Brands in this issue include: Gap (signs renewable energy deal), H&M (launches Social Entrepreneurship Project, and more on the Norwegian response to the ‘conscious collection’), Levi’s (betting on better denim), Loblaws (off the hook for Rana Plaza), Primark (girl suffers chemical burn after nail glue melts leggings), Uniqlo (advancing sustainable denim), Volcom (develops denim process to reduce water use), and more.

Recently released reports:

In general news:

  • Ellen MacArthur pursues 20 million designers in circularity push

  • Textiles evolving to meet demand for sustainable materials

  • Why microfibers are the new microbeads

  • Anemia, a silent killer of women

  • Eco-friendly cotton catches consumers’ fancy

  • The Most Influential Sustainable Collection Campaigns of ’19-20, from Common Objective

The supply chain:

  • Cambodia: GMAC makes EU plea to consider job losses

  • Mexico: ProDESC doubling efforts to help garment workers defend their labour rights

  • Turkey: Brand demands crippling Syrian workforce:

Sustainable fashion jobs: 5 new job listed this issue (at Global Fashion Agenda, Lululemon, Puma, SML, and Tchibo).

Quotes of the week:

  • “There’s an abundance of bullshit in this space.” Paul Dillinger of Levi’s on sustainability in fashion (08 Aug).

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


Gap signs renewable energy deal in latest sustainability effort: “Fashion giant Gap Inc. is tackling its carbon footprint with a new wind power agreement. The conglomerate -- whose brand portfolio includes Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, Athleta and Intermix -- has signed a 12-year, 90-megawatt virtual power purchase agreement for the Aurora Wind Project with Enel Green Power North America. According to Gap, the deal will enable it to achieve its 2020 goal of reducing scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions for its facilities by 50% compared to 2015. Gap estimates that the wind electricity output included in this purchase will mean a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to removing 60,000 passenger cars from the road every year” (12 Aug).

Volcom learns from Levi’s, develops denim process to reduce water use: “Another fashion brand is focusing on reducing water consumption in denim manufacturing. Skate and snowboarding brand Volcom is introducing Water Aware denim jeans – a line inspired by Levi Strauss’s denim techniques – as part of its fall 2019 collection. The company says it has been able to achieve an average savings of 13 liters of water per pair of jeans” (12 Aug).

H&M launches Social Entrepreneurship Project: “The H&M Group has launched its Social Entrepreneurship Project; through which it plans to engage with entrepreneurs in developing countries whose work brings about positive change in local communities” (09 Aug Aug – from Ecotextile News, subscription required to read full article).

H&M could use a vocab lesson: “All’s not mysigt at H&M’s Stockholm headquarters this week. The Norwegian Consumer Authority is urging customers to make more conscious purchases from H&M’s “Conscious Collection.” The watchdog agency says that H&M’s “Conscious” line, a limited clothing assortment designed to promote more green materials, is marketed as more sustainable to sell more products. H&M’s marketing for the line equates organic materials with recyclable ones, which reportedly misleads shoppers” (09 Aug).

How Uniqlo is advancing sustainable denim: “As the shift toward more sustainable practices continues throughout the fashion industry, Uniqlo is well and truly keeping pace. The global giant has introduced a new technology that has seen the retailer reduce wastewater in the production of its jeans by an average of 90 per cent. But it’s not the only innovation in the space” (09 Aug).

Can better denim change the world? Levi’s is betting on it: “For many brands, adopting a sustainability narrative involves a misleading if not cynical focus on a single sustainable component — say, recycled ocean plastic — which can be marketed to eco-minded consumers even if it does nothing to extend the life cycle of the overall garment. But at Levi’s, [Paul] Dillinger had the mandate and the resources to consider a massive, full-system redesign. He knew the hard limitations behind feel-good sustainability stories (fabrics made from reclaimed bottles, for example, can’t be recycled when snaps or zippers are added, and can release microplastics into the waterways when washed) and he wanted to create something better” (08 Aug).

Loblaws off the hook for Rana Plaza disaster; Bangladeshi lawsuit fails: “One of the country’s largest retailers is finally off the hook for the devastating collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh six years ago. In a decision on Thursday, the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear a group of Bangladeshi victims and relatives who wanted to sue Loblaws over the tragedy. The key issue in the lawsuit was whether a Canadian court had jurisdiction to consider the claim — of importance to companies that source product from abroad. Both Ontario’s Superior Court and Court of Appeal had previously denied the plaintiffs class-action certification in their quest for $2 billion in compensation” (08 Aug).

Girl, 11, seriously burned after spilt Primark nail glue made her leggings melt: “A schoolgirl was left with serious burns after spilling a few drops of Primark nail glue on her leggings - causing them to melt in plumes of toxic smoke. Little Lilly Worsfold, 11, was engulfed in a toxic cloud after the 60p adhesive made contact with the cotton-and-Lycra garment” (07 Aug).


Ellen MacArthur pursues 20 million designers in circularity push: “The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has called for 20 million designers to help move the global economy towards a circular model, using its new Circular Design Programme to shift products at end-of-life away from landfill” (09 Aug – from Ecotextile News, subscription required to read full article).

Textiles evolving to meet demand for sustainable materials: “Whether it’s how they’re made or what they’re made of, textiles are evolving to meet consumer demand for sustainability. “There’s a real push for sustainability now, and the home textiles industry is waking up to that consumer call,” says Shannon Maher, chair of Home Products Development at the Fashion Institute of Technology, in New York. It’s about reducing waste during textile production, she said, and reusing or recycling waste to produce other products. “Zero Waste has definitely become a watchword,” she said” (08 Aug).

Why microfibers are the new microbeads: “Why microfibers are the new microbeads. Microfibers are a disproportionately large problem for such tiny strands of fabric. But what exactly are they? Microfiber towels may feel like they are made from cloth but are made from plastic. Natural gas is used to create plastics that are spun into fibers. These fibers are weaved into a cloth that is great for doing things like picking up dust or dirt. Sometimes, these are made from recycled plastics, but other times are made from totally virgin materials” (08 Aug).

Killing a silent killer of women: “In public health, discussions relating to women typically focus on maternal mortality, malnutrition and more recently, sexual and reproductive health. But one facet of malnutrition, and a major killer of women, is often ignored: anemia. Anemia is the world’s most common nutritional disorder, affecting more than 1.6 billion people. Broadly defined as an excessively low concentration of hemoglobin, an iron-rich protein that carries oxygen to tissues throughout the body, in the blood, anemia occurs either when there are too few red blood cells or when their oxygen-carrying capacity is compromised. It is caused by a deficiency in essential nutrients, most often iron, but also folic acid, vitamin B12, or vitamin A” (08 Aug).

Eco-friendly cotton catches consumers’ fancy: “Desi cotton grown on rainfed farms and dyed with flower-extracted colours, desi seeds that adorn the cotton thread bands — all these are suggestive of ecological concerns and eco-sensitiveness. Going by the buying behaviour of the people from industrial cities like Ludhiana and Jalandhar, there seems to be an increasing ecological awareness. Traditional cotton grown by small landholders across the cotton belt of India on rainfed farms are finding buyers in these commercial cities. “When you wear this garment, you can be sure that it is the lightest garment possible, both in its environmental sense and fair-trade sense. Chemical dyes are killing rivers. The CO2 emission of each synthetic/chemical-laced garment we sport is 50 times the weight of the garment,” is the refrain of the eco-conscious customers who buy garments brought by a not-for-profit social enterprise” (07 Aug).

The Most Influential Sustainable Collection Campaigns of ’19-20 (Part 1, and Part 2): “Common Objective’s two-part feature on the most influential sustainable fashion collection campaigns analyses how fashion brands including Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney, Veja and more are using creative direction as a means of activism and political engagement and are cutting through the increasingly crowded fashion sustainability space.  The pieces explore diverse casting and the use of humour, as well as creative direction that takes its cues from global issues” (07 Aug).



GMAC makes EU plea to consider job losses: “In a statement set to be published on Monday, the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) said the EU’s possible withdrawal of Cambodia’s Everything But Arms (EBA) access would harm 750,000 workers and three million families. The GMAC statement, seen by The Post on Sunday, came as European Commission legislators were set on Monday to end six months of monitoring and engagement stipulated under the EBA withdrawal procedure, first enacted by the EU in February” (11 Aug).


ProDESC doubling efforts to help garment workers defend their labour rights: “C&A Foundation in Mexico and the “Economic Social and Cultural Rights Project” (ProDESC) have entered into a partnership, to support and enable women workers in the industry, so that they know their rights and can defend them more effectively. The initiative, which started out in February 2019, will run for two years and focus on protecting the human rights of women working in the fashion industry in six states in Mexico” (09 Aug).


Brand demands crippling Turkey’s Syrian workforce: “A new report which delves into the state-of-play in Turkish apparel manufacturing facilities reports that Syrian refugees, of which 650,000 are employed in menial jobs throughout its supply chains, are exploited in the name of fast fashion; with short-term brand commitments, price pressures and unrealistic turnaround periods crippling workers who are subsequently underpaid, and in cases victims of abuse” (09 Aug – from Ecotextile News, subscription required to read full article).


Dependency on groundwater: “The use of water sources for highly potential RMG and textile sector has now appeared as a major concern for environment. The dyeing and washing as well as increasing recycling have contributed to the severe pollution in the surrounding areas of the industry. So, time has come to think about the appropriate ways for improving surface water quality by reducing pollution in line with 6.3 SDG target. Most of the garment factories are situated in Dhaka, Gazipur, Savar and Narayangonj and using more than 250 litres of water for washing and dyeing one kilogram of fabrics while the global best practice is 70 litres. Bangladesh's textile industry consumes 1,500 billion litres of groundwater a year for washing and dyeing fabrics, according to a report published on 2014 by partners for Water Programme of the Netherlands in cooperation with the Bangladesh government” (11 Aug).

Rajasthan working to combat textile sector water pollution: “A delegation of textile entrepreneurs from Rajasthan’s Pali district recently discussed with state chief minister Ashok Gehlot various problems related to water pollution by industrial units and its treatment. Gehlot assured them that the state is working on a permanent solution to combat water pollution in the textile zone in Jodhpur, Pali and Balotra” (08 Aug).

Pollution from textile plants leads to severe frothing in Coimbatore’s Noyyal River: “Coimbatore's Noyyal River transformed into frothing disaster. Roads in Tamil Nadu's Coimbatore have been covered in froth from Noyyal River. Commuters are finding it difficult to cross the area. The river is surrounded by textile units that reportedly discharge its effluents into the water bodies” (08 Aug).


[New listings or updated information marked with *]

Achille Pinto Spa: Sustainability Manager (Como)

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

Asos: Ethical Trade Assistant (Hong Kong)

BSR: HERproject Associate (Hong Kong)

BSR: Manager, Supply Chain Sustainability (New York)

C&A Sourcing: Specialist - Sustainable Chemicals Management (Bengaluru).

C&A Foundation: Data Analyst (Gurgaon)

Calvin Klein: Director, Corporate Social Responsibility (New York)

Canada Goose: Sustainability Programs Specialist (Toronto)

Canada Goose: Sr. Materials Developer, Fabric Research, Development & Sustainability (Toronto)

Canada Goose: Corporate Citizenship Department Coordinator (Toronto)

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

Centric Brands: Global Sourcing & Compliance Analyst (New York)

Decathlon China: Supplier Quality Engineer (Shenzhen)

Disney: Director, Environmental Science And Policy Analysis (Glendale, CA)

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

Fjällräven: Brand Experience Coordinator (Stockholm)

Fur Europe: EU Policy and Environment Intern (Belgium)

Global Brands Group: Social & Environmental Affairs Officer (London)

* Global Fashion Agenda: Sustainability intern (Copenhagen)

Good Weave: Director, Apparel and Fashion Jewelry (Washington DC)

GoodWeave: Program Officer (Washington DC)

Groupe ETAM: Sustainability Manager (Hong Kong)

Gymshark: Sustainability Manager (Solihull)

H&M: Sustainability Developer (Yangon)

Hugo Boss: Corporate Sustainability Manager (Metzingen)

Hugo Boss: Sustainability & Innovation Manager (Metzingen)

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

Impactt: Senior Consultant – Social Auditing (London)

JCPenney: Project Specialist- Corporate Social Responsibility (Plano, TX)

Kmart Australia: Human Rights Manager (Melbourne)

* Lululemon: Director, Chemicals & Materials Sustainability (Vancouver)

Michael Kors: Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility (New York)

MV Sport: Global Social Compliance Manager (Bay Shore, NY)

Nakd: Corporate Social Responsibility Internship (Gothenburg)

Nike: Ethics & Compliance Manager, Greater China (Shanghai)

Nike: Environmental Health & Safety Manager - Air MI (Phoenix, AZ)

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

Nike: Community Impact Director Latam (Mexico City)

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

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

Primark: Sustainability Materials Sourcing Manager (County Dublin)

Primark: Sustainability Materials Coordinator (County Dublin)

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

Ralph Lauren: Manager, Sustainability (New York)

Ralph Lauren: Associate, Global Employee Communications & Philanthropy (New York)

* Puma: Officer Social Sustainability (Guangzhou)

QuizRR: Internal Sales Representative (Stockholm)

REI: Director, Communications and Public Affairs (Kent WA)

s.Oliver: Senior Global Sustainability Manager Environment & Chemical Compliance (Rottendorf)

* SML: Manager – Global Sustainability (Hong Kong)

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

Solidarity Center: Deputy Country Program Director (Phnom Penh)

Superdry: Energy and Environment Manager (Cheltenham)

Sustainable Apparel coalition: Operations Coordinator, Europe (Amsterdam)

* Tchibo: (Senior) Project Manager Sustainability (Hamburg)

Tommy Hilfiger: Communications Manager Sustainability (Amsterdam)

Uniqlo: Sustainability Officer (Bangkok)

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

Unravelau: Internship Sustainability Researcher (Utrecht)

VF: Sustainability Trainee (Stabio)

VF: Manager, Worker Rights (Hong Kong)

Welspun: Head - Group Sustainability (Mumbai)

White Stuff: Foundation Manager (London)

WSR: Director of Outreach and Communications (New York)

CONFERENCES & SEMINARS                                        

[New listings or updated information marked with *]

04 September, Northampton: 1 Day Sustainability in the Leather Supply Chain Training Course: “An introductory one-day leather sustainability course covering supply chain management, traceability and materials sources, the leather making process, chemical management risks, environmental impacts and stewardship, NGO activity and the leather life cycle.”

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. Click here to register.

10 September, Webinar: See What’s New – C2C Certified Version 4 Draft Standard: “introduce the Cradle to Cradle Certified Version 4 draft standard … free webinar.”

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?”

20 – 21 September, Dhaka, Bangladesh: Global Textile Forum – Gearing up for New Generation Textiles: “Global Textile Forum is an initiative, a platform to promote region’s textile and garment industry through Collaborative efforts.”

20 – 21 September: Sacramento: WB/Camp on Water-Based Printing: “first-of-its-kind summit on water-based ink printing, powered by the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association’s (SGIA) THREADX conference. Hosted by Motion Textile.”

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.”

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.

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.”

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.”

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 Adrian Kirby, 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.