Brands in this issue include: Asos (saving the planet), H&M (accused of greenwashing), Net-A-Porter, Asos, and Buho (retailers changing sustainable fashion), Stella McCartney (making new clothes by liquifying old ones), White Stuff (to source sustainable cotton as part of Fairtrade pledge), and more.
Recently released reports:
In general news:
Better Cotton Initiative joins UN Charter for Climate Action
Why the fur industry is betting on influencers
“Sustainability is a new class of design”
Campaigners call for action as ‘fast fashion’ devastates the planet
Growth continues as labels set sights on sustainability
The new breed of sustainable synthetics
Can rented clothes save the fashion industry (and the planet)?
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) acclaimed test winner by Stiftung Warentest
Première Vision to spotlight sustainability in New York
The supply chain
Bangladesh: rated among 10 worst countries for workers; calls for chemical management database to avert fatalities
Cambodia: new rules on contracts and compensation; new HRW submission on child labour in Cambodia
India: the plight of women pulling threads from sarees; Punjab government working on labour regulatory framework with ILO
Manufacturers in this issue include: Blackhorse Lane Ateliers and Saitex (denim going green), and more.
Sustainable fashion jobs: 7 new jobs listed this issue (at Burberry, C&A, Kenneth Cole, Marc Fisher Footwear, Solidarity Center, and TAL Apparel).
Quotes of the week:
“For years commerce has appealed to peoples’ desire to feel “special”, without having to go to the bother of actually achieving anything (which might take a bit of time and effort), by kidding them that the money being prised from their hot little hand isn’t just a basic transaction but rather a celebration of the buyer’s singularity (the trend for personalisation of products, whereby you can stare at your own face on a mug in the morning and fall asleep on a pillow printed with it at night has long amused me).” Julie Burchill, on sustainable fashion (07 Jul).
“Offering something that people need or creating desire for a new product are crucial to grow sales. Offering something cheap just isn’t enough any more.” Molly Johnson-Jones (05 Jul).
By Stephen Frost, CUHK Business School, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.
BRANDS & RETAILERS
Guys, Asos is trying to save the planet: “Their goals are to make their clients recycle old clothes that they do not use. They also aim to reduce packaging and all pre-consumer waste. Meaning production waste. Asos is working with various organizations to make sure the material they use is sustainable and have the least amount of waste possible” (07 Jul).
H&M’s sustainability efforts slammed by regulators, labeled “greenwashing” in latest PR disaster: “As fashion brands continue to engage in sustainability efforts, scrutiny from environmentally-conscious consumers has also increased. When Burberry announced an unexpected commitment to environmental sustainability, the public was skeptical. People were quick to point out the company incinerated over $38 million in goods less than a year ago. It’s pretty difficult to get away with greenwashing these days. H&M was no exception. The media slammed the company for promoting its Conscious collection with little indication of how it was more sustainable” (06 Jul). [Ed’s note: article also raises the Norwegian Consumer Authority’s investigation into H&M’s sustainability claims with regard to the use of the term ‘conscious’.]
H&M quizzed on sustainability claims: “H&M is being asked by Norwegian authorities to give more detail on the materials and processes used to make its “sustainable” Conscious collection. Norway’s Consumer Authority said H&M is not being specific enough in explaining how clothes within the collection are more sustainable than its other products” (08 Jul).
Buying sustainable fashion isn’t always practical – here’s how some retailers are changing that: “By now it’s no secret that the fashion industry has to find a way to become more sustainable — but whose responsibility is it to make that happen? Is it on the consumer to avoid fast fashion and buy less, but better? Is it up to brands to alter their supply chains to cut down on emissions, water usage and waste? Or is it on retailers to buy and highlight eco-friendly labels?” (06 Jul). [Ed’s note: article focuses on Net-A-Porter, Asos, and Buho.]
Adidas by Stella McCartney is making new clothes by liquifying old ones: “The tech, called NuCycl, “essentially turns old clothing into new, high-quality raw materials for the creation of new clothes,” says Stacy Flynn, cofounder and CEO of Evrnu, the company that developed the technology. It’s one attempt to deal with the growing problem of waste from fashion. In a year, the world throws out an estimated 92 million tons of textile waste. In a little more than a decade, that number could increase by 60%. “Our goal is to convert that garment waste into new fiber, so that we eliminate the context of waste in the supply chain,” Flynn says” (05 Jul).
White Stuff to source sustainable cotton as part of Fairtrade pledge: “White Stuff has pledged to exclusively use sustainably sourced cotton by 2024 as part of its “Doing Good Stuff” sustainability project. The British fashion and lifestyle retailer plans to become a more sustainable brand by increasing its use of recycled materials, and will launch The Fairtrade Sourced Cotton range for autumn/winter 2019 that will be in line with its new sustainable strategy” (04 Jul).
NEWS & REPORTS
Better Cotton Initiative joins UN Charter for Climate Action: “Better Cotton Initiative joins UN Charter for Climate Action. In a bid to make the fashion industry a more sustainable place, the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), a non-profit organisation that promotes better standards in cotton farming, is the latest signatory of the United Nations Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action” (08 Jul).
Why the fur industry is betting on influencers: “Global fur sales fell to $33 billion last year, down from $40 billion in 2015. Now, Saga Furs, which provides fur for numerous high fashion houses, is turning to influencers like Bryanboy to turn the tide” (08 Jul – subscribers only).
Review FashionSustain: “Sustainability is a new class of design”: “The idea was reiterated so often at FashionSustain that designers began to sound like broken records. But it’s a relatively new concept in sustainable fashion: consumers no longer have to sacrifice design quality for social and environmental responsibility. Or as FashionSustain moderator Geraldine de Bastion put it: “Sustainability is a new class of design”” (08 Jul).
Campaigners call for action as ‘fast fashion’ devastates the planet: “Over the past decade, Argentina has been plagued by extreme weather, including severe droughts and flooding, events which have only been accelerated and made worse by the climate cri07 JUlsis facing the planet. But though most people are pointing fingers at the energy industry and deforestation as the main culprits behind this phenomenon, there is another sector of the economy that is having a huge environmental impact: the fashion industry” (06 Jul).
Review Neonyt: Growth continues as labels set sights on sustainability: “Though historically smaller than some of Berlin Fashion Week’s bigger trade shows, Neonyt managed to fill three floors of the power station-turned-showroom with more than 170 brands from around the world that passed sustainability checks for social responsibility and ecology” (05 Jul).
The new breed of sustainable synthetics: “There’s a new clutch of synthetic fabrics light and airy enough for summer – and many come with clever sustainability credentials, too” (05 Jul).
Can rented clothes save the fashion industry (and the planet)? “To date, the fashion industry’s response to the global climate crisis has been tiny, incremental improvements to what is overall a hugely damaging industry. Our addiction to new clothes is trashing the planet, but brands need to make more and more stuff if they want to grow their businesses and satisfy shareholders. Sustainability just isn’t good for the bottom line” (05 Jul).
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) acclaimed test winner by Stiftung Warentest: “GOTS has been ranked best in the test “Traceability of Clothing with Textile Seals” conducted by the German consumer product testing organisation Stiftung Warentest. “We looked at 5 seals for sustainable clothing […] the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) convinced us the most”, writes Stiftung Warentest. GOTS is the only one of the tested certifications to offer complete transparency and traceability while complying with strict social and ecological criteria at all stages of production – from field to finished textile” (03 Jul).
Première Vision to spotlight sustainability in New York: “This July’s edition of fashion trade fair Première Vision New York will focus on sustainability and online sourcing, presenting visitors with 213 exhibitors from 22 different countries, including 32 newcomers, 14 CFDA-selected local manufacturers and 73 design studios” (03 Jul).
THE SUPPLY CHAIN
Bangladesh in 10 worst countries for workers: “Bangladesh is among the 10 worst countries for workers in 2019, according to a global rights index prepared by the International Trade Union Confederation. The other countries are: Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Zimbabwe, showed the index titled Global Rights Index 2019” (05 Jul).
Database urgent for chemical management to avert fatality: “The government is yet to introduce a comprehensive national database or policy to manage and monitor the increasing amount of chemicals used in the country’s textile sector, said chemical experts yesterday. Eventually, workplace safety, reducing accident and casualty and curbing work-related diseases are being hindered, they said” (05 Jul).
Cambodia issues new rules on contracts and compensation: [Ed’s note: of interest are the comments on undetermined duration contracts and seniority payments.] “Seniority is counted once every six months (a “semester”) – from January to June and from July to December. Employees who have worked for at least one month and who work up until the end of a semester are entitled to seniority payments equalling seven and a half days of average wages and other benefits each semester, for a total of fifteen days’ ongoing seniority payments per year. The payments for each semester are to be made during the second wages payment period for June and December, respectively; this occurs between the 1st and 7th of the following month” (07 Jul).
Submission by Human Rights Watch to the Committee on the Rights of the Child concerning Cambodia: “Human Rights Watch research in Cambodia exposed one of the human rights perils of unauthorized subcontracting in the supply chains of global apparel companies. Our research carried out between April 2018 and January 2019, and published in March 2015, documented instances of child labor in violation of local and international labor laws in at least 11 garment factories, most of which were tiny unauthorized subcontractor factories” (05 Jul).
The Odisha women who pull out threads for 500 minutes every day: “Using her index finger and thumb, Pradhan pulls the extra threads hanging out of more than 75 sarees in a day. If the saree is made of the relatively more expensive polyester silk, she uses a knife to cut the loose threads. “I spend around five to seven minutes on each saree,” she says. “In case I pull too much thread and end up damaging the fabric, I will have to reimburse the entire cost of the saree to the contractor. I have to be very careful.” At the rate of Rs 2 per saree, Pradhan earns up to Rs. 150 every day. An error is likely to cost her nearly five days of her wages. “By the end of the [eight-hour] day, I can barely feel any sensation in my fingers,” she says” (07 Jul).
Punjab govt working for fortifying labour regulatory framework: “Additional Secretary Punjab Labour & Human Resource Department Dr Sohail Shehzad said on Saturday that the provincial government, in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), was working to strengthen regulatory framework, upgradation of institutional capacities and quality of the labour inspection system” (06 Jul).
Why blue jeans are going green: “As consumers become ever more concerned about environmental and ethical issues, pioneers in the global denim industry are cleaning up its act. Blackhorse Lane Ateliers, which describes itself as a "craft jeans maker", has an open-door policy. “Anybody can walk in here, even without an appointment,” says Han Ates, the founder of the London-based small business. “Through that we create transparency.” Transparency has become a buzzword in fashion of late, with labels keen to show their best practice, both in terms of how well they treat staff and how environmentally friendly they are” (04 Jul). [Ed’s note: article also focuses on Saitex.]
SUSTAINABLE FASHION JOBS
[New listings or updated information marked with *]
Adidas: Manager Sea Program Operations (Portland, OR)
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)
BSR: HERproject Associate (Hong Kong)
BSR: Manager, Supply Chain Sustainability (New York)
* Burberry: Sustainable Manufacturing Analyst - Chemicals And Water Management (Florence)
* C&A: Sustainable Supply Chain Auditor (Istanbul)
C&A Foundation: Data Analyst (Gurgaon)
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: Program Officer (Washington DC)
Groupe ETAM: Sustainability & Compliance Manager Asia (Hong Kong)
H&M: Sustainability Developer (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)
* Kenneth Cole: Fall Internship Program – CSR (New York)
Kmart Australia: Sustainable Materials Manager (Melbourne)
Kmart Australia: Community Relations Advisor (Melbourne)
* Marc Fisher Footwear: Production Compliance Manager (Greenwich, CT)
Marc Fisher Footwear: Compliance Coordinator (Greenwich, CT)
Miles: Area Vendor Compliance/Sustainability (Norderstedt)
Nakd: Corporate Social Responsibility Internship (Gothenburg)
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)
* Solidarity Center: Senior Specialist for Organizing – Trade Union Strengthening Department (Phnom Penh)
* Solidarity Center: Deputy Country Program Director (Phnom Penh)
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)
* TAL Apparel: Environmental Sustainability Executive (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 *]
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. Click here to register.
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.”
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.