Sustainability has finally become more than just a buzzword with brands, retailers and innovative companies following through and taking responsibility. August saw brands especially becoming ambitious and setting sustainable targets for themselves in terms of water consumption, materials used and carbon emissions. Thirty-two even came together to form the Fashion Pact that wants to tackle the fashion industry’s impact on the environment. FashionUnited has put together nine such efforts that were announced in the month of August alone.
Swedish fashion retailer Kappahl announced that with the launch of its autumn collections, it has achieved its 2020 target of manufacturing 100 percent of its denim range in more sustainable fabrics and using more sustainable production processes. According to the company the “key milestone” means all denim in the new collections is produced using less water, energy and chemicals.
Irish fast fashion retailer Primark has announced a fivefold increase to its Sustainable Cotton Programme, which trains cotton farmers in environmentally-friendly farming methods, as it strives to use 100 percent sustainable cotton across all its product categories. Primark plans to train cotton farmers across three of its key sourcing countries - India, Pakistan and China by the end of 2022.
A new sustainability initiative called the Fashion Pact saw 32 of the world’s leading brands and textile companies sign up to work together to mitigate the impact of the fashion industry on the environment. The Fashion Pact coalition includes luxury, fashion, sports and lifestyle groups and brands along with suppliers and retailers, all of whom are already involved in separate environmental strategies. François-Henri Pinault, chairman and CEO of luxury fashion group Kering, unveiled the Fashion Pact to the heads of the G7.
American clothing company Levi Strauss & Co. has announced a new water action strategy. Highlights include: working with key suppliers to set and achieve specific water use targets for factories, collaborating with suppliers and other brands at the local level to develop programs that improve the long-term health of watersheds in key sourcing locations and reducing the amount of water required for cotton cultivation by partnering with the Better Cotton Initiative. The company has set a goal to reduce its cumulative water use for manufacturing by 50 percent in water-stressed areas by 2025.
American lifestyle retailer Abercrombie & Fitch announced new sustainability targets it aims to accomplish in the next few years. These goals include responsibly sourcing its materials by using either recycled fibers or fibers made with a sustainable process by 2025, reducing water use in denim by 30 percent by 2022 and instituting training programs for its vendor partners to educate about health and wellness by 2022.
Australian activewear brand P.E. Nation took steps further into the sustainability world as it launched its first athleisure set, the Strike Set, which is made using a sustainable tech fabric called Vita Power by Carvico. This material not only provides recovery power and muscular compression but aims to reduce the amount of lactic acid produced for a faster recovery.
American fashion and lifestyle brand Volcom has launched its ‘Water Aware’ denim collection as part of its ongoing journey to sustainability, which will see the brand reducing its water consumption by 40 percent - an estimated 4 million litres - by the end of the year. This collection is also ‘stoneless,’ which means the production process for denim no longer uses pumice stone in the wash process, resulting in less energy consumption overall.
American clothing and accessories retailer Gap has announced a new renewable energy agreement that the retailer says will help it meet its 2020 emissions-reduction target, as well as a new goal to use only 100 percent clean energy by 2030. Gap said the agreement is one of the largest off-site renewable energy contracts by an apparel retailer.
Canadian-based footwear and accessories company The Aldo Group has announced that both Aldo and Call It Spring will phase out all single-use shopping bags from corporate stores globally, as part of the company's continued efforts toward sustainability. The new initiative encourages customers to opt for an eco-designed shoebox made from recycled material and with a built-in handle that makes single-use bags obsolete.
Photos: courtesy of P.E. Nation, Primark, Abercrombie & Fitch, Volcom