Brands in this issue include: Esprit (cuts Myanmar from supply chain), H&M and Bestseller (to review Myanmar as supplier), Patagonia (calling on US companies to get to work on CSR), Zara (closing the loop), and more.

Recently released reports:

In general news:

  • This is what Extinction Rebellion’s fashion boycott is all about

  • Consumer attitudes and fabric preferences redefine denim’s new way with luxury

  • 7 designers answer pressing questions on sustainability in fashion

  • ‘You have to regard the impact of what you do’: Brands’ role in fighting modern slavery

In the supply chain

  • Bangladesh: garment workers want cases against organisers withdrawn

  • Ethiopia: collective bargaining strategies

  • India: Sindh occupational safety council to look out for factory workers

Manufacturers in this issue include: Gore and Lycra (fabric companies going green), and more.

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

BRANDS & RETAILERS              

A group of major US companies just took out a full-page NYT ad pushing Apple, Amazon, and Walmart to 'get to work' prioritising social responsibility over profits: “Apple, Walmart, and dozens of other major US-based companies are part of a lobbying group which recently announced a major shift in their stated goals for businesses: to “benefit of all stakeholders – customers, employees, suppliers, communities and shareholders,” rather than focusing solely on creating shareholder value. A separate group of corporations, including Ben & Jerry’s and Patagonia, took out a full-page ad in the Sunday issue of The New York Times urging that group to “get to work.” The ad is part of a bigger movement of “B Corporations” – a private certification that signifies a business “balances purpose and profit”” (27 Aug).

Fashion brands rethink Myanmar position after report on military ties: “Clothing brand Esprit says it will no longer source from a garment factory located in an industrial park linked to Myanmar's military in a recent United Nations report, while other brands – including H&M and Bestseller – say they will look into the situation. Supplier lists disclosed by clothing companies and reviewed by the Nikkei Asian Review revealed several well-known brands sourcing from factories inside two industrial zones that, according to the U.N, are owned by military conglomerate Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd. (MEHL)” (26 Aug). [Ed’s note: see the UN report here.]

Clothing brands pledge to create sustainable fashion: “As many as 16 clothing brands took a pledge to create sustainable fashion at the unveiling of Project SU.RE on the sidelines of the Lakme Fashion Week on Thursday night. SU.RE, or Sustainable Resolution, saw CEOs of 16 major brands across the country signing a charter of sustainability, initiating India’s commitment towards sustainable and environment-friendly fashion” (24 Aug).

Zara takes its first close the loop steps with Denim from Denim: “Inditex starts closing the loop. Zara, the biggest chain of the Spanish giant by revenue, has launched its first line Denim from Denim, of garments created from the cotton extracted from other used jeans. The company stated that they recycled old garments to subtract cotton and reuse it to create new items. It’s the first collection of the brand using denim waste” (23 Aug).

Giants of the industry take the Fashion Pact for sustainability to Paris: “Little by little details of the sustainability pact start seeing the light. Inditex is one of the 32 companies to sign the Fashion Pact to boost environmental sustainability in the fashion and textile industry that is presented today in the Elysée Palace, in Paris, an encounter summoned by the president of France, Emmanuel Macron. The president of the Spanish giant, Pablo Isla, confirmed his attendance in this first meeting, that will also count with the presence of the ministers of economy and ecological transition of France, Bruno Le Maire and Elisabeth Borne. Isla has stated through a press release that “all the Inditex team is committed to sustainability, strategic pillar of our company and the true motor of the project: the conviction of all to take care of our environment with a long-term goal”” (23 Aug).

  • Fashion companies reach landmark sustainability accord ahead of G7 Summit: “This afternoon at the Élysée Palace, French President Emmanuel Macron and Kering chairman and chief executive François-Henri Pinault unveiled a new plan to reduce the environmental impact of the global fashion industry. Signed by 32 companies—including some of the biggest names in luxury, activewear, fast fashion, and retailing—the G7 Fashion Pact marks the first serious broad-based push by a coalition of private-sector companies to help reduce global warming, replenish the planet's biodiversity, and curtail the dumping of plastics in the world's oceans” (23 Aug).

  • There’s reason to be skeptical of fashion’s new landmark environmental pact: “The pact states plainly that it is “not legally binding and can be seen as a set of guideline[s].” It’s based, it says, on “the collective ambition of CEOs to commit to sustainability targets.” But there is no penalty if a company fails to live up to its commitments. The companies will also report their own progress. “This is not about regulation,” Marie-Claire Daveu, Kering’s chief sustainability officer, told the New York Times when questioned about this. “We cannot punish groups directly. But by committing to improved and collective transparency, there is an incentive for those in this pact to stick to targets and not fall behind.” Brands also have other business incentives that could at times be in competition with these targets, such as keeping costs down and profits up” (24 Aug).

  • The G7 Fashion Pact: Making sustainability business as usual, but not just for CEOs: “For Common Objective, it is extremely encouraging to see. If we want to shift the needle on sustainability, it must been seen as everyone’s responsibility. However, individuals within these brands, as well as their supply chain partners, must also be given the support and tools needed to make the necessary changes” (23 Aug).


This is what Extinction Rebellion’s fashion boycott is all about: “Under the signet “Boycott Fashion” XR has also put a focus on the fashion industry in the last months: “We will not significantly mitigate this crisis without total systemic change and a drastic reduction of our consumption. We must act now. We can no longer afford to use land to grow crops for producing clothes and extract oil to produce synthetic fibres. Enough is enough. Business as usual is leading us towards extinction,” it says on XR’s website” (23 Aug).

Consumer attitudes and fabric preferences redefine denim’s new way with luxury: “The denim supply chain has reacted to a new consumer mindset that puts a premium on comfort and looks that fit their design preference, while also preferring brands that source sustainable fabrics and adopt responsible manufacturing practices” (23 Aug).

7 designers answer pressing questions on sustainability in fashion: “As the industry settles in for Sustainable Fashion Day of Lakmé Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2019, we reached out to seven changemakers – David Abraham of Abraham & Thakore, Mia Morikawa and Himanshu Shani of 11.11 / eleven eleven, Stefano Funari of I Was A Sari, Karishma Shahani Khan of Ka-Sha, Kinnari Thakker of Rooted Objects, Alka Sharma of Aavaran and Urvashi Kaur – and asked them pressing questions about the future of sustainability in the fashion industry” (22 Aug).

‘You have to regard the impact of what you do’: Brands’ role in fighting modern slavery: “True industry-wide reform in fashion starts at the top. In recent years, consumers have become more aware of the problems in the supply chain, bringing ethical and sustainable concerns to the forefront. But it’s up to brands and policy-makers to set better practices into motion. Few understand this mission more than Lola Young, an independent Crossbench Peer in the House of Lords known as Baroness Young of Hornsey” (21 Aug).



Garment workers want cases against organisers withdrawn: “National Garment Workers Federation on Friday staged a demonstration in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka demanding withdrawal of cases filed against garment workers and reinstatement of jobs of terminated workers. The labour rights group demanded that authorities of readymade garment factories filed 38 cases against 7,458 workers and sacked 12,436 workers from 104 factories as they staged demo demanding increase of their wages in the month of December last year and January this year” (24 Aug).


Ethiopian and South African unions discuss collective bargaining strategies: “A mission to Cape Town by seven Ethiopian trade unionists, 13-15 August, provided an opportunity for learning and sharing of strategies and tactics on social dialogue and collective bargaining. According to the unions this is important to the living wage campaign in Ethiopia where garment workers earn low wages of less than US$30 per month. In South Africa, for instance, garment workers earn above the national minimum wage of R3500 (US$230). These wages are from gains in collective bargaining that have been made over time” (20 Aug).


Sindh’s occupational safety council to look out for factory workers: “In a notification issued on August 20, the Sindh health department said the council was being established and would function according to the provisions laid out in the Sindh Occupational Safety and Health Act, 2017. The council will be headed by labour Department Secretary Abdul Rasheed Solangi and include 22 members from the government, employers federation, workers’ representatives and civil society” (24 Aug).


Gore-Tex. Lycra. Could fashion’s next major fabric brand be green? “The companies that produce fashion’s textiles have long hovered behind the scenes, but growing consumer awareness of the industry’s environmental impact is creating brand-building opportunities further down the supply chain” (23 Aug – subscription needed to read full article).

UW’s Li-Oakey receives DOE Grant to Study Liquid Separation Mechanisms Using Smart Materials: “A University of Wyoming associate professor of chemical engineering has received a Department of Energy (DOE) Basic Energy Sciences grant to investigate using smart membrane materials to more efficiently remove pollutants or impurities or to recover valuable materials -- such as rare earth elements -- from water or other industrial liquids. These materials could prove effective at better separating metal ions from liquids such as craft beer; removing dyes from discharged water used in the textile industry; and recovering tiny oil droplets that remain in produced water generated by oil and gas exploration” (23 Aug).

Transforming the textile sector’s approach to water: “WWF has been driving the adoption and implementation of Water Stewardship in the textile sector since 2011. With the support of international brands and local partners, WWF has established water stewardship projects in several countries, including China, India, Vietnam and Turkey. The brochures on this page will help other companies and countries to learn from these flagship projects” (23 Aug).


[New listings or updated information marked with *]

Achille Pinto Spa: Sustainability Manager (Como)

Amaro: Sustainability & Social Impact Lead (São Paulo)

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

Ascena: Analyst Community & Philanthropy (New York)

Asos: Ethical Trade Assistant (Hong Kong)

BSR: HERproject Associate (Hong Kong)

BSR: Manager, Supply Chain Sustainability (New York)

C&A Sourcing: Environmental Project Manager (Hong Kong)

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

C&A Foundation: Data Analyst (Gurgaon)

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

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

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)

Columbia: prAna Sourcing Analyst (Carlsbad, CA)

Copenhagen Fashion Week: Bæredygtighedspraktikant (Copenhagen)

Cutso: Lead Developer - Sustainable Fashion Marketplace (London)

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 Assistant (London)

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)

Guess: Apparel Testing & Environmental Sustainability Specialist (Bioggio)

Gymshark: Sustainability Manager (Solihull)

H&M: Sustainability Developer (Yangon)

House of Anita Dongre: Fashion Designer – Sustainability (Mumbai)

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)

Interface: Global Director of Life Cycle Assessments (Atlanta, GA)

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

Kmart Australia: Human Rights Manager (Melbourne)

L Brands: Government Affairs Specialist (Columbus, OH)

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: Integrated Performance Senior Manager, Sustainable Manufacturing & Sourcing (Beaverton, OR)

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)

Pebbles: Manager Maatschappelijk Verantwoord Ondernemen (Alkmaar)

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

Primark: Sustainability Materials Sourcing Manager (County Dublin)

Primark: Sustainability Materials Coordinator (County Dublin)

PVH: Corporate Responsibility Coordinator (Amsterdam)

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: Executive Assistant to Sourcing and Sustainability Director (Cheltenham)

Superdry: Energy and Environment Manager (Cheltenham)

Sustainable Apparel coalition: Operations Coordinator, Europe (Amsterdam)

TAL Apparel: Environmental Sustainability Executive (Hong Kong)

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)

Velcro Companies: EHS Manager (Somersworth, NH)

VF: Sustainability Trainee (Stabio)

VF: Manager, Worker Rights (Hong Kong)

Walmart: Senior Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility (Beijing)

Welspun: Head - Group Sustainability (Mumbai)

White Stuff: Foundation Manager (London)

WSR: Director of Outreach and Communications (New York)

ZDHC: Legal Intern (Amsterdam)

CONFERENCES & SEMINARS                                        

[New listings or updated information marked with *]  

28 August, New Delhi: Launch Event - Life And Building Safety (LABS) Initiative: “Start the future on providing safer working conditions for factory workers in the apparel and footwear industry.”

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.”

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

15 – 18 October: Vancouver: Textile Exchange Sustainability Conference: Driving impact through integrity and preferred fiber & materials.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Photo by Micha Sager, 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.