Blog: ASBCI event brings much-needed focus

Joe Ayling | 20 May 2009

The crude CO2ST of fashion was the quirky title for this year's ASBCI Conference in Rugby.

And while numbers were slightly down yesterday (19 May), discussions were less confused than last year, when fear of the unknown riddled the agenda.

The doom and gloom arising from what some call the worst recession since the 1930s in the UK still exists. But industry experts are now able to make firmer assertions because, in some cases at least, they know what to expect.

Being both green and financially lean are intrinsic to these plans, confirmed speakers from two of the UK's largest clothing retailers – Tesco and Sainsbury's.

ASBCI members say they are determined to send less clothing to landfill, use eco-friendly fibres, factories and transport, and offer Fairtrade and ethically-sourced garments.

Indeed, from what just-style heard yesterday, the UK fashion industry is set to become a pioneer for sustainable fashion, with value retailers like Tesco coming on board too. Tesco's Abi Rushton told delegates that the company sold 5m Fairtrade garments in 2008, compared to 0.5m in 2007.

The popularity of 'throwaway fashion' items in the UK poses a challenge to green movements, and work is needed to recycle more of these garments given the exponential growth of value chains such as Primark.

Finally, having seen the future of retailing at The World Retail Congress in Barcelona earlier in the month, just-style was given a glimpse of how clean and green manufacturing can be, by AJ Johnpillai of Marks & Spencer supplier Brandix Lanka.

The Sri Lankan manufacturer's 130,000 square feet Eco Centre, opened by Sir Suart Rose a year ago, is adorned with indoor plants, lit by beaming skylights, and harvests rainwater for supplies.

These measures may appear idealistic and impossible in other climates, but it has resulted in more orders for Brandix so other manufacturers should strive to meet the benchmark it has set.

By Joe Ayling, news editor.

ASBCI Annual Industry Conference speaker line-up 2009:

From left back row: Ajit Johnpillai of Brandix Lanka, Riccardo Basile of Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Andy Formosa of The Textile Care Company, Chris Hunt of UK Petroleum Industry Association, Melissa Carrington of Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Lauretta Roberts of Drapers, Abi Ashton of Tesco, Nigel Wilkinson of the National Grid, Sarah Humphrey of Kuehne & Nagel, Julie King of De Montfort University & Matthew Ludlam of Advanced
Front row: Diane Waterhouse of Burberry, Alison Austin of Sainsbury's, Malcolm Ball ASBCI chairman and Mike Potts of the Health & Safety Executive


Sustainability in the supply chain

Fashion retailers are under growing scrutiny from consumers wanting to buy green and ethically sound goods, while sustainability pressures are also filtering down the supply chain to manufacturers. Ho...


Why digital supply chains are top of mind

Confirmation that digital supply chains are top of mind for apparel industry executives came last week with the latest plans from global sourcing specialist Li & Fung....


Navigating global political frictions and economic uncertainty

As a barometer of the issues top of mind for apparel sourcing executives, it is hard to beat the annual Prime Source Forum in Hong Kong. ...


Trump and Brexit generate more confusion

Over the past month, Donald Trump and his team failed to offer any clear plan to ensure Americans would "Buy American, Hire American" - while the British government's attempts to clarify the specifics...

just-style homepage

Forgot your password?