Inditex, parent company of Zara, Bershka and others, intends to be using purely sustainable fabric for its clothing by 2025. The move is part of a wider strategy focusing on sustainability and digital transformation.
“Sustainability is a never-ending task”
At its annual general meeting, Inditex emphasised two strategic core elements: the company's digital transformation and its move towards susainability. When it comes to the latter, the group behind Zara, Massimo Dutti and Oysho has set new, concrete goals.
All cotton, linen and polyester used by the group – which counts for 90% of the resources of the manufacturer – will be organic, sustainable or recycled by 2025. Viscose should have reached that target by 2023. "Sustainability is a never-ending task in which everyone here at Inditex is involved and in which we are successfully engaging all of our suppliers," said CEO Pabo Isla.
To indicate the sustainability of the clothes at the eight Inditex brands, the group came up with the Join Life label for environmental compatibility. In 2019, more than double the amount of clothing items carried the sustainability label than a year before, and in 2020, sustainable clothes should be more than 25% of the total. Last year, 136 million items received the label.
All stores eco-efficient
In addition, 80% of the energy used in the company's activities (stores, logistics centres and offices) should be renewable by 2022. Already this year, all platforms and head offices of the group will be in compliance with the highest certificates for environmentally friendly buildings. All Zara shops will be eco-efficient. Inditex is furthermore committed to the elimination of plastic bags by 2020, a milestone already reached by Zara, Zara Home, Massimo Dutti and Uterqüe. By 2023, all single-use synthetics will be banned by the retailer.
When it comes to recycling, the fast fashion giant will be supplying all stores with containers to collect used clothes. There will even be a pick-up service at home, which is currently active in several cities in Spain and China. In September, it will be expanded towards Paris, London and New York.
Big partnership with MIT
Sustainability and tech go hand in hand for Pabo Isla: Inditex, which generated 26.15 billion euros of turnover in 2018, is also pursuing research for new technology to develop and improve recycling processes. The group has entered into a partnership agreement with American university MIT in order to find better ways to recycle clothes and recuperate fibers with clean technology. The retail group has set aside 4 million euros for this research.
"Our digital and sustainability transformation is only possible thanks to the solid business model performance, which is generating the funds needed to reinvest in the company’s future," Isla told the company's shareholders. He also mentioned that the company has invested more than 9 billion euros over the past six years, 2 billion of which was spent on technology to improve the customer experience. By 2020, for example, all eight of the group's fashion formulas will be available online around the world.