Top Marks for Adidas and Gap
Major fashion brands, including Adidas, Gap and Primark, have topped social sustainability rankings of their supply chain practices.
Know The Chain, an anti-modern slavery charity, ranked 43 fashion powerhouses on their sustainability, across seven key areas: commitment and governance; traceability and risk assessment; purchasing practices; recruitment practices; listening to worker voices; supply chain monitoring and remedial policies for breaches of human rights laws. The firms are then scored out of 100. The top firm was Adidas, scoring 92%, closely followed by Lululemon (89%), Gap (75%) and Primark (72%).
Two things surprised me about these rankings. The first was that fashion giants are typically seen as unsustainable, and Adidas’ near-perfect score highlights how industry giants really are making strong efforts to improve their sustainability. I remember stories emerging a decade ago about Primark using sweatshops; the firm have clearly made a positive change, given their high ranking. The second is that the average firm scored 37%. Whilst some popular fashion giants are making waves with sustainability, clearly the industry as a whole remains unsustainable.
Footlocker and Sketchers scored 12% and 7%, respectively. This displays how unsustainable the footwear sector of the fashion industry is, and could be one to watch and lobby in 2019.
Aeance Does Sustainability
Designer Konstantin Grcic has collaborated with German clothing firm Aeance on a sustainable clothing line.
The line’s use of 96% recycled, natural or biodegradable materials highlights a conscious effort of designers to make their collections as sustainable as possible.
As clothing included in the line vary from blazers to trousers and skirts, the collection is a big step away from traditional, token sustainable t-shirts, and displays how the industry is capable of moving towards sustainable versions of all types of clothing.
Browsing the website myself, I found these items of clothing to look no different to those of other high-end designers. Grcic has shown that sustainable can definitely mean fashionable – and I look forward to seeing other firms following his example.
Generation Z: The Sustainable Generation?
A new study by technology firm CGS has revealed that 70% of respondents to a poll of 1000 people aged 18 and over believe that sustainability is an important factor when deciding whether to make a purchase or not. A further third of respondents were willing to spend 25% more for an item if it were sustainable.
These figures highlight the popularity of sustainability amongst the wider public at large. If fashion designers want to tailor themselves to what consumers want, sustainable clothing should soon be on the rise in the fashion industry. This poll has given hope to a consumer-driven movement; if consumers continue to articulate that they think sustainability is important, the industry would have to listen.
CGS’ additional finding that 68% of “Generation Z” have bought a sustainable clothing item within the last year. As the first generation to be aware of global warming and environmental degradation throughout our lives, this finding does not surprise me. With 1/5 of these respondents describing ethics and sustainability as their main consideration with making a purchase, manufacturers must seriously consider altering their practices, if they are to win over this key, burgeoning target market.