Blog: Hannah AbdullaSateri says Covid-19 is an industry wake up call

Hannah Abdulla | 29 September 2020

Leading viscose fibre producer Sateri has kept its foot firmly on the gas in recent months, with milestones that include starting production of lyocell fibres in China and launching a new commercial-scale viscose fibre made from recycled textile waste – all in the midst of a global pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Portuguese textile and clothing industry has proved to be an example of resilience thanks to its clusters, flexibility, investment in research and development (R&D) and good ethics.

US sporting giant Nike says the shift to online sales could be a permanent trend after it revealed an 82% increase in digital sales in the first quarter.

Elsewhere, a new report by the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) claims that despite the promises of big fashion brands, many have failed to prove that the workers in their supply chains earn a living wage. And Boohoo Group has pledged to strengthen its sourcing team and work more closely with suppliers after an independent review into its UK supply chain identified "many failings" but determined the online fast fashion retailer's business model is not founded on exploiting workers in Leicester.

In Bangladesh, the leather and footwear sector says it can afford to pay new minimum wages with the industry association being upbeat about implementing the new system and remaining "compliant."While GoodWeave International, a non-profit working to end child, forced and bonded labour in global supply chains, has launched a new project to provide marginalised apparel workers in Bangladesh with immediate Covid-19 relief and conduct research on the impact of the pandemic.

The US House of Representatives has voted overwhelmingly to take comprehensive action against the import of apparel and other goods from China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) – a move US apparel industry executives have previously warned would cause massive upheaval and supply chain disruption.

Five supply chain auditing giants have said they will not help companies vet their supply chains in China's Xinjiang regions due to the complexity of determining whether they are involved in forced labour of Uyghur Muslims.

But China has hit back at allegations by saying its actions in the region are focused on counterterrorism and anti-separatism.

Also last week a Pakistani court ruled a garment factory fire in 2012 that killed more than 260 workers was in fact arson and not accidental, as it sentenced two former political party activists to death for starting it.

On the sustainability front, amid rising concerns about the environmental and ethical impact of fast-fashion, the market for second-hand clothing is soaring – with younger generations leading the charge. We take a closer look at how resale retailers' merchandising strategies are shaping up.
 
US retail giant Walmart is doubling down on efforts to address the growing climate crisis by targeting zero emissions across the company's global operations by 2040.

Online retail giant Amazon has launched a new Climate Pledge Friendly programme to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products – including fashion.

Netherlands-based sustainable trade initiative IDH has partnered with the Apparel Impact Institute to launch a programme in Vietnam aimed at reducing the negative impact of the apparel sector on the environment in line with the Paris Agreement and science-based targets (SBTs).

And the European Outdoor Group (EOG) says more can be done to understand the practices of recycling specifically undertaken within the textile supply chain after conducting research to inform the development of collection and sorting infrastructures.

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