“Everything connected with sustainability is a work in progress” – Pablo Isla, Executive Chairman, Zara
Fashion sustainability is a growing priority for brands. Across the fashion industry brands are increasingly broadcasting their efforts to raise environmental standards. Brands are reacting to changing consumer values, all while anticipating the possibility of tighter regulations. Consequently, the rise of social media and the internet has brought a new degree of transparency to retail, fueling demand for greater openness from brands and an environment where consumers are also activists.
Furthermore, amid the rise in awareness of fashion’s negative environmental and social impact, fast-fashion retailer Zara is making some big changes. The Spanish retail giant announced it’s new sustainability initiatives.
Here’s what you need to know:
Zara announced they will be installing a sustainability committee on their board to monitor the company’s efforts to meet new sustainability targets. Additionally, they’re linking executives’ long-term bonuses to achieving sustainability goals. Certainly, this is a great sign this brand is willing to do whatever it takes to change and adopt better practices.
View the company’s environmental targets over the next few years:
- By the end of 2019, all Zara stores will meet the company’s eco-efficient standards, reducing energy consumption by 20% and water consumption by 40%.
- 20% of garments qualify for Zara’s more sustainable brand, the Join Life label. As a result, garments under this label have been made in a factory that meets the highest environmental and social standards using materials or processes that are better for the environment.
- Eliminate hazardous chemicals from the supply chain.
- Install containers to collect used garments in all stores.
- Train all Zara designers in circularity.
- No plant-based fibers sourced from ancient forests or forests at risk of extinction.
- All Cellulosic fibers (e.g. cotton, flax, hemp, jute, and rayon) used in Zara garments are sustainable.
- No single-use plastic in consumer packaging and all packing meets Zara’s “Green to Pack” sustainability standard.
- All linen and cotton used in Zara’s garments are sustainable; all polyester recycled.
- No waste from Zara’s facilities is sent to landfills.
- 80% of the energy consumed by Zara’s facilities is renewable.
Looking Back To Move Forward
Pablo Isla, the brand’s executive chairman said: “Everything connected with sustainability is a work in progress. Our idea is progressively to work towards a very, very sustainable company.” While Zara acknowledges that sustainability is a process and says it is working on more solutions, it seems their past is a pretty good indicator of their future.
For instance, this hardwired mentality of operating less wastefully has always been part of Zara’s heritage. Dressmaker Amancio Ortega founded the company in 1975. He who took a bet that he could do better than other retailers buying his products. Therefore, from the beginning, he tightly controlled the supply chain. Ortega centralized decisions about design and distribution closely monitored consumers’ responses to products and swiftly responded to cues on trends and changing tastes.
Moreover, the efficient business model Ortega setup has helped ensure that Zara’s future will be a successful and sustainable one because sustainability isn’t a buzz word for this brand. Most importantly, it’s about remaining true to the company’s founding principles, retaining the dedication to speed, efficiency, and a no-waste mentality.
Shop more sustainable brands here.
Read more about Zara’s commitment to environmental sustainability called Join Life here.
Photo Credit: Zara