitation of early 20th-century garment workers lives on, not just in Dhaka and Guangzhou, but also in the U.S., garment sweatshops continue to spring up in immigrant-dense, urban peripheries, perhaps nowhere as much as in L.A. County, the setting of this “Working-Class Voices” essay. Just as in the past, these mostly immigrant, female workers labor under the grind of the “piece rate” system rather than receiving hourly wages; they make clothes for big name brands but work for largely unregulated subcontractors; and often toil behind locked exits, under dire conditions. The decline in private-sector union density, entrenched obstacles to new organizing, and the underfunding of agencies charged with monitoring labor law compliance go a long way to explain this harrowing back-to-the-future scenario” (20 Jun).

MANUFACTURERS   

Blue pigment from engineered fungi could help turn the textile industry green: “A new platform for producing blue pigment could provide a sustainable alternative to conventional synthetic dyes and open the door for next-generation bioproduction” (21 Jun).

YKK launches zippers made from plant-based plastics: “The range also includes GreenRise zippers that are developed using the polyester derived from plant-based plastics, made from molasses, the by-product generated in the sugar production process” (21 Jun).

Jeanologia develops the sourcing model of the future: “This operational model delivers five fundamental benefits to the textile industry: it is eco-efficient, cost neutral, scalable, agile and digital; connecting design, production and consumer. Combining the company’s hardware and software, it connects all its technology to achieve a production that is 100% ecological without compromising product authenticity and adapting to the new market needs. As Enrique Silla, CEO at Jeanologia, highlights “for the first time in history we have the necessary technology that allows us to make short and fast series making it possible to produce what sells instead of selling what is produced”” (21 Jun).

Candiani’s Re-Gen Denim Grabs ITMA Sustainable Innovation Award: “The company received the acknowledgement for its innovative product, Candiani Re-Gen, a “circular denim” fabric created from regenerated and recycled raw materials. Fifty percent of the Re-Gen fabric comprises Tencel x Refibra Lyocell, made of pulp from cotton scraps and wood pulp using Lenzing’s efficient closed-loop process. The other 50 percent consists of post-industrial recycled Candiani fibers” (21 Jun).

Denim production in Vietnam needs green growth: experts: “Denim production has high growth potential in Vietnam and is attracting more investors, but eco-friendly production in the textile and garment industry is essential to protect the environment, experts noted at a conference in Ho Chi Minh City recently. Denim products account for around 10-20 per cent of Vietnam’s textile and garment product exports now” (20 Jun).

Upcycling process brings new life to old jeans: “The researchers ground three textile samples (blue denim fabric, red denim pants and a mixed-color T-shirt) into powders. Then, they dissolved the powders in a 1:4 mixture of the ionic liquid 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate and dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO). Using a high concentration of DMSO as a co-solvent allowed the researchers to use much less ionic liquid than other methods. In addition, DMSO reduced the viscosity of the ionic liquid solution, making it easier to spin the cellulose into new fibers” (19 Jun).

SUSTAINABLE FASHION JOBS

[New listings or updated information marked with *]

* [Agency]: Social & Environmental Affairs Officers [London]

* Adidas: Manager Sea Program Operations (Portland, OR)

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)

Gymshark: Sustainability Manager (Solihull)

H&M: Sustainability Developer (Yangon)

H&M: Sustainability Expert Industrial Relations and Wage (Yangon)

* Hugo Boss: Internship, Sustainability Communication and Event Organization (Metzingen)

Hugo Boss: Sustainability & Innovation Manager (Metzingen)

Hugo Boss: Internship, Sustainable Supplier Management & Social Compliance (Metzingen)

IDH: Senior Program Manager Cotton (Utrech or Gurgaon)

* ÏDKIDS: CSR Internship (Supplier Social Audits) (Pas-en-Artois

Impactt: Marketing Manager (London)

Impactt: Principal Consultant (London)

Impactt: Project Officer (London)

Kering: Ready to Wear Materials Research & Sustainability Specialist (Novara)

Kmart Australia: Community Relations Advisor (Melbourne)

Marc Fisher Footwear: Compliance Coordinator (Greenwich, CT)

* Miles: Area Vendor Compliance/Sustainability (Norderstedt)

Nakd: Corporate Social Responsibility Internship (Gothenburg)

* Nanushka: Sustainability Manager (Budapest)

New Era Cap: Senior Manager, Global Social Compliance (Buffalo, NY)

New Look: CSR Administration Assistant (London)

* Nike: Director of Supplier Management - Technology and Services (Portland, OR)

* Nike: Lead Global Supplier Relationship Manager (Portland, OR)

* Nike: Global Supplier Relationship Manager (Portland, OR)

Nike: Community Impact Director Latam (Mexico City)

Patagonia: Head of Supply Chain Environmental Responsibility (Ventura, CA)

Pentland Brands: Corporate Responsibility Business Partner (Nottingham)

* PVH: Manager, Environmental Sustainability & Product Stewardship (New York)

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)

* Suitsupply: Internship (Amsterdam)

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 *]

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?”

02 – 04 July, Frankfurt: Neonyt: “the global hub for fashion, sustainability and innovation.”

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.”

* 11 July, Webinar: Alternatives Assessment’s Past, Present, & Future (safer chemical substitution): “The field of alternatives assessment is being driven by increasing policy and market demands to substitute chemicals of concern in process and products, as well as the need to help decision-makers in industry and government make smarter, safer choices about chemicals, materials and technologies used.”

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 – 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 Heidelbergerin, 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.

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