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14 Sustainability efforts announced in October 2019

By Simone Preuss


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We don’t know about you, but we at FashionUnited get pretty excited every month when we compile the sustainability efforts and see the list growing and more and more fashion companies jumping on the bandwagon. In October, it was refreshing to see that recycling initiatives are on the rise among brands and retailers, with proceeds being donated to charity. Also, clothing rentals are catching on and reducing, reusing and recycling when it comes to packaging. FashionUnited has put together 14 such efforts that were announced in the month of October alone.

Cooperations & Projects

The Fashion Pact announces 24 new signatories

The Fashion Pact met for its first working meeting in October after 32 brands originally joined the coalition for a more sustainable fashion industry in August. Comprised of a diverse group of fashion and textile companies, the Fashion Pact is a pledge to work towards sustainable goals in climate, biodiversity and oceans. The coalition announced 24 new signatories following its recent meeting, bringing its total signatory count to 56 and number of brands involved to around 250. New companies to the Fashion Pact include Bally, Calzedonia Group, Farfetch, Figaret, Gant, Mango and The Visuality Corporation.


Nike and Ocean Conservancy urge companies to stop Arctic shipping

Photo: Nike

Nike has teamed up with nonprofit environmental advocacy group Ocean Conservancy to launch a new campaign against Arctic shipping routes. The US sportswear giant has launched the Arctic Shipping Corporate Pledge, encouraging other businesses and industries to avoid travelling through the Arctic’s shipping routes, an area that is becoming increasingly accessible as climate change causes its ice to melt. Sending vessels through the route poses an environmental risk to one of the world’s most fragile regions, with temperatures rising in the Arctic at twice the rate of the rest of the planet.


Brands & Retailers

Everlane launches Re:Down line of sustainably produced filling

US clothing retailer Everlane is bringing sustainability to the inside of its clothing. The brand has launched its new Re:Down line of outerwear made with cruelty-free recycled fill. Typically, down filling in jackets is made using cruel living-plucking practices, as Everlane explained on its website. Its Re:Down fill is made from 100 percent recycled down comforters and pillows. Similarly, all of the jackets in the Re:Down line features 100 percent recycled shell fabric, using post-consumer recycled plastic as with its ReNew line.


Karen Walker teams with Outland Denim on sustainable collection

Photo: Bradbury Lewis

New Zealand fashion brand Karen Walker has announced a new collaboration with Outland Denim. The women's ready-to-wear label and sustainable denim brand have partnered on a limited-edition collection of six pieces that take a new take on signature Karen Walker styles. These styles are all crafted from off-white denim that is made from organic cotton, staying true to Outland Denim's commitment to using only sustainably-produced cotton.


H&M to launch first clothing rental service

H&M is launching its first clothing rental service at its newly refurbished Sergels Torg store in Stockholm, Sweden. Members of H&M’s loyalty programme will be able to rent selected party dresses and skirts from its 2012-2019 Conscious Exclusives collection - the sustainable arm of the Swedish fast-fashion giant. The rental space will also offer a selection of unique pieces designed with inspiration from this autumn's Conscious Exclusive collection, all made from more sustainable materials.


John Lewis launches initiatives to reduce, reuse and return packaging

Photo: John Lewis and Partners

British high-end department store chain John Lewis & Partners has launched a pilot at its Oxford store to encourage shoppers to reduce, reuse and return packaging. The pilot, which John Lewis said will potentially save thousands of tonnes of plastic from going to landfill, will focus on eight ways the retailer and its customers can reduce their impact on the planet, and will act as a blueprint to be expanded to other stores.


Zalando commits to carbon neutrality

Photo: Zalando

Online fashion giant Zalando has committed to a net-zero carbon footprint across its own operations, deliveries and returns. The German retailer announced a number of initiatives at the end of October as part of a new “do.More” sustainability strategy, including meeting the goals of the Paris climate agreement for its own operations ahead of the agreement’s schedule, repositioning its private Zign label as a “sustainable” brand, and aiming to be single-use plastic-free in its own packaging by 2023. In 2019, the company switched to over 90 percent renewable energy across all locations. Carbon emissions that are not eliminated by operational improvements such as renewable energy, order bundling or green delivery options, are now being offset.


Farfetch teams up with second hand clothing platform Thrift+

British luxury online retailer Farfetch has teamed up with on-demand donation service Thrift+ to allow its customers to earn money and donate to a charity of their choice by giving away clothes they no longer use. Once an item is sold, a third of the proceeds are donated to a charity of the customer’s choice, a third is given to the customer as Farfetch credit, and a third is used to cover Thrift+’s costs. Customers are also given the choice to forgo Farfetch credit and send that third of the money to their chosen charity, too.


Companies & Education

Lycocell fiber to make an increasing presence in the fashion industry

The Lyocell market is expected to grow globally at a substantial rate of over 7 percent by 2023. According to an announcement by Radiant Insights Inc., sustainable fiber, which is made from bleached wood pulp, will be used in more products including rope, bandages, and more—including clothing. According to the report, factors like the rapid and continuous changes in fashion trends have contributed to the lyocell fiber market’s growth, along with development in technology, increase in demand for biodegradable fibers, and awareness.


Photo: McKinsey Apparel CPO Survey 2019