What was already apparent in May continued in June as well: The fashion industry has recognised the importance of its sustainability efforts - commercially and for the sake of the environment - and even after Corona, fashion companies are making them a part of their budgets. The industry also seems to be recovering from the pandemic and finding its way back to a ‘new normal’ where sustainability is a given. FashionUnited has put together 18 sustainable initiatives that were announced in June 2020 alone.
Cooperations & Projects
The Policy Hub, a joint effort of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, the Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry and the Global Fashion Agenda, have published a green recovery plan for Europe. The proposal presented to European authorities, which follows the European Commission’s recently issued recovery plan, outlines seven principles necessary for a green recovery for the industry.
A number of leading fashion companies including Burberry, Stella McCartney, H&M and Inditex have signed a pact committing to working towards a circular economy in response to the widespread impact of Covid-19. They join a number of policymakers, CEOs, and other influential figures calling on businesses and governments across the world to join the cause by driving circular economy solutions for fashion, plastics, food, as well as other industries. The pact, led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, sets out goals including ensuring that clothes are made using safe and renewable materials that last longer and are ‘made to be made again’.
Google has announced a partnership with WWF Sweden to help create an environmental data platform that will enable more sustainability in the fashion industry. The new data-enriched, decision-making platform aims to help drive responsible sourcing decisions in the fashion industry, by combining Google Cloud’s technical capacity, including big-data analysis and machine learning with WWF’s knowledge of assessing raw materials. The results will give brands and retailers “greater visibility of impact within their supply chain” and help them make better sourcing decisions.
The British Fashion Council (BFC) has launched its Institute of Positive Fashion (IPF) website in recognition of World Ocean Day, to celebrate its new partnership with Parley for the Oceans. The Institute of Positive Fashion, which was announced last September, has been developed to help the British fashion industry lead in the goal to be more “resilient, circular, equal and fair through global collaboration and local action,” explained BFC. The launch of the website brings together global resources, information and campaigns to help businesses increase knowledge and embrace sustainable and people led best practices.
Amazon has launched a 2 billion dollar fund to support the development of sustainable technologies and services to help itself and other companies become net zero carbon by 2040. The Climate Pledge Fund will invest in companies spanning different industries such as transportation and logistics, energy generation, and manufacturing.
Fashion Brands & Retailers
Puma has announced the launch of its new biodegradable lifestyle and performance collection as part of its latest biodesign project. The “Design to Fade” collection, which was released in collaboration with Dutch project Living Colour and Swedish design studio Streamateria, explores sustainable alternatives for making and dyeing textiles. While some items are dyed using bacteria, others are made with closed loop, degradable materials that can be manufactured locally.
Gucci is continuing its momentum to be a luxury leader in sustainability, launching Gucci Off The Grid as part of its Gucci Circular Lines. The initiative comes as the Florentine fashion house expands into circular production collections and making good on its promise to be mindful of the environmental impact of its products. The range, which includes luggage, accessories, footwear and ready-to-wear, is gender neutral, uses organic recycled materials, all of which can be traced from renewable and sustainable sources. Among these is Econyl, a regenerated nylon that uses pre and post consumer waste.
Triarchy Denim has aimed to reduce unnecessary waste in denim production since it rebranded with a sustainable focus in 2017. The brand is getting another step closer to its objectives with its upcoming Fall 2020 collection, which will see one of the industry’s first lines of bio-stretch denim. Traditionally, stretch denim consists of a polyester or plastic element to achieve the elasticity consumers want in their jeans. Many brands have found that creating denim with recycled plastic works to create sustainably produced denim, however Triarchy’s bio-stretch denim achieves a new goal.
Sustainable footwear and accessories brand Allbirds is launching its first underwear range. The collection, which comprises boxer briefs, shorties, thongs and bralettes, is made from the brand’s propriety yarn Trino TM, a blend of responsibly sourced eucalyptus tree fibres, ZQ-certified Merino wool and elastane. The waistband is made from bio-nylon and rPET, or recycled plastic. The new product is OekoTex100 certified, meaning no harmful chemicals were used in its production.
Stockholm-based sustainable tights brand Swedish Stockings is going full circle by converting discarded stockings into statement tables. While it is not yet possible to make new tights out of discarded tights, at least they get a new life as a stylish furniture item, which was developed in collaboration with furniture designer Gustaf Westmanis. The tables are now available on the company’s website and come in five different variations, all round in shape, from the size of a sideboard to a dining table, and in various heights.
British start-up The Devout is urging consumers to do “fashion differently” with the launch of what they are calling the UK’s first fashion rental subscription, offering a monthly service to help counteract the throwaway nature of the fast fashion industry. The monthly subscription service is tapping into consumers’ desires for more sustainable fashion choices, offering British shoppers five items from everyday essentials to high-end party wear, which can be swapped at the end of the month for five fresh items.
Online luxury fashion platform Farfetch has launched an online fashion footprint tool to help consumers understand how to track the environmental impact of their purchasing decisions and how their pre-owned and conscious fashion choices can impact the planet. The tool, part of Farfetch’s ongoing commitment to sustainability, is available on its website and will allow consumers, when choosing to make a purchase, to consider which materials can reduce the environmental impact of their purchase, and to see the environmental savings of incorporating pre-owned purchases into their wardrobes.
Worn Again Technologies has raised up to 8 million euros in new equity capital from investors which the company will use to further develop its recycling technology. The London-based company is developing a process which aims to close the loop in the end-of-use polyester and polycotton/cellulose textile industry. This new investment provides over two years of operating capital and will be used to accelerate and complete the company’s technology development through the R&D phase, as well as provide the base financing required in the next phase of bringing the technology to market.
Online fashion retailer Zalando has realised the need of the hour and maintains sustainability as a focus area even in times of the coronavirus crisis. As the first platform worldwide, Zalando is therefore setting itself Science Based Targets (SBTs) for reducing carbon emissions in line with the 1.5 degree Celsius target of the Paris Agreement. By 2025, the company aims to cut 80 percent of carbon emissions from its own operations and 40 percent from private label production; 90 percent of Zalando's key partners are also requested to set themselves SBTs by 2025.
German textiles discounter KiK, a member of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles since 2015, has published its Roadmap for 2020 to 2022 a few days ago; a progress report including action plans for a sustainable textile supply chain, which all members must submit annually. This year, due to the changed situation caused by the Corona crisis, members are granted a 12-month extension, which KiK did not require.
Companies, Education, Fairs & Awards
Condé Nast has partnered with the Centre for Sustainable Fashion (CSF) at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London (UAL) to launch a sustainable fashion glossary, which will be an authoritative global resource for understanding sustainable fashion and the fashion industry’s role in the climate emergency. The glossary forms part of the company’s commitment to becoming a voice for change and is designed to strengthen and develop sustainability literacy by providing guidance on key sustainability terms and emerging topics.
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- 33 Sustainability efforts of the fashion industry in April and May 2020