In 2013, after years of efforts to develop the highest standard for animal welfare in the industry, outdoor goods retailer and manufacturer Patagonia published its 100% Traceable Down Standard to provide a roadmap for other brands to meet the same high bar and prevent needless animal suffering. Patagonia says it is the only company to date to have fully implemented this rigorous standard, which it achieved in 2014.
WASTE NOT -
VWR, provider of laboratory products, services and solutions, has launched a new recycling initiative that allows U.S. customers to recycle a variety of single-use garments.Through "Gown Up, Give Back”, VWR hopes to help reduce the millions of pounds of single-use garments sent to the landfill each year. The plastic waste from these garments is recycled into resin that is used to make permanent infrastructure, including composite decking, railroad ties and drainage pipes. The recycling program provides a waste collection, shipment and recycling solution for most single-use garments as long as they are free from contamination and purchased from VWR.
MARKETING AND COMMS -
A group of angry-looking men surround a woman seated alone in the desert, and proceed to "stone" her … with flower petals, in a striking (no pun intended) new campaign by United Colors of Benetton in support of UN Women (the United Nations agency that promotes gender equality and empowerment of women), launched to commemorate the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (November 25).
SUPPLY CHAIN -
Outdoor apparel, equipment and footwear maker The North Face today unveiled the Backyard Hoodie, the newest addition to its portfolio of environmentally conscious products. In collaboration with Fibershed (which supports the creation of local textile cultures that enhance ecological balance), Sally Fox at Foxfibre®, and the Sustainable Cotton Project, The North Face designed The Backyard Hoodie with the goal of sourcing and manufacturing a product within 150 miles of its headquarters in Alameda, California.
SUPPLY CHAIN -
On Monday, Archroma, a global producer of textile dyes and specialty chemicals, launched a new range of products created from agricultural waste. In addition, the company is utilizing the latest in communications technology to enable transparency of the supply chain to consumers.
NEW METRICS -
Conservation impact investing totaled approximately $23 billion in the five-year period from 2009 to 2013, according to a new report by EKO Asset Management Partners and The Nature Conservancy’s NatureVest division.During the same period, private investments accounted for almost $2 billion of this market — an amount that is growing at an average of 26 percent annually, and is expected to reach more than $5.6 billion by 2018.
SUPPLY CHAIN -
The North Face, H&M, Eddie Bauer and several other leading international fashion, bedding and outdoor brands have adopted a third-party certification standard that can be applied to any waterfowl-based supply chain to help ensure humane treatment of animals from gosling to end product.
PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION -
Here at The North Face, we believe in making great outdoor gear in a sustainable and responsible way. That’s why we’ve set out to change the way outdoor apparel is made. We’ve set a bold goal to have 100 percent of our polyester (or 80 percent of all of the fabric we use for apparel) come from recycled content — from thousands of plastic bottles — by 2016. Repurposing plastic waste helps reduce carbon emissions and avoids using more open space for landfills.
THE NEXT ECONOMY -
Sustainable footwear is a hotbed of innovation right now for many apparel and lifestyle brands, who are looking to blend ever-smarter manufacturing efficiencies with material optimization techniques. But one enterprising startup is looking to take this to the next level — calling itself a “disruptive digital manufacturing revolution,” Lyf Shoes is looking to capture a slice of the market by handing the creative process back to the consumer.
SUPPLY CHAIN -
With the annual International Uzbek Cotton and Textile Fair scheduled for October 14th and 15th in Tashkent, retailers and apparel brands are taking action to prevent Uzbek cotton from entering their supply chains. Markets for Uzbek cotton sourced with forced labor continue to diminish as consumers become more aware of the egregious human rights violations that occur during the Uzbek cotton harvest.
SUPPLY CHAIN -
Alongside Fair Trade Month, Fair Trade USA has announced the launch of several new Fair Trade Certified™ products across new categories, including home goods, apparel and coconut.In 2014, the third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in North America partnered with 109 new companies (for a total of 915), and helped launch 455 new Fair Trade Certified products into the North American market. The growth and increased availability of Fair Trade products empowers shoppers to choose items that make a positive difference — from ensuring that factory workers have safe working conditions, to helping farmers and workers improve their communities and environment.
NEW METRICS -
“How do you get buy-in and get the resources to implement a sustainability campaign? How can you prioritize this over firehouses being shut down and teachers’ salaries? We need data and research.” — Roya KazemiOn Friday, the final day of #NewMetrics '14, Roya Kazemi — director of GreeNYC for the NYC Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability — led a candid and engaging conversation about public-private partnerships at the city level. Session attendees brought their own examples from the cities of Copenhagen, Vancouver, Lexington, North Carolina, and closer to home in Lowell and Cambridge, Mass.
ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE -
Thousands of workers took to the streets of Phnom Penh, in Cambodia, last week to protest for a near-doubling of the minimum wage for retailer workers there to US$177 (£110) a month. It seems their calls for fairer pay have sparked a response from the fashion industry, as eight leading retailers have now pledged to pay more for clothes produced there, according to the Guardian.
H&M announced two new initiatives this week centered on the betterment of its supply chains, one from the social perspective and one from the environmental.First, the apparel company signed a unique agreement with ILO, under which the partners will address industrial relations, wages, capacity-building for social partners and skills development throughout H&M’s supply chain.
H&M has teamed up with Swedfund, a Swedish company that offers expertise and financial support to emerging markets within Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe, in a rare collaboration to try to develop a more ethical Ethiopian textile industry. The main goal of the coupled effort, to be launched this fall, is to promote both high social and environmental standards in an industry which is characteristically plagued with a poor ethical standing.The possibility of a collaboration was brought to light following initial talks between the two companies, before culminating in a joint trip to examine factory conditions in Ethiopia in May.
WASTE NOT -
Last week, global closed-loop textile recycling company I:CO announced an expanded partnership with American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (AEO) to roll out its clothing and shoes recycling program in all of American Eagle’s 823 stores across the United States and Canada.As of June 14th, customers are now able to drop off used or unwanted clean clothing, shoes and textiles from any brand into the specifically marked I:CO boxes at any North American location. Participating customers will be rewarded with a text code for $5 off a pair of AEO jeans to be used in store that day. All proceeds from the program will be donated to the Student Conservation Association, one of AEO’s national charity partners.
BEHAVIOR CHANGE -
When over 1,100 garment workers died in the Rana Plaza factory collapse in April 2013, it shined an unflinching light on the untenable conditions that many in the industry have long been forced to endure. Since then, consumers, activists and other stakeholders around the world have demanded that brands take immediate action to ensure that workers are not only safe, but paid fairly while they’re constructing the clothing we wear every day.
The newest trend in social responsibility in the apparel sector emerged in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam on Monday as several of the world’s most influential clothing brands gathered to develop a roadmap to creating a more sustainable supply chain and conserve endangered forests.
PRESS RELEASE -
SEATTLE – The REI Foundation awarded a total of $410,000 to nonprofit programs dedicated to engaging younger and more diverse populations in the outdoors. Grant recipients include the Children & Nature Network (C&NN), Futuro Media Group, Outdoor Foundation and YMCA of the USA.
“The REI Foundation’s mission is to better connect the next generation of adventurers and environmental stewards with the outdoors by partnering with key organizations,” said Marc Berejka, president of The REI Foundation and REI’s director of government and community affairs. “It is our honor to support each of these programs. They recognize and promote the benefits of nature among diverse audiences, and empower youth with important outdoor leadership skills.”
PRESS RELEASE -
SEATTLE – As the nation’s leading outdoor retailer, REI works to protect the environment and the places its members love to play. Energy use is one of REI’s largest impacts on the climate, and the company has committed to having all of its electricity come from clean renewable sources.
With 26 solar electric systems generating energy and a strong program to invest in energy efficiency, REI now buys certified renewable energy certificates (RECs) as part of its strategy to green the energy that powers more than 130 stores, two distribution centers and its headquarters.