THIS ISSUE

Brands in this issue include: Burberry and Puma (targets validated by Science Based Targets), Carlings (will shoppers spend money on digital-only fashion), Fast Retailing (reducing single-use plastic), Jean Paul Gaultier (may backtrack on fur ban), Mother of Pearl (designing sustainably is not that hard), and more.

In general news:

  • Why we should all be washing our clothes less

  • Environmentally friendly and fast fashion do not go together

  • German government pushing for weak company monitoring

  • What to do about cotton?

  • Branding has a moral responsibility

  • Swedish Fashion Council cancels Stockholm Fashion Week

  • Sustainability everywhere at Outdoor Retailer

The supply chain

  • Bangladesh: factory fire kills six; factories pollute rivers

  • Cambodia: negotiations over severance pay break down

  • India: government inspects garment factories after pills expose; factory fire

  • Myanmar: union calls for police to act after strikers attacked

  • Pakistan: factory fire

  • Vietnam: apparel sector fears costs surge as electronics moves in

Manufacturers in this issue include: HeiQ (Swiss environmental award), Tinctorium Bio (synthetic biology for dyeing), and more.

Sustainable fashion jobs: No new jobs listed.

Quotes of the week:

  • “I don’t feel like you can say you’re interested in sustainability if you’re not thinking about the full picture, It’s really important for me that we don't just say, ‘here’s a piece of recycled polyester and now we’re sustainable’.” Amy Powney, creative director, Mother of Pearl (03 Jul).

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

BRANDS & RETAILERS

“It isn’t that hard” to design clothes sustainably, says Mother of Pearl creative director: “It’s only possible to create ethical fashion if you pay attention to all elements of the business says Amy Powney, creative director of the fashion brand, which is collaborating with Net-A-Porter to make clothes from cruelty-free silk. Mother of Pearl has aimed to address all elements of the business to make it as sustainable as possible” (03 Jul).

Fashion icon Jean Paul Gaultier says he could go back on fur ban: “French fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier said Wednesday he could go back to using fur if he could be sure it was entirely traceable” (03 Jul).

Fast Retailing to reduce single-use plastic up to 85% by end 2020: “As part of its effort to create a sustainable business with consideration for the environment, Fast Retailing today announces plans to eliminate the use of unnecessary plastic throughout its supply chain and to reduce the amount of single-use plastic handed to customers at its Group stores worldwide, such as shopping bags and product packaging, by 85%, or around 7,800 tons annually, by the end of 2020” (03 Jul).

Will shoppers spend real money on digital-only fashion? “what if you could buy a fashion look that had zero environmental impact? That was the premise of Norwegian fashion brand Carlings, which launched a digital-only collection called Neo-Ex late last year, and just won multiple awards for the idea at this month’s Cannes Lions Festival. That’s right, virtual clothes – no manufacturing, no shipping, with the electricity produced with green energy, and all income going directly to WaterAid. Carbon footprint – zilch” (30 Jun).

People don’t care if their clothes are new anymore: “The advent of the luxury resale market—or “re-commerce” or consignment or whatever you want to call it—has changed what secondhand means. In today’s economy, pre-owned goods are a booming business, and they’re on the cusp of even more explosive growth. The resale industry hit a milestone today as shares of the RealReal, a secondhand luxury retailer, started trading on Nasdaq after a blockbuster IPO. Priced at $20 a share, it jumped almost 50% in the first few minutes of trading after raising $300 million in the IPO” (29 Jun).

How fashion companies can collaborate to tackle their biggest source of carbon pollution: “Burberry and Puma have become the latest of 12 major apparel and footwear companies to announce that their targets have been validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). Almost twenty more major companies in the sector are committed to doing so” (28 Jun).

NEWS & REPORTS   

We should all be washing our clothes less, not more: ““Could you wear the same T-shirt for a week without washing it?” inquired my editor, recently. "No, thank you,” I told him and assumed I’d put the matter to rest. Yet there I was, almost a week later, still wearing the same white tee” (04 Jul).

You can’t call yourself environmentally friendly if you buy fast fashion: “More so than ever, people are claiming to love the environment. Everyone’s going to climate protests, becoming vegan, buying reusable coffee cups and advocating the removal of single-use plastics. But continuing to spend hundreds on cheap clothes while still maintaining you’re “ethical” is just hypocritical. You can't call yourself environmentally friendly if you still buy fast fashion – here’s why” (03 Jul).

Germany: Economic Ministry pushes for weak company monitoring: “The German Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy is trying to weaken measures that would track how well companies in the country identify and respond to possible human rights abuses in their supply chains. The coalition government should stand firm at a meeting of secretaries of state taking place today and adopt a monitoring system that holds German companies to rigorously high standards when it comes to sourcing materials responsibly. The companies should ensure that their supply chains are free of human rights abuses from start to finish – in line with internationally recognized norms” (03 Jul).

Why couture could be the most sustainable fashion week of all: “Vogue speaks to Ronald van der Kemp, Xuan-Thu Nguyen and Iris van Herpen about championing sustainability at haute couture fashion week” (02 Jul).

Why cotton is the world’s most polluting fabric - and what you can do about it: “But why is the fluffy cotton crop so bad for the planet? And what can we do about it? Glamour spoke to Charlotte Turner, Head of Sustainable Fashion & Textiles at sustainability and communications consultancy Eco-Age to get the low-down” (02 Jul).

Branding has a moral responsibility. Yes, really: “Tish Evangelista, partner at the San Francisco agency Character, argues that branding can’t be superficial anymore. It has to promote products that “enhance lives and society as opposed to just adding more waste and clutter” (01 Jul).

Swedish Fashion Council cancels Stockholm Fashion Week: “In a move that should come as no surprise, the Swedish Fashion Council has canceled Stockholm Fashion Week for the foreseeable future. The next event was scheduled to take place on Aug. 27–29” (01 Jul).

  • Sweden has pulled Stockholm fashion week to ‘explore more sustainable options’ so have they solved the global industry’s woes? ““Stepping away from the conventional fashion week model has been a difficult, but much considered, decision,” said Jennie Rosén, the Swedish Fashion Council’s CEO. “We need to put the past to rest and to stimulate the development of a platform that is relevant for today’s fashion industry.” It’s true that the entire fashion industry is in a position of great flux. Insider chat has recently focused on how fashion shows can exist in a business that has changed beyond belief and as sustainability becomes fashion’s biggest focus. But also the way we consume shows is being questioned. Do fashion shows still have a place? When live streaming means anyone can see a show from their bed / desk / seat on the bus is it really necessary for the fashion pack to drop everything and descend en masse on one city and one venue?” (03 Jul).

A current of sustainability runs through Outdoor Retailer: “More than 1,400 brands and 250 exhibitors featured products both new and old with recycled content, products that offered durability and products made with environmentally sound processes” (27 Jun).

THE SUPPLY CHAIN

Bangladesh

Six killed in factory fire: “Six employees, including a textile engineer, of a spinning mill in Gazipur were killed in a factory fire on Tuesday. Around 2:15pm, the fire erupted at a unit of the Auto Spinning Mills in Sreepur’s Nayanpur and soon spread to different units of the factory” (04 Jul).

Bangladesh’s garment factories pollute rivers: “As Bangladesh becomes one of world’s top clothes producers, waste from factories dirties waterways and impacts poor” (01 Jul).

Cambodia

Over 400 garment workers to protest: “More than 400 workers are set to stage a protest for “fair compensation” on Monday against Now Corp, a garment factory in Kandal’s Ang Snuol district that allegedly terminated their contracts abruptly” (01 Jul).

  • Factory talks fall through: “Negotiation between representatives of Now Corp – a garment factory in Kandal’s Ang Snuol district – and its workers fell through on Monday as some of the latter remained adamant that the firm’s latest compensation offer was still too low. Now Corp allegedly terminated the workers’ contracts abruptly last Wednesday after months of order scarcity. It offered each worker a sum of money as indemnity, ranging between $320 and $450” (02 Jul).

India

India inspects garment factories after pills expose: “Authorities in southern India have started inspecting garment factories and spinning mills after a Thomson Reuters Foundation investigation found workers were being given unlabelled pills for period pains to meet productivity targets” (03 Jul).

Flames engulf godown of garment factory: “A major fire broke out in a godown of a garment factory in New Madhopuri early on Sunday. Nobody was injured as the two-storey godown of KK Kapoor Hosiery was closed at the time” (01 Jul).

Myanmar

Union calls for police to act after strikers attacked: “A labour union has called on the Yangon regional government to take action against a factory owner who they allege hired men to assault strikers on Friday night, the workers told a press conference on Monday” (04 Jul).

Pakistan

Garment factory catches fire in Karachi: “A garment factory in Kangoli Compound, Sector 12A of New Karachi Industrial Area, caught fire early Sunday morning. Within a short span of time, the fire gained intensity and the machines, fabrics and garments were burnt to ashes. After four hours of struggle, the fire department managed to extinguish the fire and started the cooling process which took several more hours” (01 Jul).

Vietnam

Vietnam’s apparel sector fears cost surge as tech giants move in: “Major apparel makers are halting or slowing their expansion in Vietnam amid worries that the trade war will indirectly push up labor costs as tech giants like Apple seek to shift production out of China” (02 Jul).

MANUFACTURERS   

How synthetic biology is dyeing the future of fashion: “Your favorite pair of jeans began as strings of cotton yarn, bobbing and weaving through scalding hot water and vats of indigo dye. The cotton runs through the dyeing cycle nearly a dozen times; the cotton fibers first take a yellow, then green, and finally a rich, blue color. This process has remained pretty much the same for over a hundred years. But it’s about to change. Producing indigo relies on toxic chemicals and reducing agents. Tinctorium Bio, currently in the eighth Indie Bio Accelerator class, have created a method to produce indigo by leveraging synthetic biology – not chemicals” (02 Jul).

HeiQ awarded 2019 Swiss Environmental Award for HeiQ Clean Tech: “Swiss textile innovator HeiQ wins the 2019 Swiss Environmental Award for its HeiQ Clean Tech dyeing process” (02 Jul).

How Chinese digitisation is changing the apparel manufacturing game: “Just a few years ago, China was a low-wage country that used low labour costs and an abundant labour force as the pillars of its economic strategy. This has changed drastically over the last five to ten years, with the cost of labour rising here as well and a shortage of labour. Today, the Chinese manufacturing industry is banking on digitisation and high-tech solutions in many areas, for example in the fashion and garment industry” (01 Jul).

SUSTAINABLE FASHION JOBS

[New listings or updated information marked with *]

Adidas: Manager Sea Program Operations (Portland, OR)

Adidas: Director SEA, Field Operation - North Asia (Guangzhou)

Adidas: Manager Sustainability Materials FW (Ho Chi Minh City)

Aldi: Corporate Responsibility in Supply Chain (Salzburg)

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

Amazon: Japan Environmental Manager (Tokyo)

ASOS: Ethical Trade Assistant (Hong Kong)

BSR: HERproject Associate (Hong Kong)

BSR: Manager, Supply Chain Sustainability (New York)

C&A Foundation: Data Analyst (Gurgaon)

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

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

Canada Goose: Corporate Citizenship Department Coordinator (Toronto)

Canada Goose: Sustainability Programs Specialist (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)

Chanel: Sustainability Project Coordinator – Internship (London)

Circle Economy: Project Manager - Dutch Circular Textiles and Apparel (Amsterdam)

Circle Economy: Project Manager Circular Textiles and Apparel (Amsterdam)

Cotton made in Africa: Junior Project Manager for Verification Management (Hamburg)

Decathlon China: Supplier Quality Engineer (Shenzhen)

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

Fjällräven: Brand Experience Coordinator (Stockholm)

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

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

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS): GOTS Public Procurement Specialist (EU) (Stuttgart)

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)

GoodWeave: Director of Communications (Washington DC)

GoodWeave: Senior Program Officer (Washington DC)

Groupe ETAM: Sustainability & Compliance Manager Asia (Hong Kong)

H&M: Sustainability Developer (Yangon)

H&M: Sustainability Expert Industrial Relations and Wage (Yangon)

Hugo Boss: Internship, Sustainability Communication and Event Organization (Metzingen)

Hugo Boss: Sustainability & Innovation Manager (Metzingen)

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

Impactt: Senior Consultant – Social Auditing (London)

Impactt: Marketing Manager (London)

Kathmandu: Sustainability Specialist (Canterbury)

Kmart Australia: Sustainable Materials Manager (Melbourne)

Kmart Australia: Community Relations Advisor (Melbourne)

Marc Fisher Footwear: Compliance Coordinator (Greenwich, CT)

Miles: Area Vendor Compliance/Sustainability (Norderstedt)

Nakd: Corporate Social Responsibility Internship (Gothenburg)

Nanushka: Sustainability Manager (Budapest)

New Era Cap: Senior Manager, Global Social Compliance (Buffalo, NY)

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

Nike: Director of Supplier Management - Technology and Services (Portland, OR)

Nike: Lead Global Supplier Relationship Manager (Portland, OR)

Nike: Global Supplier Relationship Manager (Portland, OR)

Nike: Community Impact Director Latam (Mexico City)

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

Pentland Brands: Corporate Responsibility Business Partner (Nottingham)

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

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

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

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

REI: Senior Administrative Assistant, Brand Stewardship & Impact (Kent, WA)

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

Samil Vina International: Compliance, CSR (Tây Ninh)

Sustainable Apparel coalition: Operations Coordinator, Europe (Amsterdam)

Sustainable Apparel Coalition: Senior Manager, Public Affairs (Amsterdam)

Sustainable Apparel Coalition: Senior Manager, Higg Brand & Retail Tool (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)

Sustainable Apparel Coalition: Senior Manager of Verification (San Francisco, New York, Amsterdam, or Hong Kong)

Tommy Hilfiger: Communications Manager Sustainability (Amsterdam)

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

VF: Manager, Worker Rights (Hong Kong)

VF: Specialist, Supply Chain Sustainability (Shanghai)

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

WSR: Director of Outreach and Communications (New York)

CONFERENCES & SEMINARS                                        

[New listings or updated information marked with *]

09 July, Webinar: Biosynthetics E-Learning Series Part 2: “Biosynthetics can play an important role in replacing fossil-based resources with renewable feedstock. At the same time, there are various sustainability challenges also associated with the use of renewable feedstock.”

11 July, Webinar: Alternatives Assessment’s Past, Present, & Future (safer chemical substitution): “The field of alternatives assessment is being driven by increasing policy and market demands to substitute chemicals of concern in process and products, as well as the need to help decision-makers in industry and government make smarter, safer choices about chemicals, materials and technologies used.”

22 – 23 July: New York: 2019 Sourcing & Sustainability Summit: “This is the only sourcing summit focused 100% on footwear.”

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.

* 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.”

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.”

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?”

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”

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.

12 – 14 November, San Jose, California: BSR Conference: Note: this link is only to sign up for updates; registration will begin in May.

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 skeeze, 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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