The Sustainability Game-changers: Are you one of them?

Photo by Úrsula Madariaga from Pexels

With more people becoming aware of the environmental implications of their actions and consumption, a lot of consumers are now leaning towards companies and brands who have taken action, no matter how small their stance is in reducing wastes—especially single use plastic and straws.

More and more people are prudent in choosing the brands they patronize and engage with. According to The Pulse of the Fashion Industry report published by Global Fashion Agenda, Boston Consulting Group and Sustainable Apparel Coalition, 75% of consumers surveyed view sustainability as extremely or very important. In result, more than a third of consumers report they have already switched from their preferred brand to another because it credibly stands for positive environmental and/or social practices, while more than 50% of consumers plan to switch brands in the future if another brand acts more environmentally and socially friendly than their preferred one.

Moreover, in terms of responsibility on moving forward to a more sustainable world, Kantar TNS reported in their survey of 1, 260 people, 63% are concerned about the quantity of packaging they buy, but believe that manufacturers hold the accountability of lessening the packaging, 22% from younger and 48% from older generation (65 and up) think that the role is for the manufacturers.

So, what are global brands doing in terms of acting on these environmental issues? And are you already doing this within your company or plan to do so? Read on to learn some of the latest actions taken:

One of the largest sportswear manufacturers in the world, Adidas, targets to produce 11 million pairs of shoes made from recycled ocean plastic. The plastic waste materials used for the shoes are collected by their partner organizations in partnership with Parley for the Oceans, a community of creators, thinkers, and leaders who aim to address major threats towards the oceans.

Aside from this, Adidas is also committed to using only recycled polyester materials for their products by 2024. Half of their 900 million items are made of polyester.

Inditex (Zara)
Biggest fashion retail brand Zara has also pledged to use only sustainable fabrics in all their collections by 2025. In an effort to lessen waste and energy usage, all of their cotton, linen, and polyester used will be organic, sustainably-sourced or recycled.
The first batch of their green collection is released recently, called Edited, is composed of denim pieces which are sustainably-made and are customizable.
Aside from creating sustainable items, the company also promised to utilize renewable energy for 80% of its power needs by the same deadline and aims to cut out all single plastics from all customer sales by 2023.

Fast Retailing (UNIQLO)
Japanese fast fashion brand Uniqlo has also committed to jump into the bandwagon as its parent company Fast Retailing announced that they will reduce single-use plastic bags by 85% next year, which is equal to 7, 800 tons of plastic. As replacement, the company will introduce eco-friendly paper shopping bags and will rethink product packaging. The move has been initially rolled out this month in 12 markets including Japan and eventually to all its 3, 500 stores worldwide.

Tagged as the leading luxury fashion brand by 2018 Dow Jones Sustainability Index, Burberry continues to strengthen its sustainability efforts as it launched this year a new collection crafted from recycled waste. The fashion brand reinvented their classic car coat using ECONYL® regenerated nylon. This collection is part of their move to become carbon neutral by 2022.

Steering away a bit from the fashion brands, it is also interesting to see that discount supermarket chain ALDI is making their own effort to become plastic-free, considering that food packaging in supermarkets make up a huge portion of plastic wastes.
In March this year, they announced that were testing plastic-free packaging in some of their Scottish stores, and hope to become completely sustainable by 2025 by making their packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable. Initially, they will reduce by 15% the packaging of ALDI own brands.

By next year, they aim to implement an initiative to make private-label product packaging easier for customers to reuse and to include How2Recycle label on all ALDI-exclusive consumable packaging.

These are just of the global companies who are committed to reduce their wastes and energy use, and as consumers clamor for sustainability and conscious business practices from brands, it is time to rethink business practices and see how as a brand you can impact positively on the environment and lives of the customers.


This story is first published on Philippine Retailing Magazine Q3 2019