Zara says it will use 100% sustainable fabrics before 2025

High street fashion chain makes several ambitious targets at shareholders’ meeting

A view of a Zara store in Dublin. File photograph: David Sleator

A view of a Zara store in Dublin. File photograph: David Sleator

 

The owner of high street fashion chain Zara has announced that all of its collections will be made from 100 per cent sustainable fabrics before 2025.

Inditex – which was named the world’s third largest apparel company this year by Forbes – said its other brands, including Zara Home, Massimo Dutti and Pull&Bear, will also follow suit.

The commitment to a more responsible future was made on Tuesday at its annual shareholders’ meeting and makes Zara, which accounts for 70 per cent of Inditex’s group sales, the first international high street store to make such a commitment, reports WWD.

It is one of several ambitious targets to be announced. By 2025, 80 per cent of the energy consumed in Zara’s headquarters, factories and stores will be from renewable sources and its facilities will produce zero landfill waste, the company said. By 2023, it promised, the viscose used will also be 100 per cent sustainable.

Pablo Isla, the chief executive of Inditex, said: “We need to be a force for change, not only in the company but in the whole sector.

“We are the ones establishing these targets: the strength and impulse for change is coming from the commercial team, the people who are working with our suppliers, the people working with fabrics. It is something that’s happening inside our company.”

The group was named the most sustainable retailer by the Dow Jones sustainability index from 2016 to 2018, and is owned by Spain’s richest man, Amancio Ortega.

Isla insisted this week that despite Inditex’s presence on nearly every main high street around the world “the opposite of a fast-fashion company”, adding: “We operate with a different model. We make our own patterns, work with our own factories, keep low levels of inventory, have local sourcing and manufacturing and don’t have promotions in stores.”

Last year, annual sales grew 3 per cent, to €26.1 billion.

Inditex is already in the middle of a serious sustainability drive. Since 2015 it has collected more than 34,000 tonnes of used stock, after it installed clothes banks in more than 800 stores in 24 regions. A service picking up used clothes from customers’ homes has proved effective in Spain, Beijing and Shanghai and will be extended to London, Paris and New York.

The company has partnered with charities, such as the Red Cross, on redistributing the used stock and is working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to find feasible ways of fibre recycling. It has committed to disposing of unused items responsibly and has promised that its factories will no longer discharge hazardous chemicals at any stage of the supply chain by 2020.

The promises come as fashion companies are under increased scrutiny from consumers, who are demanding ethical production practices and responsible retailing, particularly concerning excess levels of stock and the disposal of unwanted garments.

The recent news that the UK government rejected parliamentary environmental audit committee proposals, including a tax of 1p per garment to help curb the throwaway culture and mandatory environmental targets for brands turning over more than £36 million a year, caused outrage. The UK government’s report Fixing Fashion also proposed a nationwide ban on incinerating or sending to landfill clothes that can be reused or recycled.

The UK government said it would consider the proposals by 2025, saying: “We believe that positive approaches are required to find outlets for waste textiles rather than simply imposing a landfill ban.”–Guardian