Blog: Leonie BarrieSustainability moves gather momentum

Leonie Barrie | 29 October 2012

In the first of several sustainability initiatives revealed last week, UK clothing retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) has pledged to eliminate all hazardous chemicals from its entire textile and clothing supply chain by 2020, in a move that also paves the way for the development of new ways to produce its products.

The retailer has spent the past three months hammering out a new set of chemical commitments in conjunction with environmental pressure group Greenpeace, whose 'Detox' campaign last year prompted a number of leading apparel brands to invest in a toxic-free future. As part of its plans, M&S will phase out all Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs) by 1 July 2016.

And US retail giant Wal-Mart has extended its sustainability goals with plans to buy 70% of the products it sells in its US Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores from suppliers who use its Sustainability Index to share the sustainability of their products. From 2013, Wal-Mart said it would use the index to influence the design of its US private brand products.

Also gaining momentum last week were efforts to create a private fund or insurance product that would provide support to garment workers affected by factory closures and non-payment of wages and benefits. The Global Forum for Sustainable Supply Chains convened a multi-stakeholder meeting driven by Adidas.

Meanwhile China's clothing and textile industry - already undermined by rising costs and competitors snapping at its heels - could be especially vulnerable to fallout from a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute brought by Mexico. The case claims Chinese government subsidies and tax-breaks for its textile and clothing sector break WTO agreements - and if a disputes settlement panel is set up to make a ruling, Beijing will be under pressure to end them.

Talk by apparel retailers, brands and importers on both sides of the Atlantic about increasing the amount of product they source closer to home is the topic of a new report released by just-style. But is such a move realistic and is it likely to prove more than a passing trend? The research 'Is there a future for garment near-shoring?' looks at the key drivers, benefits and challenges of moving apparel manufacturing closer to markets in the US and western Europe.


BLOG

Crystal Group looks at long-term growth

In an exclusive interview published on just-style last week, Andrew Lo, CEO of Hong Kong based manufacturing giant Crystal Group, talks about the challenges of building the business for long-term grow...

BLOG

World Retail Congress 2014

The annual World Retail Congress has returned to Paris this week for three days where the great and the good of the retail industry have converged to discuss the industry climate as we move out of a t...

BLOG

Closer cooperation urged in Bangladesh

Two separate calls came last week urging the various safety initiatives in Bangladesh to work more closely to coordinate their efforts - and for more input from the Bangladeshi government if the work ...

BLOG

Garment factories boost Bangladesh education

The explosive growth of the Bangladeshi ready-made garment industry is more likely to be accompanied by accusations of sweatshop exploitation from labour rights activists than praise for the positive ...

just-style homepage



Forgot your password?