Brands in this issue include: Boll & Branch (receives $100M investment), C&A, Lidl, and Seidensticker (ranked best on CSR in German study), G-Star Raw (joining the UN Climate Change’s Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action), IMG Reliance (launches sustainable sourcing project), Levi’s (partners with NGOs to restore river basin in Pakistan), Nordstrom (new ‘Sustainable Style’ section on website), Primark (to train 160,000 cotton farmers), PVH (CEO appointed to UNGC board), thredUP (driving the circular fashion movement with AI), and more.
In general news:
H&M Foundation opens Global Change Award 2019
Sustainable fashion: Good for the world, but worth the price?
It’s become harder & harder to understand what “sustainable” means
While the rainforest burns, we need to know where our leather comes from
Is ‘sustainability’ a fashion scam?
Australia recycles paper and plastics. So why does clothing end up in landfill?
Five weird and wonderful ways nature is being harnessed to build a sustainable fashion industry
India rides the sustainability wave to transform its fashion industry
How sustainability became a luxury value
Shutting down fashion weeks is not the answer
In the supply chain
India: CCC unconvinced by new worker safety initiative; and government says CSR violations will not be treated as a criminal offence
Sri Lanka: unions demand withdrawal of anti-worker labour law
Manufacturers in this issue include: MAS Holdings (treating textile waste water), and more.
Sustainable fashion jobs: 4 new job listed this issue (at C&A Sourcing, CIEL Textiles Company, Lojas Renner, and QHQ).
By Stephen Frost, CUHK Business School, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.
BRANDS & RETAILERS
Test victory for discounters: Men’s shirts from Lidl beat Hugo Boss and Co: In a comparison of 14 dress shirts priced between 10 and 140 euros, the value shirt from Lidl beat Hugo Boss in nearly all test points, including durability, comfort, care and pollutants. The article points out that testers also looked at production conditions, even visiting a sewing factory in Bangladesh and talking with manufacturers about their social and environmental commitments. In this Corporate Social Responsibility part of the assessment, the brands that came out on top were C&A, Lidl, and Seidensticker” (29 Aug – in German).
G-Star joins UNCC’s Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Change: “A fashion brand known for its dedication to sustainability, G-Star Raw announced this week that it’s joining the UN Climate Change’s Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action” (29 Aug).
Primark to train 160,000 cotton farmers in natural methods: “Primark has announced plans to train 160,000 cotton farmers in China, India and Pakistan in more environmentally-friendly production methods by the end of 2022” (28 Aug – from Ecotextile News, subscription required to read full article).
Levi Strauss partners with NGOs to restore river basin in Pakistan: “Levi Strauss & Co. is taking a more targeted approach to water management, recognizing that certain parts of the world – and our supply chain – require greater action than others. Working to fortify the health of watersheds in places we operate is part of our broader water strategy. As part of that strategy, LS&Co. has pledged to reduce water use for manufacturing in areas of high water stress by 50 percent by 2025 – the first step to ensuring we use only as much of the resource as can replenish naturally” (28 Aug).
From Ikea to Gap, firms aim to use scarce water more wisely: “From growing cotton for textiles to manufacturing drinks and ensuring consumers have enough water as well, efficient water use is high on the agenda, representatives of popular brands said during opening events at World Water Week in Stockholm. “Gap Inc. sees water as a human right,” Lisa Hook who works on sustainable innovation for Gap Inc. told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “We can’t do business where there is no water.” Cotton is a thirsty crop and it takes about 1,000 gallons of water to make one pair of jeans, Hook said. The global apparel industry also contributes about 20% of the pollution in fresh water sources around the world from its laundries, mills and other facilities, she added” (28 Aug).
PVH chief appointed to UN Global Compact Board: “PVH Chairman and CEO Emanuel ‘Manny’ Chirico has been appointed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres to the United Nations Global Compact Board” (28 Aug).
IMG Reliance, CMAI join hands to launch sustainable sourcing project Su.Re: “IMG Reliance and the Clothing Manufacturers Association Of India have together launched a project to develop a sustainable sourcing policy for consistent prioritising and utilising certified raw materials that have a positive impact on the environment. The initiative called Su.Re is the first and the largest such initiative by the Indian fashion industry. Brands like Spykar, Westside, Trends, Shoppers Stop, fbb, House of Anita Dogre and Lifestyle and Max have joined the movement” (27 Aug).
How thredUP is driving the circular fashion movement with AI: “Fresh on the heels of a $175 million raise, thredUP is poised to capitalize on the growing $24 billion second-hand market through its use of artificial intelligence to bring efficiencies and scale to every area of its operations , while fueling the circular fashion trend among traditional retail brands with the launch of its “resale as a service” offering” (27 Aug).
‘Sustainable’ homeware retailer receives US$100M investment: “Retailer of ‘sustainable’ home goods Boll & Branch has received a US$100 million investment from private equity firm L Catterton’s flagship buyout fund, with the aim of accelerating expansion of the company’s retail and wholesale businesses, alongside support for its direct-to-consumer business” (27 Aug – from Ecotextile News, subscription required to read full article).
Could this be how we make fast fashion sustainable? “Could the Reformation be showing us the future of fast fashion? With their annual sustainability report and partnership with THRED UP they're certainly leading the way” (27 Aug).
Nordstrom’s new ‘Sustainable Style’ section of its website helps customers shop for responsibly produced clothes, home goods, and beauty products: “Nordstrom just launched Sustainable Style— an online shopping category that consists entirely of responsibly-made products. The featured items are sustainably sourced, manufactured in factories that meet higher social or environmental standards, and/or give back” (26 Aug).
NEWS & REPORTS
H&M Foundation opens Global Change Award 2019: “Today, the non-profit H&M Foundation opens the fourth round of its annual innovation challenge Global Change Award. With over 8,000 entries from 151 countries since 2015, it´s the go-to competition for circular innovation and has been named the Nobel Prize of fashion. It provides powerful funding and yearlong coaching to innovators who come up with solutions to spark the shift towards a circular fashion industry, protecting the planet and our living conditions. This year there´s an extra eye on ideas within digitalization. The applications period is open until 17 October” (29 Aug).
Sustainable fashion: Good for the world, but worth the price? “Some sustainable fashion brands are betting helping shoppers track a garment’s ‘story’ can justify higher prices” (28 Aug).
It’s become harder & harder to understand what “sustainable” means: here’s what to watch out for: “To paraphrase the title of a recent Fashion Law article, the problem with “sustainability” is that — on its own — it doesn’t really mean anything. The word has become an umbrella term and, much to the benefit of large corporations, one without a clear definition” (27 Aug).
While the rainforest burns, we need to know where our leather comes from: “Brazil is the second biggest exporter of beef supplying 20% of the world’s beef (second only to America). It follows that Brazil’s cattle rangers are supplying the same proportion of the world’s leather. The fashion industry must take responsibility for the leather handbags, shoes and accessories contributing to the deforestation of the rainforests” (27 Aug).
Is ‘sustainability’ a fashion scam? “But the idea of ‘sustainability’ has arguably more to do with branding one’s event or business, than with ethical and conscious practices. I am still figuring out what it really stands for in fashion, as the efforts are often confusing and contrarian. Let’s just say it is important to call one’s business “sustainable” today, even though one isn’t fully sure if the business is truly sustainable or not” (27 Aug).
Australia recycles paper and plastics. So why does clothing end up in landfill? “The prime minister, Scott Morrison, recently announced a fund of $20m to grow Australia’s recycling industry and a commitment to ban the export of plastic, paper, glass and tyres. While this has been lauded as a step in the right direction, it does beg the question: what about Australia’s growing textile waste problem? More than 501m kg of unwanted clothing ends up in landfills across the nation each year. This doesn’t include the 94m kg exported overseas” (27 Aug).
Five weird and wonderful ways nature is being harnessed to build a sustainable fashion industry: “Here are five ways nature is being explored by individuals, research teams and industry to help make fashion more sustainable. Scientists are uncovering and exploiting underlying mechanisms and models found in nature to design new materials, processes and products as well as systems of production for the future. These range from traditional to contemporary processes that use low or high-tech methods, practised by artists in their studios to scientists in labs or artists and scientists working together collaboratively” (27 Aug).
India rides the sustainability wave to transform its fashion industry: “The government of the country started the Project Sure with the goal of reducing the environmental impact in its factories. The initiative counts with the support of the principal industrial groups” (27 Aug).
How sustainability became a luxury value: “There are doubts about whether the [G7 Fashion] Pact, which is both vague and lofty in its goals, can really have an impact on fashion. Fashion’s premium on fast-paced trends and globalized consumerism are qualities that can run anathema to environmental concerns. Nonetheless, it’s quite a turnaround to see so many fashion companies take the threat of the climate crisis so seriously. Regardless, the Pact seems like a somewhat sudden shift in the priorities of the luxury industry, which seems to have put a sudden spotlight on environmental issues” (26 Aug).
Shutting down fashion weeks is not the answer: “Extinction Rebellion (XR), a socio-political movement is calling for London Fashion Week (LFW) to be cancelled. They plan a series of mass civil disobedience events starting September culminating in a symbolic “funeral” for the death of catwalks everywhere. I share the sentiment, but think differently” (23 Aug). [Ed’s note: by Fashion Revolution co-founder Orsola de Castro.]
CCC unconvinced by new worker safety initiative: “A new building safety initiative launching today in India, which promises to “build on the learnings and experiences” of the Bangladesh Accord, has been questioned by Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) which says that the very brands and retailers participating are those which shied away from committing to the Accord in the wake of Rana Plaza. (28 Aug Aug – from Ecotextile News, subscription required to read full article).
CSR violations not to be treated as criminal offence: Sitharaman: “"CSR violations... not be be treated as criminal offence and will be civil liability," Sitharaman, who also holds the charge of the corporate affairs ministry, said Industry has expressed concerns over penal provisions for non-compliance with Corporate Social Responsibility requirements in the amended Companies Act, 2013” (23 Aug).
Sri Lankan unions demand withdrawal of anti-worker labour law: “Sri Lankan trade unions held massive protest demonstration in Colombo in front of the labour ministry on 21 August 2019 demanding withdrawal of the unified employment law proposed by the government” (22 Aug).
Aluminium waste to treat textile waste water in Sri Lanka: “Twinery, the innovation arm of MAS Holdings, recently signed a licensing agreement with the Colombo Science and Technology Cell of the University of Colombo to implement at the MAS Fabric Park a technology developed in Sri Lanka to use aluminium waste for treating textile industry waste water. The closed-loop model process converts the waste into bricks” (26 Aug).
SUSTAINABLE FASHION JOBS
[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: SSC Manager for China Sourcing Office (Shanghai)
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)
* CIEL Textile Company: Sustainability Officer (Mauritius)
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)
* Lojas Renner: Sustainability Environmental Analyst (Shanghai)
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)
* QHQ: Sustainability and CSR Technologist (London)
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.”
* 11 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, 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: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
* 21 – 25 October, Turin: International Labour Standards and Corporate Social Responsibility: “course offered by the International Training Centre of the ILO.”
23 October, Dhaka: Higg FEM 3.0 training: Training by Sustainable Textile Solutions (STS) – Those interested in attending should contact: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
26 November, Dhaka: Higg FEM 3.0 training: Training by Sustainable Textile Solutions (STS) – Those interested in attending should contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
11 – 12 December, Istanbul: Chemical Management - ZDHC: Training by Sustainable Textile Solutions (STS) – Those interested in attending should contact: email@example.com
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.”
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.