Inditex will provide Lenzing with fabric for recycling into new materials

Inditex will provide Lenzing with fabric for recycling into new materials

Inditex has signed an exclusive agreement with cellulosic fibre producer Lenzing to manufacture premium raw materials from textile waste as part of the Spanish fashion giant's commitment to the circular economy.

The plans, announced at Inditex's Annual General Meeting (AGM) yesterday (19 July), will see the fashion retailer provide Lenzing with fabric for recycling into new materials. The pilot will start with a contribution of around 500 tonnes of textile waste, with the aim of raising this to around 3,000 tonnes within a few years. This is enough fabric to produce around 48m garments.

The initiative was unveiled in the company's new 2016-2020 Environmental Strategy Plan. As part of its proposals, Inditex says it is also championing research into technology to create new textile fibres from recycled garments together with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and several Spanish universities.

Another initiative outlined by chairman Pablo Isla at the AGM is the development of Inditex's collection, reuse and recycling programme for end-of-life garments. In September, Zara will implement a scheme for free at-home collection of used clothing when delivering online orders.

The pilot test – which is being conducted in collaboration with Spanish charity Cáritas and transportation firm Seur – will initially trial in Madrid with the aim of gradually introducing the scheme all over Spain.

Also in collaboration with Cáritas, Inditex will install between 1,500 and 2,000 garment collection containers in Spain's main cities. The charity will sort the clothing to further the garment's life through its distribution channels or allow for recycling for the development of new textile raw materials. Inditex will donate EUR3.5m over two years to this project. In parallel, Inditex will place new containers throughout its stores, adding to the existing network, in order that all its bricks and mortar stores in Spain will have a container by September.

During the meeting, Isla emphasised the progress and milestones made over the past four years, such as the traceability of the production supply chain and monitoring initiatives throughout the group's supply chain, from raw material procurement to the end of the garments' life. He also pointed to the implementation of environmental sustainability procedures for wet processes such as dyeing and washing.

Emphasis was also placed on the group's "sharp growth" in all geographies, progress made within the group's integrated offline-online store model and the pace of job creation in 2015, a year in which Inditex created 15,800 new jobs.

Last week, Inditex published a list of its global direct and indirect wet processing suppliers, after being commended by Greenpeace for its "exemplary" approach to transparency. 

The company has now made available its list of dyeing, washing, tanning and printing suppliers, both direct and indirect. The former are where Inditex holds a direct sourcing relationship, and the latter supplier list includes mills contracted by its direct suppliers. 

Inditex publishes wet processing supplier list