THIS ISSUE

Brands in this issue include: Allbirds, Everlane, and Reformation (proving a Green New Deal could work), American Apparel (rated by Good On You), Asos (says it wants debt bondage to end in Mauritius), Burberry and Kering (make push for sustainability), Kering (wants to end violence against women), Levi’s (partners with IFC to meet 2025 climate goals), Nordstrom and Rent the Runway (teaming up), The RealReal (soars 40% on debut), and more.

Recently released reports:

In general news:

  • GOTS to hold its 2019 seminar in Dhaka, Bangladesh this September

  • How Finland is changing the role of fashion

  • As the U.K. rejects pollution levy Common Objective calls for industry leadership

  • Fashion industry’s urgent need to economise on water

  • The Fair Labor Association: A useful tool for investors

  • How White Milano spotlights apparel sustainability amid a multi-billion dollar market

  • How fashion is styling sustainability through product design

  • Redress: An NGO with a mission to make fashion sustainable

  • The Kerenzerberg Charter for Sustainable Textiles launches in Switzerland

  • 7 wonder materials that could clean up fashion industry’s act

The supply chain

  • Bangladesh: RMG industry wants higher prices from international buyers; BGMEA signs MoU for garment worker digital wallet

  • China: 44 Nepali women tricked into sweatshop work

  • Mauritius: Ending migrant workers’ rights violations

  • Mekong Region: SEZs commit to promoting ‘decent work’ for women migrant workers

Manufacturers in this issue include: Archroma (new eco-avanced “indigo clone” solution), Colorifix (dyes from agricultural waste using microbes), Presso (environmentally dry cleaning), Saitex (becomes the first B Corp factory in Asia), ORTA (awards student development of microplastic filter), Xefco (sustainable textile coatings), and more.

Sustainable fashion jobs: 5 new jobs listed (at Fjällräven, Groupe ETAM, Impactt, Kathmandu, and Tommy Hilfiger).

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

BRANDS & RETAILERS

Luxury fashion brands from Burberry to Kering make push for sustainability: “Driven by younger consumers’ growing interest in social and environmental impact, high-fashion brands are pushing forward ambitious sustainability practices. Burberry is the latest luxury brand to jump on the bandwagon” (28 Jun).

Fast Retailing and UN Women sign global partnership to empower female workers in apparel industry: “Fast Retailing Co., Ltd., parent of the Japanese global apparel retailer UNIQLO, and UN Women announced today a global partnership to champion women's rights and empowerment in the apparel industry. This is the first formal alliance between UN Women and a clothing company based in Asia” (28 Jun).

Luxury online reseller The RealReal soars 40% in debut: “Shares of U.S. online luxury reseller The RealReal Inc jumped 40% in their debut on Friday, giving it a market capitalization of $2.32 billion and signalling increased investor appetite for listings of consumer companies” (28 Jun).

Kering wants to end violence against women: “Luxury consumers, in particular, experience growing distrust when analyzing the corporate social responsibility programs of premium fashion brands. But given the supply chain scandals of the past years, this attitude is not surprising. Slavery, dire working conditions, child labor, pollution, and violence against workers have blemished the reputation of the luxury world. However, there are certain luxury houses which employ greater transparency. These brands breed and promote a culture of empowerment while prioritizing dignity and mutual respect. The French luxury group Kering is a great example in this direction, being not only a global leader but also a real corporate social responsibility (CSR) trailblazer. For the past decade, through the Kering Foundation, the group has supported programs and initiatives that address problems such as toxic masculinity and violence against women” (28 Jun).

How ethical is American Apparel? Rating by ethical shopping app Good On You (28 Jun).

Partnering with the IFC to meet 2025 climate goals: “By 2025, [Levi’s] is committed to achieving a 90 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in our owned-and-operated facilities, 100 percent renewable energy in our owned-and-operated facilities and a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions across our entire global supply chain. As part of our efforts to reach that latter goal, we have signed a $2.3 million cooperation agreement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, to help us meet our corporate sustainability objectives to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and water use in our supply chain” (27 Jun).

Rent the Runway and Nordstrom are teaming up: “Nordstrom Inc and Rent the Runway announced a partnership on Thursday that aims to draw more foot traffic into the department store while making the clothing rental service more convenient so it can improve service to existing customers and attract new ones” (27 Jun).

Fashion startups are already proving a Green New Deal could work: “Fashion and manufacturing contributes to about a tenth of the world’s greenhouse gases. But startups are showing their more established counterparts how to build carbon-neutral businesses” (25 Jun). [Ed’s note: focuses on Allbirds, Everlane, and Reformation.]

NEWS & REPORTS   

GOTS Bangladesh Seminar 2019: “GOTS Bangladesh Seminar 2019 (GBDS19) shall be held in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 8th September 2019. The theme of this year´s seminar is ‘Connecting for Success’. GOTS Bangladesh Seminar 2019 serves to bring together the key players. Speakers shall include representatives from brands, exporters, certifiers, chemical industry, and other significant stakeholders. 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” (02 Jul).

From Helsinki to the moon: How Finland is changing the role of fashion: “While Helsinki Fashion Week (HFW) is not the largest platform in the region, it is by far the most provocative and promising which is on-brand for the Finnish capital. The annual event is open exclusively to designers and brands that produce sustainable collections with focus on innovative eco-materials and transparency of the supply chain. Starting this year, it is also the first fashion week to allow only non-animal-derived leather in any exhibited garments, accessories and footwear. Strictness when it comes to rightness is a Nordic tradition, and, perhaps, a key to future success” (30 Jun).

Cleaning up fashion - As the U.K. rejects pollution levy a startup calls for industry leadership: “Last week, those who hoped for a tougher regulatory environment in the U.K. were disappointed when the Government rejected a recommendation for a one pence levy on all garments sold to pay for better environmental protections. In the same week, however, [Common Objective] a UK-based startup company backed with £1.1 million in investor cash will call on industry leaders to sign up to a common set of sustainability values …  (30 Jun).

Fashion industry’s urgent need to economise on water: “Fashion companies need to understand who else is using the same water supply, what forms of agriculture rely on that water supply, whether the water supply is located in a densely populated area and what communities rely on that water source for their everyday needs. This is why fashion brands and retailers must effectively assess these risks and develop holistic water management strategies and systems, covering both direct operations and supply chains – though the supply chain is even more important, given that is where the majority of the risk lies for clothing brands” (28 Jun).

The Fair Labor Association: A useful tool for investors: “More than 60 major apparel companies, representing brands such as Adidas, Calvin Klein, Nike and Uniqlo, have joined the organization. They participate in a rigorous accreditation process in which the FLA evaluates whether the companies have adequate systems in place to protect workers’ rights. Additionally, factories producing their goods are independently monitored with the results made public. The companies then work alongside the FLA to remedy the problems that are routinely discovered” (28 Jun).

How White Milano spotlights apparel sustainability amid a multi-billion dollar market: “I recently had the privilege to speak with Brenda Bellei Bizzi about sustainable fashion brands, what makes brands sustainable and why she thinks it is of great interest for brands to showcase their lines at the White Milano?” (28 Jun).

How fashion is styling sustainability through product design: “From seaweed shoes to synthetic spider silk, the fashion industry is finding inventive solutions to its sustainability crisis” (28 Jun).

Redress: An NGO with a mission to make fashion sustainable: “If you were to meet Christina Dean, you would know instantly she is a woman on a mission. It took just one cycling trip from Hong Kong to China to convince her that she needed to address the fashion industry’s significant culpability for pollution. “What I saw was just overwhelming pollution, grayness, bleakness, polluted rivers, the scale of manufacturing, the color of people’s faces, the misery of the people that I would pass, on my bike cycling through China”” (27 Jun).

The fashion sky clears up in Switzerland: “The Kerenzerberg Charter for Sustainable Textiles was launched after six months of work. It calls for business leaders to ask questions, request transparency, and continuously seek to do better. It asks companies to take responsibility for their workers along the supply chain, ensuring safe working conditions, fair wages and workers’ development. And it calls on them to take responsibility for protecting the environment through technologies and innovation that combat water and air pollution, avoid toxic chemicals, strive for raw material diversity and care for animal welfare” (26 Jun). [Ed’s note: see The Kerenzerberg Charter for Sustainable Textiles here.]

7 wonder materials that could clean up fashion industry’s act: “There is no denying that a lot is going on in the smart textiles space. It is an exciting time for the design world, who get to experience some of the innovation first hand. At the beginning of the year I found myself in Sweden moderating at the DeFINE Info Day Boras event. It was there that I was introduced to Smart Textiles- the driving force behind textile innovation in Sweden. From basic research and prototyping to the commercialisation of products, Smart Textiles introduced me to seven different types of new materials with a unique breadth that opened my eyes to the textile possibilities that could seriously help clean up the fashion industry’s act” (25 Jun).

THE SUPPLY CHAIN

Bangladesh

RMG industry wants higher prices from intl buyers: “Bangladeshi apparel businesses called upon international buyers for maintaining responsible buying practices to obey their given conditions properly. The business insiders also said that their businesses are under pressure not getting proper prices of their products. They have reformed their factories costing huge money following Accord and Alliance but the buyers do not pay good prices” (28 Jun).

MoU between ICT Division & BGMEA for formulating digital wallet for RMG workers in Bangladesh: “Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with ICT Division, Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology, GoB regarding implementation of digital wallet for wage digitization and conducting digital transactions for RMG factory workers in Bangladesh” (28 Jun).

China

44 Nepali women tricked into sweatshop work at China company: “Some 44 Nepali women have been tricked into underpaid overwork within the secured perimeters of a garment factory in northeastern China. The women were taken on tourist visas to Dandong Garment Factory in Liaoning province by Compass Manpower company in Kathmandu with a promise of jobs that would fetch them a monthly salary of  US$ 300” (27 Jun).

Mauritius

Ending migrant workers’ rights violations in Mauritius: “The paradise island of Mauritius hosts more than 45,000 migrant workers. Migrant workers’ rights violations are common in the country’s textile and garment sector supply chain, including exploitation by recruitment agencies in the countries of origin, like Bangladesh, Madagascar, Nepal and India … ASOS, which has signed a global framework agreement with IndustriALL and whose suppliers employ over 3,000 workers in Mauritius, said they want working conditions to improve and debt bondage to end” (27 Jun).

Mekong Region

Mekong SEZs commit to promoting ‘decent work’ for women migrant workers: “During the Mekong Migration Network (MMN) and Asian Institute of Technology's (AIT) workshop, Jobs in SEZs: Promoting Gender-Sensitive Policies in the Mekong Region, representatives of governments, special economic zone (SEZ) management bodies, and civil society from Myanmar, Cambodia, and Thailand, committed to promoting decent work in Mekong SEZs” (27 Jun).

MANUFACTURERS   

Archroma to introduce new eco-avanced “indigo clone” solution: “The new product will be the core of Archroma’s Indigo Reflection, a coloration system that behaves like indigo, with an even more sustainable and efficient application process compared to indigo” (01 Jul).

How this denim manufacturer became the first B Corp factory in Asia: “This week, Saitex, a denim factory, became the first certified B Corp factory in Asia and the only large scale manufacturer of denim to adopt the standards set forth by B Lab, a Philly-based organization looking to redefine business with an emphasis on people and planet. Saitex makes clothes, primarily denim for a slew of American brands: Madewell, Everlane, J Crew, Edwin USA, Target, Eileen Fisher, Outerknown, G-Star Raw, and Barker’s Clothing” (30 Jun).

ORTA Biodesign Challenge Prize awarded to RMIT University’s Enzer, a water filtration system for microplastics: “ORTA, a premiere denim manufacturer, awarded the ORTA Prize for Bio-Inspired Textile Processes to a team of Australian students from RMIT University who developed Enzer, a water filtration and treatment system for microplastics that can be retrofitted to washing machines. The ORTA Prize was awarded on June 21 at MoMA in New York City” (28 Jun).

Textile coating technology takes the next step: “Representatives of Deakin University, textile technology company Xefco and Proficiency Contracting have agreed upon a joint project for advanced coating technologies that will improve durability for textile coatings while reducing energy, water and chemical consumption” (28 Jun).

This biotech makes dyes from agricultural waste using microbes: “Welcome to Norwich, UK, where Colorifix converts agricultural waste products into dyes using microbes, reducing the water and energy required to produce the dyes” (28 Jun).

Dirty secret: Dry cleaning can be environmental mess, but Purdue graduates are developing faster, cleaner, less expensive method: “A pair of Purdue University graduates are developing a device called Presso, a kiosk garment cleaning device that takes only three to seven minutes to clean clothes through a combination of steam, a cleaning liquid and air drying. “Tackling this issue of making dry cleaning more environmentally friendly seemed like a worthy cause that could affect climate change in a meaningful way,” said Nishant Jain, co-founder of Presso Inc., who is an electrical engineering technology graduate from the Purdue Polytechnic Institute” (27 Jun).

Smart manufacturing may be next step for factories: “Get ready for big changes in manufacturing of all kinds. Factories will be automated. Robots will be a common sight in manufacturers’ factories—and many workers will be concerned about losing their jobs. This scenario was one of the big issues in a June 26 panel called “The Future of Manufacturing,” organized by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, a nonprofit group focused on economic development and living-wage jobs” (27 Jun).

SUSTAINABLE FASHION JOBS

[New listings or updated information marked with *]

Adidas: Manager Sea Program Operations (Portland, OR)

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)

Circle Economy: Project Manager - Dutch Circular Textiles and Apparel (Amsterdam)

Circle Economy: Project Manager Circular Textiles and Apparel (Amsterdam)

Cotton made in Africa: Junior Project Manager for Verification Management (Hamburg)

Decathlon China: Supplier Quality Engineer (Shenzhen)

Disney: Manager, Audit Analysis, ILS (Glendale, CA)

* Fjällräven: Brand Experience Coordinator (Stockholm)

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)

* Groupe ETAM: Sustainability & Compliance Manager Asia (Hong Kong)

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: Senior Consultant – Social Auditing (London)

Impactt: Marketing Manager (London)

Impactt: Project Officer (London)

* Kathmandu: Sustainability Specialist (Canterbury)

Kmart Australia: Sustainable Materials Manager (Melbourne)

Kmart Australia: Community Relations Advisor (Melbourne)

Marc Fisher Footwear: Production Compliance Manager (Greenwich, CT)

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)

Nike: Project Manager, Social Community Impact APAC (Tokyo)

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)

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)

* Tommy Hilfiger: Communications Manager Sustainability (Amsterdam)

University of Leeds: Research Fellow in Sustainable Materials and Renewable Fibres (Leeds)

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 *]

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.”

* 05 September, Shanghai: How to assess a factory on Social, Health & Safety and Quality issues: “Be able to grasp the overall vision of an efficient quality process and avoid the critical non conformities in terms of social and health & safety performance.”

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.”

* 12 September, Shanghai: Environmental Awareness Training: “Know the requirements to control & reduce the environmental risks in the textile wet processing units, and understand how to better address critical topics such as Chemical Management and Wastewater Management in the factory with Effluent Treatment Plant.”

* 17 September, Hong Kong: Environmental Awareness Training: “Know the requirements to control & reduce the environmental risks in the textile wet processing units, and understand how to better address critical topics such as Chemical Management and Wastewater Management in the factory with Effluent Treatment Plant.”

* 19 September, Hong Kong: Chemical Management Training: “What are the key requirements in terms of proper chemical management in a textile factory to reduce the environmental & social risks?”

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 Volker Glätsch, 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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