THIS ISSUE

Brands in this issue include: Anta (first Chinese sportswear brand to join BCI), Boohoo (helping workers in its Leicester suppliers), H&M and Zara (tricking shoppers with vague sustainability claims), Levi’s (taking lead on climate commitment), Rodebjer, Holzweiler and Stand Studio (Scandinavian brands making strides on sustainability), UpChoose (wants to help new parents buy fewer kids’ clothes), Victoria’s Secret (models sign open letter to end sexual misconduct), Zurita (leading on inclusive fashion), and more.

In general news:

  • Rio Ethical Fashion promotes dialogue on sustainability in the fashion industry

  • Sustainability roundtable in Hong Kong: 6 trailblazers on fashion’s footprints

  • Why sustainable swimwear is everywhere now

  • British people won’t return items costing less than £11.70, research finds

  • Katharine Hamnett: Fashion tax is ‘stupid’

  • In era of hyper-consumption and in midst of climate change crisis, fast fashion must address its failings

  • Textiles sector must be more transparent about chemical use, NGO says

  • The impact of fast fashion on women in developing nations

  • Project uses blockchain to track clothes and combat slavery

The supply chain:

  • Bangladesh: transparency tool provides Bangladeshi worker insight

  • India: Textile workers’ plea to withdraw New Education Policy; and Telangana to map cotton supply chain to stamp out child labour

Manufacturers in this issue include: Novel (recycling process for digital printing), PurFi (global expansion of circular fiber production), and more.

Sustainable fashion jobs: 11 new job listed this issue (at C&A, Canada Goose, JCPenney, Michael Kors, MV Sport, Pegas Nonwovens, Primark, Tommy Hilfiger, Uniqlo and Unravelau).

Quotes of the week:

  • “Large global corporate retailers are not seeking to change their fundamental business model or create cultures of sustainability. That would require re-working their entire business structure.” Anika Kozlowski on fast fashion’s failings (06 Aug).

  • “None of the major brands are true leaders in the field.” US NGO Green America on transparency and data about the chemicals that are being used in the textiles sector (05 Aug).

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

BRANDS & RETAILERS

Zara uncovered: Inside the brand that changed fashion: “Pablo Isla recently laid out plans for Zara’s future and said it was all about a digital and sustainable transformation. But is it possible for a company to be sustainable, when the entire business is about getting shoppers to buy as much fashion as possible?” (08 Aug).

Why the fashion industry must get ahead of its massive pollution problem: “Levi Strauss has taken the lead on climate commitment – but where does the rest of the fashion industry stand today? asks Todd Paglia, executive director at Stand.earth”(08 Aug).

H&M, Zara, and other fashion brands are tricking shoppers with vague sustainability claims: “If you’ve been working to curb your environmental footprint, H&M’s Conscious Collection seems like a dream come true. For great prices you can restock your closet with fashionable staples at low prices: a $4.99 jersey top, a $34.99 lyocell dress, $29.99 mom jeans. But look closely at the product descriptions, and there is no specific information about why these items are better for the environment than anything else you might buy from H&M. You have to trust that H&M is not just using sustainability as a marketing ploy. Now, the Norwegian Consumer Authority (CA), the country’s equivalent to the U.S. Consumer Protection Bureau, is calling H&M out” (07 Aug).

100 models sign open letter to Victoria’s Secret to end sexual misconduct: “Over 100 models have signed an open letter to Victoria’s Secret to express their concern for the safety and wellbeing of models and young women who aspire to model for the lingerie brand” (07 Aug).

BCI welcomes first Chinese sportswear brand: “Chinese sportswear brand Anta Sports Products Ltd., has become a member of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI); and is the first from the country’s growing sportswear sector to commit. The company, based in Xiamen, says this decision has been made in accordance with the execution of its “sustainable development philosophy””(06 Aug).

3 Scandi labels making real strides on the sustainability front: “Copenhagen Fashion Week CEO Cecilie Thorsmark tells Vogue its three-year plan aims to ramp up the sustainable development of the industry, in part by introducing standards that brands that wish to showcase at Copenhagen Fashion Week will be required to meet. “We wish to use our role and our voice to make sustainability more attractive and are dedicated to speeding up the industry’s transition,” she said. With that in mind, Vogue spoke to three Scandinavian brands [Rodebjer, Holzweiler and Stand Studio] heading to the Danish capital this week to hear about their latest collections – and what they're doing to reduce their environmental impact” (06 Aug).

This ‘sustainable consumption’ platform wants to help new parents buy fewer kids’ clothes: “When you buy kids’ clothes from UpChoose, you can exchange them later for bigger ones, while the old ones are cleaned and sold to someone with a smaller child” (06 Aug).

Boohoo boss John Lyttle explains what they are doing to help workers in its Leicester suppliers: “The boss of the £1.1 billion turnover Boohoo website has described the steps they are taking to ensure their Leicester suppliers get paid on time and give their factory workers a fair deal. CEO John Lyttle said a 20 strong team based in Leicester was helping ensure its suppliers in the city were treating staff ethically and paying them a fair wage” (05 Aug).

Progress patchy in drive to close loop on fashion: “Oliver Balch reports on how progress on circularity by the likes of Burberry, Zara, and C&A is not widely replicated” (05 Aug).

Inclusive fashion: why it is the next wave of conscious consumerism, and a label leading the way in China: “Fashion is more inclusive in its choice of models and acceptance of body types but few global brands other than Tommy Hilfiger cater to special-needs customers. That’s why radically inclusive Spanish label Zurita’s adverts featuring Chinese women with disabilities as models is game changing” (05 Aug).

African-made luxury fashion is making a comeback: “A new wave of designers is building sustainable businesses that have learned from the failures of their glitzy predecessors. Brands like Studio 189, Lemlem and Brother Vellies are quietly building scalable luxury businesses that put quality first” (05 Aug).

NEWS & REPORTS   

Rio Ethical Fashion promotes dialogue on sustainability in the fashion industry: “Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was once the site of significant environmental discussions, such as Eco-92 and Rio+20 and was a popular venue for significant sustainability discussions. In June 2019, the city hosted its first big event to create awareness and spread the values of sustainable fashion in Brazil at the Rio Ethical Fashion. The two-day event, supported by C&A Foundation, discussed a variety of topics such as new circular business models, transparency and new fibres” (08 Aug).

Sustainability roundtable: 6 trailblazers on fashion’s footprints: “With manufacturers and consumers becoming increasingly aware of the fashion industry’s potential to wreak havoc on the environment, we gathered a group of sustainability trailblazers with intimate knowledge of the supply chain for a round-table discussion of some of the most pressing issues facing the industry” (07 Aug). [Ed’s note: from Hong Kong.]

Why sustainable swimwear is everywhere now: ““If you're a designer, you should really understand where your materials come from, what your supply chain looks like and making sure that the clothes that you're producing are made ethically. That starts a sustainable circle of life,” says The Upcycle Project founder Gabriella Smith. "And sustainability, ultimately, starts with the student through education”” (07 Aug).

British people won’t return items costing less than £11.70, research finds: “Returning unwanted items can be a real pain, especially if the returns policy involves more steps than the cha-cha-cha. Often, returning products is put right to the back of the queue and as research has discovered, some people just don’t bother at all. Women won’t return items under £8.56 while men won’t return anything under £15.70. That means that us Brits have items costing £11.70 or less dotted around our home which we don’t actually want” (07 Aug).

Lobbies in eco fashion: sum, add and dictate rules: “For fashion to move forward in sustainability there is only one method: turn around the system. To the date, sustainable fashion doesn’t exist. You can use organic cotton, but you can’t control dyes, and at the same time you end up transporting the garments by plane, with its due amount of CO2 emissions” (06 Aug).

Katharine Hamnett: Fashion tax is ‘stupid’: “Fashion designer Katharine Hamnett has described proposals by MPs to impose a 1p-per-garment fashion tax on the industry as “stupid”. The suggestion was made by a Commons committee in an effort to fund better recycling of clothes. It came amid growing fears that the industry is increasingly dominated by throwaway “fast fashion”. But Ms Hamnett said she feared the garment industry would just end up paying workers less to absorb the tax. Instead, she is in favour of EU legislation making it mandatory for goods from outside Europe to meet the same standards required by the region” (06 Aug).

In era of hyper-consumption and in midst of climate change crisis, fast fashion must address its failings: “Recently Zara introduced a sustainability pledge. But how can Zara ever be sustainable? As the largest fast-fashion retailer in the world, they produce around 450 million garments a year and release 500 new designs a week, about 20,000 a year. Zara’s fast-fashion model has been so successful it has inspired an entire industry to shift — churning out an unprecedented number of fashion garments year-round” (06 Aug).

Textiles sector must be more transparent about chemical use, NGO says: “There is a need for more transparency and data about the chemicals that are being used in the textiles sector, US NGO Green America has said. And disclosure of this data should also include their effects on health and the environment throughout the lifecycle of the textile/garment” (05 Aug).

The impact of fast fashion on women in developing nations: “Those currently employed in the industry already know how to run their businesses, and they know what workers need. Paying a true living wage, providing adequate time off and paid leave, and ensuring strict workplace safety codes within the factory are all good starts. There are existing woman-run companies using fashion to provide fair work for women such as Dorsu in Cambodia and Mayamiko in Malawi. These companies challenge the myth that the slave-wage business model is the only way to be profitable” (05 Aug).

Project uses blockchain to track clothes and combat slavery: “What if by buying a t-shirt the consumer could be sure that it was not produced with slave labor? Even better: what if it were possible to check through which workshops that garment went and know how much the workers received at each stage of the making” The answers to these questions are the premises of Tag Alinha, an Alinha Institute initiative launched two months ago that maps dressmakers and workshops and connects them to clothing brands using blockchain, bitcoin cryptocurrency technology” (02 Aug – in Portuguese).

Textile shows in NYC attract business with sustainable options: “From July 16 through 25, New York City was home base for an array of different textile shows. During these summer events, attendees showed consistent interest in materials that can support a sustainable business” (01 Aug).

Fostering collaboration for sustainability at Texworld USA and Apparel Sourcing USA: “At the Javits Center in New York City, event producer Messe Frankfurt held its summer 2019 edition of Texworld USA and Apparel Sourcing USA July 22–24 with a large push toward sustainability” (01 Aug).

THE SUPPLY CHAIN

Bangladesh 

Transparency tool provides Bangladeshi worker insight: “Fashion Revolution, which first collaborated with the NGO Microfinance Opportunities in 2016 to introduce the Garment Worker Diaries (GWD) – a research project documenting the lives of garment workers across Southeast Asia – has now released data relating to a new cohort of 1,300 workers throughout Bangladesh” (08 Aug – from Ecotextile News – subscription required to read full article).

India  

Textile workers’ plea to withdraw New Education Policy: “In her address, Ms. Thivya alleged that the NEP would only promote child labour and bonded labour practices at a time when workers were fighting for their rights . In the name of skill development training, it would force children to work throughout the day as it attempted to revive the kula kalvi system. It would affect poor children in villages at all levels, she alleged” (07 Aug).

Indian state to map cotton supply chain to stamp out child labor: “The southern state of Telangana will this month begin a three-year project with the [ILO] to map its cotton growing farms and spinning mills to ensure its main industry is ethical, senior labor officials said on Monday” (05 Aug).

MANUFACTURERS

Novel recycling process for digital printing: “A new washing system for digitally printed fabrics that can recycle wastewater and then re-use it to remove colorants, reactants and finishing agents drew interest from retailers and textile mills at the recent ITMA thanks to considerable savings in water, energy and waste” (08 Aug – from Ecotextile News, subscription required to read full article).

PurFi poised for global expansion of circular fiber production through key partnership with Concordia Textiles: “PurFi, the U.S. developer of high-end products derived from rejuvenated textile waste streams, announces a joint venture with Belgium-based manufacturing partner Concordia Textiles. The new formation will be PurFi Manufacturing Belgium, headquartered in Waregem, Belgium, with management provided by Joy Nunn of PurFi and Carl Baekelandt of Concordia. The JV presents integration of ground-breaking sustainable textile technologies and enduring manufacturing practices in the creation of the first global circular fiber company with the ability to drastically minimize the irresponsible disposal of textile waste worldwide” (06 Aug).

New Israeli technology purifies water from toxic formaldehyde: “Israeli researchers have developed a new technology to purify water from the toxic substance formaldehyde, the Israel Institute of Technology (Technion) reported on Tuesday … The new Israeli technology is based on a montmorillonite clay -- a natural mineral with a very large surface area, which gives it a rare adsorption capacity” (06 Aug).

ZDHC programme welcomes trio of contributors: “ZDHC has announced the addition of three new contributors to its Roadmap to Zero Programme, bringing the organisation’s growing pool of partners and contributors to 138, spanning 24 locations” (05 Aug – from Ecotextile News, subscription required to read full article).

SUSTAINABLE FASHION JOBS

[New listings or updated information marked with *]

Achille Pinto Spa: Sustainability Manager (Como)

Adidas: Manager Sea Program Operations (Portland, OR)

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)

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)

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)

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)

Good On You: Ethical Brand Ratings Analyst (England – remote work an option)

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)

John Lewis & Partners: Assistant Compliance Manager (London)

Kenneth Cole: Fall Internship Program – CSR (New York)

Kmart Australia: Human Rights Manager (Melbourne)

Kmart Australia: Sustainable Materials Manager (Melbourne)

Lululemon: Community Programs Lead AU/NZ (Melbourne)

Marc Fisher Footwear: Compliance Coordinator (Greenwich, CT)

* 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)

QuizRR: Internal Sales Representative (Stockholm)

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

Reset Carbon: Senior Consultant – Corporate Sustainability (Hong Kong)

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

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)

TAL Apparel: Environmental Sustainability Executive (Hong Kong)

* Tommy Hilfiger: Communications Manager Sustainability (Amsterdam)

Tommy Hilfiger: Corporate Responsibility Coordinator (Amsterdam)

* Uniqlo: Sustainability Officer (Bangkok)

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

* Unravelau: Internship Sustainability Researcher (Utrecht)

VF Foundation: Director (Denver, CO)

VF: Sustainability Trainee (Stabio)

VF: Sustainable Operations Assistant Manager (Shanghai)

VF: Manager, Worker Rights (Hong Kong)

VF: Specialist, Supply Chain Sustainability (Shanghai)

Wearable Collections: Drivers, Route Helpers and Market Coordinators (New York)

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 Martin Redlin, 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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