Blog: Sustainability - not just about the environment

Petah Marian | 14 October 2011

I had the pleasure of travelling up to Belper in Derbyshire yesterday (14 October) to see Courtaulds become the first UK clothing manufacturer to receive M&S eco-factory status.

Some M&S executives and a few journalists, including myself, were taken on a tour of the site, which M&S' technical manager Ian Morris told just-style was the "most automated clothing factory in the world", expressing excitement that such technology was "here in Derbyshire".

And, excitement was really the order of the day, with the tour ending with a fashion show featuring the factory's hosiery and much of it modelled by the company's staff. With most staff on hand to watch the show and celebrate, the day was the culmination of a year's worth of work on the audit with M&S and five years of work internally on becoming more efficient.

The celebrations also masked a deeper note, since if it wasn't for this focus on sustainability, the factory would almost certainly struggle to compete with cheaper offshore rivals.

In 2006, the company was in trouble, as Sara Lee effectively gave away the business to Hong Kong company PD Enterprise. Courtaulds then embarked on a programme to make itself more competitive - one aspect of which was halving its energy use, cutting its energy bill to GBP2m a year from what would be GBP4m now if it hadn't made the changes.

For the 400 workers on the Belper site, sustainability is not just about looking after the environment, it has also kept them in a job.


BLOG

Higher worker wages – who pays?

There continues to be a disconnect between buying departments and compliance teams when it comes to costing labour in price negotiations. So who should pay for a minimum wage increase?...

BLOG

Trump tariff dispute rumbles on

The US has escalated its trade threats to China after President Donald Trump said he is considering tariffs on an additional $200bn of Chinese goods if China "refuses to change its practices."...

BLOG

Trump spares textile machinery in tariff spat

Hundreds of US imports from China will be hit with an additional 25% tariff from next month – but to the relief of the US textile, apparel and footwear industry, most of the equipment used in the dome...

BLOG

Esquel's eco-friendly manufacturing complex

Hong Kong-based Esquel Group, the world's largest woven shirt maker, has been bedding-in operations at a ground-breaking new $313.3m eco-friendly manufacturing complex in southern China....

just-style homepage



Forgot your password?