Blog: Leonie BarrieEnvironmental impact slanted on supply chain

Leonie Barrie | 27 May 2015

Luxury goods group Kering is taking an innovative approach to understanding – and changing – the environmental footprint of its business by putting a monetary value on the ecological impact racked up across its operations.

And the numbers make for uncomfortable reading. The first ever Environmental Profit & Loss (EP&L) report from the group behind brands such as Gucci, Saint Laurent and Stella McCartney reveals that 93% of its total environmental impact falls within the supply chain.

Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda are all ramping up their efforts to put Africa on the apparel sourcing map with a range of policies designed to encourage mills, manufacturers and buyers to invest. But another country vying for a slice of the action is Tanzania, with ambitions to offer the best overall package in Africa.

But groups representing apparel and footwear manufacturers, brands, and retailers in the US and Africa are urging the quick renewal of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) – warning that delays in its passage are dragging on sourcing decisions.

And the Philippine government is being urged to carry out a "full and detailed" investigation into the circumstances surrounding a fire at a footwear factory in the country earlier this month, which killed 72 workers.

Tools for 3D design and virtual prototyping were among the highlights at the recent Texprocess trade fair. And while faster time-to-market, lower cost and increased productivity are among the benefits, there is also debate on how the technology is re-writing the rules.

The annual results from UK retailer Marks & Spencer have raised hopes among investors that the group is facing a brighter future. As well as M&S's first profit in four years, the clothing division significantly increased profit margins even though sales were below expectations. But is this enough to turn its fortunes around?

And Ascena Retail Group, operator of Lane Bryant and Justice, brands, is to acquire Ann Inc in a deal valued at around US$2.16bn - making Ascena one of North America’s largest apparel retailers.

In other news, PVH has named Sri Lanka’s Brandix Group as its Global Supplier of the Year across all product categories represented by its global vendor base; and first-quarter sales at the Gap brand have fallen at a faster pace than analysts had expected.

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