"Sustainability is front and center in the apparel sector" -- so writes Tara Donaldson in the November 5th feature story in the Sourcing Journal in covering the Textile Sustainability Conference in October. Seven major trends were discussed at the meeting of industry execs.
Considering such things as reducing microfibers polluting our oceans or using more materials with less environmental impact or other factors, the industry focus on sustainability is creating a new vision for the apparel industry, including for brands that had not yet been on board. Because: the consumer and industry now demand this.
And there are seven trends that illustrate the paradigm shift in the industry, with details set out by the Journal for each:
Embrace of Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) - more companies are taking a close look at how their businesses align with these, and the October conference in Washington, DC focused on exploring what SDGs mean to the apparel sector. The SDGs provide a common vocabulary for the industry. And the manufacturing centers are taking a closer look -- like China, India, Bangladesh and El Salvador.
Better raw materials in products - slowly but steadily, brands are building products with sustainable materials; the trend is up for the year, according to the 2017 Preferred Fiber & Materials Report.
Circularity/Circularity/Circularity - companies are gearing up for more circularity (circular value chains that is!), with about one-quarter of firms developing such a strategy and more than half with a strategy being implemented. For example, making a silk-like fiber out of orange peels.
Actions on Climate - for many firms, climate change is a major issue and more than 200 companies have set carbon reduction targets. Luxury products marketer Kering Group plans to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2020, for example.
Leveraging Technology for Sustainability - DNA tech is one of the "big things" with the ability to provide greater transparency and traceability for fiber (the technique is using DNA-based tags embedded in raw materials such as organic cotton).
Water -- Being Better Stewards - apparel companies are "water guzzlers," with 14-plus liters to make one cotton suit (as example). Companies are figuring out how to go "waterless" or really cut their water usage over time in the production of apparel.
Investors and Long-Term Viability - and yes, the industry leaders acknowledge that investors "are paying heed" to sustainability and long-term business viability. A Bloomberg LP analyst laid out the importance of sustainability to the conference attendees.
There's more for you in the Top Story on the above seven major trends. And we include in our wrap up this week another report -- about investors now paying greater attention to sustainability efforts in the apparel industry.
KEYWORDS: Media & Communications, business & trade, Corporate Social Responsibility, csr, G&A Institute, GRI, Governance & Accountability Institute, G&A, SRI, SWF, socially responsible investing, Sovereign Wealth Funds, sustainability, Corporate Citizenship, esg