[RETHINK Retail] — The textile industry has long been notorious for its crimes against the environment. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council — an organization that works with brands to help reduce waste, and water and energy consumption — textile mills are the biggest polluters on Earth generating one-fifth of the world’s industrial water pollution.
Fortunately, as consumers continue to demand more accountability from their favorite brands, many apparel retailers are answering the call with new sustainable lines. Here are some of the world’s top brands that are taking measures to reduce waste and become more environmentally-friendly.
The Wrangler Brand:
The Wrangler brand introduced a new line of denim clothing dyed with foam. This revolutionizes the denim dying process, nearly eliminating water usage entirely, a 100 percent reduction of water and 60 percent less energy consumption, according to Wrangler. Their new product, Indigood, consists of men’s jeans and women’s and men’s denim shirts. Wrangler said this is only the beginning and they are planning to expand their line. Indigood products are also made out of 30 percent recycled cotton. This is all part of their sustainability goals, which include: conserving 5.5 billion liters of water by 2020, and producing 100 percent sustainable cotton and powering all their facilities with 100 percent renewable energy by 2025.
H&M launched a vegan based line of garments this summer. Conscious Exclusive, part of H&M’s Conscious Collection, consists of dresses, jackets and boots made using pineapple leaf waste and orange silk, according to Plantbasednews.org. Ananas Anam, a Brazilian company, partnered with H&M to provide them with Pinatex, a kind of fabric they created using pineapple leaf waste. H&M uses it for boots and a leather-like jacket. The “orange silk” is derived from orange peels and was created by an Italian company, Orange Fiber. This is one of many steps H&M is taking toward their commitment to sustainability.
Adidas launched FUTURECRAFT.LOOP, a performance running shoe that is 100 percent recyclable and can be returned to Adidas to make more running shoes. They plan to produce 11 million shoes in 2019 that contain recycled ocean plastics collected from beaches, remote islands and coastal communities, according to a company statement. Adidas partnered with Parley for the Oceans, an environmental organization, and uses their plastics to create these and other shoes. This past July they unveiled a limited edition hoodie, the first to be made using 100% recyclable materials. This is all part of Adidas’ commitment to reduce dependency on virgin use plastics and the associated CO2 emissions, according to a company statement.
Levi Strauss has been making strides lately in sustainability. They recently launched a collection of garments, in collaboration with California surf brand Outerknown, made with recycled materials and “cottonized” hemp. Levi’s also developed a technology dubbed; Water<Less, to reduce water usage in the development of their garments. In addition, Levi has a large scale project to recycle garments, accepting used jeans at all of their locations. Their Authorized Vintage line of clothing is made entirely from pre-worn clothing that is the new wave in sustainability. Levi put out a host of sustainability goals, including: reducing water consumption, eliminating chemicals and reducing their impact on global climate.
Nordstrom just launched a new page on their website dedicated to sustainable brands and styles. Sustainable Style holds over 2500 products that are either: made from at least 50 percent sustainable materials, give back toward conservation efforts, or are manufactured in factories that meet higher social and environmental standards, according to a company statement. Nordstrom is among 32 companies which joined the G7 Fashion Pact, created with French President Emanual Macron’s backing, to address environmental issues and promote sustainability goals, according to the statement. Nordstrom has been working on sustainability through its Clothing Donation Program, where they repurposed 5.5 tons of clothing, as well as reducing 10.7 tons of waste by “updating” product packaging, and improving technology systems to reduce energy use.
Patagonia, a longtime supporter of sustainability, has achieved the B-label by Rank a Brand — an independent website that ranks brands on sustainability and social responsibility — meaning they are among the more sustainable brands in their category. They have several eco-friendly collections, some of which use REFIBRA™ lyocell fiber, a fabric made from wood pulp and recycled cotton scraps. To reduce waste and dependence on raw materials, Patagonia is working toward the goal of achieving 100 percent renewable and recycled raw materials. They already reached 69 percent toward the goal.
The North Face:
The North Face has joined the growing trend with the launch, November 2018, of their ThermoBall Eco jackets manufactured using recycled polyester and insulation spun using at least five plastic bottles, according to a company statement. The North Face partnered with the National Geographic to create Bottle Source Collection, a line of clothing made using 384,000 pounds of plastic bottles collected from National Park waste streams. In addition to the recycled materials used to manufacture some of their products, they offer a lifetime warranty to reduce waste. The North Face’s Clothes the Loop program helps encourage people to recycle used clothes, and in partnership with Soles4Souls they help provide sustainable jobs and provide clothing and shoes to those in need.