Brands in this issue include: ABLE (interview with CEO on transparency), C&A (interview with Jeff Hogue), Ksenia Schnaider (teaming up with Isko for eco-friendly denim), Legend & Vibes (aims to be first vegan brand nationwide), Max Mara (going circular), Noni B (under fire over staff complaints), Pull&Bear (music, fashion and sustainability), Puma (streaming with First Mile for sustainable sportswear), Sainsbury’s, Primark, Burberry, H&M, Inditex, Kering, & LVMH (disclosing workforce data in new report) and more.
Reports released this week:
“Serum immunoglobulin levels and complement function of tannery workers in Bangladesh,” by Laila N. Islam, et. al.
Sitting on pins and needles: A rapid assessment of labour conditions in Vietnam’s garment sector, by Anti-Slavery International
In general news:
From ‘nasty thrifts’ to R350 billion industry: Could the secondhand clothing industry eventually kill off fast fashion?
Exactly how bad is fashion for the planet? We still don’t know for sure
Squaring up: how Insta-fashion is changing the way we shop
Indonesia Fashion Week 2019 promotes eco-friendly fashion
Ingrid Newkirk: the animal activist is still angry at 70
A tale of a ballet flat, boba tea and fast fashion
Going Green: Microfibers contributing to plastic pollution in global waterways
#LovedClothesLast talk with Orsola De Castro
Protesters take on NYC anti-fur bill outside City Hall
In the supply chain:
Bangladesh: no government-inspected factory has eliminated high-risk safety hazards; millions at risk in Dhaka of fire and earthquakes; another factory fire; ILO calls for better female worker nutrition; government offers low-cost fund to improve factories; workers protest; adversities faced by garment workers every day; and a new academic paper on long-term effects of chromium exposure on male tannery workers
Lesotho: workers threaten strike over work classification
Sri Lanka: MAS Holdings in drive to boost women in top management
Vietnam: A new report from Anti-Slavery International finds significant risk of forced labour; government ratifies ILO Convention on employment for workers with disabilities
Manufacturers in this issue include: Arvind (moves to water and wastewater treatment), Asia Pacific Rayon (ramping up viscose production), BlockTexx (clothes to plastic), Modern Meadow (no-animal leather), and more.
Sustainable fashion jobs: 16 new jobs listed (at Adidas, Allbirds, Amazon, Asics, Burberry, Eco-Age, Gant, Garcia, Hop Lun, H&M, Kering, Ralph Lauren, s.Oliver, Tchibo and Zalora).
Quotes of the week:
“Incremental approaches are sometimes needed, but there are way too many of them right now. Jason Kibbey [CEO of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition] once called this ‘pilot-washing.’ You create a pilot of something but there’s no intent to scale.” Jeffrey Hogue, global chief sustainability officer of C&A (01 Apr).
“If it weren’t such important data, it would be funny.” Maxine Bédat on fake data and information gaps pertaining to fashion’s social and environmental impact (01 Apr).
“We think of supply chain being far away. Please remember that our wardrobes are in the supply chain too. We need to take equal responsibility to do our bit when the clothes reach us and further.” Orsola De Castro (28 Mar).
“I think It’s made of oranges ... It doesn’t have to look like a plant to be made from a plant." Dakota Fanning, on an H&M dress made with Orange Fiber fabric (28 Mar).
By Stephen Frost, CUHK Business School, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.
BRANDS & RETAILERS
C&A’s Jeff Hogue on ‘pilot-washing’ and unconventional collaborations: “I’m particularly excited about what unconventional collaboration means in the circular economy. Every industry and every business can work together to harness the opportunity. This is one of the first times in my career where there are so many opportunities that we haven't even imagined yet. It makes me excited about how a business actually rises to the occasion to define what an unconventional collaboration looks like and who the unusual suspects could be” (01 Apr).
New brand aims to be the first vegan, sustainably sourced fashion line available in stores nationwide: “[Legend & Vibes is] vegan, locally made, ethically produced, women run, and sustainably sourced” (30 Mar).
Pull&Bear x Primavera Sound present first part of sustainable collection: “Blurring the limits between music, fashion and sustainability, Pull&Bear, young fashion chain of the Inditex Group, and Primavera Sound, one of the most important urban music festivals in Europe occurring in May and June 2019, have joined to launch “a global project that promotes sustainability through music and streetwear” (30 Mar).
ISKO and Ksenia Schnaider team on an eco-friendly capsule: “Ksenia Schnaider is the latest brand to launch a complete denim range made with famous manufacturer ISKO using their iconic ISKO Earth Fit fabric. ISKO Earth Fit is made with organic and recycled cottons and recycled polyester” (29 Mar).
ABLE – the brand disrupting the fashion industry: “I had the opportunity to interview ABLE’s CEO, Barrett Ward, about an initiative they recently launched that’s taking transparency and empowerment to a whole new level and hopefully challenging other companies to do the same” (29 Mar).
Max Mara goes green with upcycled eco-padding for coats: “Max Mara is going circular and embracing upcycling in the production process with its CameLuxe recycled fabric offcuts project” (28 Mar).
Puma and First Mile will launch a sustainable sportswear collection: “Puma and First Mile will launch a sustainable sportswear collection in 2020 consisting of shoes and apparel featuring utility pockets and outdoor elements. First Mile supports more than 4,000 people from low-income communities in Haiti, Honduras and Taiwan in its collection network” (28 Mar).
Australia’s Noni B under fire after staff complaints: “SDA National Secretary Gerard Dwyer said the union had been flooded with complaints by Noni B employees on a range of workplace issues including cuts to part time hours and take-home pay, health and safety concerns, consistent understaffing and pressure to meet unrealistic sales targets” (27 Mar).
Companies move towards greater workforce transparency following investor demand: “90 global companies, including 21 of the world’s 100 largest firms, have responded to investor calls for more consistent and comparable workforce data – a request aimed at improving the quality of jobs worldwide and helping to tackle inequality and poverty [including in supply chains]” (27 Mar). [Ed’s note: fashion brands/retailers disclosing are Sainsbury’s, ABF (Primark), Burberry, H&M, Inditex, Kering, & LVMH. See full report here.]
NEWS & REPORTS
From ‘nasty thrifts’ to R350 billion industry: Could the secondhand clothing industry eventually kill off fast fashion? “It’s now predicted that the meteoric rise of the secondhand clothing industry could eventually kill off the global fast fashion business. But what about in South Africa?” (01 Apr).
Exactly how bad is fashion for the planet? We still don’t know for sure: “Fashion brands know they need to reduce their environmental footprint. But misinformation and a lack of solid data to measure progress are hampering the industry’s effort to clean up its act” (01 Apr).
Squaring up: how Insta-fashion is changing the way we shop: “Instagram has become the window display for a new generation of savvy shoppers – and it’s changing the way we consume style, for good and bad. Leah Harper meets some of the pioneers at the forefront of Insta-fashion” (31 Mar).
Indonesia Fashion Week 2019 promotes eco-friendly fashion: “The Association of Indonesian Fashion Designers and Entrepreneurs (APPMI), the organizer of the ongoing Indonesia Fashion Week (IFW) 2019, has announced its commitment to promoting sustainability in the industry by supporting eco-friendly fashion” (30 Mar).
Ingrid Newkirk: the animal activist is still angry at 70: “She is determined to “completely revolutionise the clothing industry”, making wool as unacceptable as fur, which Peta targeted using adverts of naked supermodels. She also wants people to take an “all-encompassing” view of animals, instead of focusing on vegan “doughnuts and cupcakes”” (29 Mar).
A tale of a ballet flat, boba tea and fast fashion: “At one point in my career, I was in the low-end fashion shoe business. We produced shoes with a target retail of $19 – these were synthetic shoes with synthetic linings and soles, made in China. To get to that target, we aimed for a cost of around $8. We bought from a US importer, who in turn bought the shoes direct from the factory for $5, and then paid duties and shipping to the US. The factory had to buy the materials, pay the workers and still make a profit. Are you starting to see the insanity in all of this?” (29 Mar).
Going Green: Microfibers contributing to plastic pollution in global waterways: “Columbia University researcher Beizhan Yan spent three years working on a study looking at the impact of tiny pieces of plastic known as microplastics on the water and marine life in rivers near New York City. What he found is microplastics act like a magnet for toxic materials” (28 Mar).
#LovedClothesLast talk with Orsola De Castro: “#Lovedclotheslast. It is a hashtag that defines the behavioural shift, Fashion Revolution has been relentlessly working towards, over the last 6 years. Suffice it to say that when Orsola De Castro, Creative Director & Co-Founder of Fashion Revolution joined a group of fellow-panelists to talk about looking after clothes, the 60-minute workshop seemed like crochet of quotable quotes and handy tips” (28 Mar).
Protesters take on anti-fur bill outside City Hall: “About 150 protesters gathered outside City Hall (in NYC] on Thursday to plead with lawmakers to fur-get about passing a bill that would ban the sale of new animal skins” (28 Mar).
‘Save our jobs’: furriers protest against proposed ban on fur sales in NYC: “Angry furriers descended on City Hall Thursday to protest proposed city council legislation to ban the sale of fur apparel and accessories” (29 Mar).
What an NYC fur sales ban would mean for shoe retailers: “It remains to be seen whether the municipal law, if passed, would extend to items like mink-trimmed sandals and rabbit fur boots, but recent fur bans in several cities across California offer a glimpse at what could be to come” (29 Mar).
60 firefighters called to huge warehouse fire in Beckenham: “Eight fire engines have raced to the textile recycling warehouse on Cricket Lane” (27 Mar).
Episode 156: Can sustainable be dapper? “In episode 156, Kestrel welcomes Garik Himebaugh, the founder at Eco-Stylist, to the show. An online marketplace for eco-conscious and ethically made men’s clothing, Eco-Stylist was founded to search for an answer to the question, “can sustainable be dapper?”” (26 Mar – 33:40-minute podcast).
THE SUPPLY CHAIN
Bangladesh could take over workplace safety despite ‘shocking unreadiness’: “Exclusive: government’s own data shows no factory it inspects has eliminated high-risk safety hazards” (01 Apr).
Millions in Dhaka at risk of fires, earthquakes: Experts: “The violation of building codes and defiance of safety issues during construction of high-rises have exposed around 18 million people in and around the capital to fires and earthquakes, say experts” (01 Apr).
Houses, shops gutted in separate fire incidents in Gazipur: “Md Jakir Hossain, senior station officer of Joydebpur Fire Station, said that a fire broke out on the 1st floor of six-storey ‘Gorib and Gorib Sweater Factory’ in Bhogra area around 3am on Monday” (01 Apr).
ILO: Ensure nutrition for female RMG workers: “On Sunday, International Labour Organization Country Director, Tuomo Poutiainen, called for improving working conditions in the ready-made garment sector in Bangladesh” (01 Apr).
Govt offers low-cost fund for safer RMG: “The government has formed a €50 million fund to give out low-cost loans for garment factory remediation with the view to enhancing workplace safety in the country's main export-earning sector. Each garment factory will get loans of up to €1 million from the fund at 7 percent interest rate. In exceptional cases, the amount of loan will be increased to €3 million for massive upgrades” (01 Apr).
RMG workers protest for dues in Malibagh : “Workers of two garment factories [Luman Group and Lufa Group] have blocked Malibagh’s Chowdhury Para intersection to demand two months of back pay” (29 Mar).
The daily adversities of garments workers: “Out of the women they surveyed, three most commonly reported events they experienced in life are natural disasters (71.83 percent), fire/explosions (43.33 percent) and exposure to sudden accidental death (30.15 percent)” (29 Mar). [Ed’s note: by one of the authors of a study published last year: “Traumatic life events and development of post-traumatic stress disorder among female factory workers in a developing country,” International Journal of Social Psychiatry, here.]
UNI stands with Bangladeshi garment workers protesting harassment and unfair firings: ““Workers should not have to face harassment, coercion, and blacklisting simply for wanting fair pay and safe jobs, has to stop,” said Mathias Bolton, Head of UNI Commerce. “We stand with the NGWF’s call for the respect of workers’ rights in Bangladesh”” (29 Mar).
“Serum immunoglobulin levels and complement function of tannery workers in Bangladesh”: An academic study evaluating long-term effects of chromium exposure on the physical health and immunological parameters of male tannery workers (Mar 2019).
Lesotho textile workers threaten strike over work classification: “Lesotho workers in textile factories doing heavy-duty work threatened to strike from March 22. They say they are wrongly categorised and should be on higher wages. The Unite union is calling on the government to reclassify these workers” (29 Mar).
Sri Lanka’s MAS Holdings in drive to boost women in top management: “MAS Holdings, one of Sri Lanka’s largest apparel producers, is on a drive to bring more women into upper management, an official said” (30 Mar).
Sitting on pins and needles: “[A new report from Anti-Slavery International has found] significant risk of forced labour, child labour and child slavery in the textile and garment industries in Vietnam” (29 Mar). [Ed’s note: see full report here.]
Vietnam ratifies ILO Convention on employment for workers with disabilities: “Vietnam has made an important step in the development of its labour market by ratifying ILO Convention 159 on Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment for Disabled Persons, further proving the country’s commitment to eliminating employment discrimination against people with disabilities” (26 Mar).
‘What we’ve been looking for’: How Australian startup BlockTexx is turning discarded clothes into raw, commodity-level plastic: “[BlockTexx has] developed their breakthrough SOFT (separation of fibre technology) process, which is successfully able to reclaim 98% of resources from cotton and polyester garments, the two most-used fabrics in the textile world” (01 Apr).
How Arvind Ltd is betting on newer businesses to move up the value chain: “Technical textiles are now Arvind’s bigger bets, along with water and wastewater treatment” (31 Mar).
Sachin GIDC units under GPCB scanner over pollution: “Many textile mills and chemical units located in Sachin GIDC have come under the radar of Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) for releasing effluents and hazardous chemical waste in storm drains” (31 Mar).
APR plots Indonesian viscose-rayon to take over world fashion: “Asia Pacific Rayon, or APR, is one of the largest integrated producers of viscose-rayon in Asia. The sustainably-produced fibre is commonly used in outerwear – from casual shirts to coats – and now the company wants it to be used in haute couture as well. It also believes that the increasingly fine fabric can boost Indonesia's textile exports” (29 Mar).
This biotech startup is making a new alternative to leather, no animals needed: “Take a 360-degree look inside Modern Meadow’s lab, where the company is engineering yeast cells to create a material that can be customized for a host of useful applications” (28 Mar).
SUSTAINABLE FASHION JOBS
[New listings or updated information marked with *]
* Adidas: Manager Sustainability Materials FW (Ho Chi Minh City)
Aldo: Sustainability Analyst (Montreal)
* Allbirds: Intern, Sustainability (San Francisco)
* Amazon: Fashion Sustainability Program Manager (London)
Amazon: Social Responsibility, Senior Program Manager (Shenzhen, China)
Amazon: Japan Environmental Manager (Tokyo)
* Asics: Summer Internship - Sustainability Coordinator (Irvine, CA)
Asos: Sustainable Sourcing Administrator (London)
Bestseller: Sustainability Lead for Owned & Operated Buildings and Indirect Procurement (Aarhus, Brande or Copenhagen)
BSR: Manager, Supply Chain Sustainability (New York)
BSR: Human Rights Director (Paris or San Francisco)
* Burberry: Programme Manager, Corporate Responsibility (Hong Kong)
Burton: Sustainability Analyst (Burlington, Vermont)
Chanel: Group Director, US Corporate Social Responsibility (Piscataway, New Jersey or New York)
Columbia Sportswear: Product Sustainability Manager (Happy Valley, Oregon )
Common Objective: Content Editor/Writer (London)
Common Objective: Product Designer (UX/UI) (London)
Common Objective: Office Manager (London)
* Eco-Age: Sustainability Practice – Account Director (London)
Fair Trade: Brand Partnerships Program Manager, Apparel and Home Goods (Oakland, California)
* Gant: Global Sustainability Coordinator (Stockholm)
* Garcia: Sustainability Manager (Alblasserdam)
* Hop Lun: Sustainability Manager (Hong Kong)
* H&M: Global Sustainability Controller (Hong Kong)
* H&M: Internal Communications and Sustainability Responsible (Sydney)
Impactt: Marketing Manager (London)
* Kering: Sustainability & Ethics Analyst (Paris)
Levi Strauss: Sr. Analyst, Global Product Sustainability (San Francisco)
Lululemon: Social Responsibility & Compliance Manager (Vancouver)
Lululemon: Director, Product Sustainability (Vancouver)
Lululemon: Director, Product and Materials Sustainability (Vancouver)
Nike: Sustainability Professional II (Jakarta)
Organic Cotton Accelerator: Program Officer (Amsterdam area)
Patagonia: Head of Supply Chain Environmental Responsibility (Ventura, California)
PVH: Manager Environmental Sustainability & Product Stewardship (New York)
PVH: Corporate Responsibility Coordinator, Programs & Operations (New York)
PVH: Sr Manager, Corporate Responsibility (Transparency & Engagement) (New York)
* Ralph Lauren: VP, Sustainability (Lyndhurst, NJ)
* s.Oliver: Senior Global Sustainability Manager Environment & Chemical Compliance (Rottendorf)
Selfridges: Senior Sustainability Manager (London)
Sustainable Apparel Coalition: Senior Manager of Verification (San Francisco, New York, Amsterdam, or Hong Kong)
Sustainable Apparel Coalition: Senior Manager of Higg Facility Tools (San Francisco, New York, Amsterdam, or Hong Kong)
* Tchibo: Junior Manager Nachhaltigkeit/Sustainability (m/w) (Hamburg)
VF: Manager, Sustainable Products Data (Denver, Colorado)
Wolverine: Product Sustainability Manager (Rockford, Michigan)
Zalando: Director Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability (Berlin)
* Zalora: Regional Sustainability Manager (Singapore)
CONFERENCES & SEMINARS
[New listings or updated information marked with *]
08 – 11 April, Budapest: 4th Global Sustainable Fashion Week: “press conference, international conferences, workshops, eco fashion shows and cultural programs.”
* 09 April, Shenzhen: Sustainable Apparel, Footwear & Textile Industry Forum: A forum by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition to increase manufacturers’ environmental and social labor impact across their supply chains.
09 – 10 April, Amsterdam: Sustainable Apparel and Textiles Conference: “How brands can transform factories, increase transparency and implement circularity in fashion and textile supply chains.”
10 April, New York: Building a Global Human Rights Program: “By Elizabeth Pulos, an Associate Manager of Social Compliance at Macy’s.”
* 11 April, Shanghai: Sustainable Apparel, Footwear & Textile Industry Forum: A forum by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition to increase manufacturers’ environmental and social labor impact across their supply chains.
11 April, Toronto: Ontario’s Textile Diversion Symposium: “this Symposium will delve into various textile diversion strategies…”
17 April, Northampton, UK: Half Day Understanding REACH Training Course: “Understanding the differences between the Candidate List, Annex XVII and Annex XIV.”
19 April, New York: Principles of Fair Fashion: “This course provides an overview of what sustainability actually means and how your organization can move beyond CSR.”
23 – 26 April, Northampton, UK: 4 Day Practical Leather Technology Training Course: “Ideal for those who are heavily involved with leather, such as supply chain staff, tannery staff, leather buyers, footwear technologists or those who need to top up their leather technology knowledge.”
24 April, Los Angles: The Future of Design Workshop: Presented by Sustainable Apparel Coalition for fashion designers and product developers.
24 – 25 April, Brussels: Circular - Bio-based - Digital: the Keys to Europe's Textile Future: Annual Textile ETP Conference and General Assembly.
02 May, Dhaka: Bangladesh Fashionology Summit: Transparency through technology, technology for decent work and environment, future skills development.
08 May, Manchester, UK: Time for Change – Facing up to fashion’s sustainability and ethical challenges: ASBCI’s 2019 Spring Conference.
15 – 16 May, Copenhagen: Copenhagen Fashion Summit: “Join us this May when fashion’s most visionary and innovative minds gather to discuss the most critical issues facing our industry and planet.”
03 – 06 June: Detroit: SB’19 Detroit: “Navigate your brand’s sustainability journey to deliver business success,” by Sustainable Brands.
10 – 12 June, London: Ethical Corporation’s 18th Responsible Business Summit Europe: “It’s time to Lead: Innovate, Engage and Collaborate.”
12 June, Northampton, UK: 1 Day Chemical Compliance and Product Safety Training Course: “On this chemical course, our in-house chemical expert will guide you through the various legislations and chemicals in a simple step-by-step process, ensuring that you are aware of your obligation and how to comply.” (For the leather industry.)
18 – 20 June, Minneapolis, USA: Circularity 19: “Circularity 19 will bring together more than 500 thought leaders and practitioners to define and accelerate the circular economy.”
22 June, Barcelona: Planet Textiles 2019: “The 10th edition of Planet Textiles will be a seminal event on sustainability in the textile manufacturing sector and will see an unrivalled gathering of experts from the entire fashion value chain.”
08 September, Dhaka, Bangladesh: GOTS Bangladesh Seminar 2019: For sponsorship or speaking opportunities Sumit Gupta at the link.
15 – 18 October: Vancouver: Textile Exchange Sustainability Conference: Textile Exchange call for breakout presentations.
05 November: Dhaka, Bangladesh: Sustainable Apparel Forum: 2nd edition of a forum facilitate by the Bangladesh Apparel Exchange.
12 – 14 November, San Jose, California: BSR Conference: Note: this link is only to sign up for updates; registration will begin in May.
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.