By Amanda Carr
The big news in fashion is that Zara, along with all brands owned by its parent company Inditex, will be selling only ‘green shirts’ as of their Winter 2021 collections. Before you panic and add comments below on how “green only looks good on grass” or “green shirts won’t go with anything I own” rest assured ‘green shirts’ aren’t the result of a new fashion trend but instead represent procurement action on behalf of the company to ensure Ancient and Endangered Forests don’t end up as fashion fabric.
Over 150 million trees are cut down every year to produce fabrics like rayon and viscose that end up in many of the things we wear. Having a company as large as Inditex take another step to change that is a huge win for sustainability.
Just over five years ago, Inditex, the owner of several brands including Zara, Bershka, and Pull & Bear, took a leap with Canopy in a collaborative quest to safeguard the world’s Ancient and Endangered Forests. This built upon their own corporate sustainability journey, and Inditex had just developed their first ever forest procurement policy to support their existing biodiversity strategy with support and input from the nimble team at Canopy.
But, just before the Inditex CanopyStyle policy was set to be made public, a representative from the company called me one early morning as I was walking into the office and issued Canopy a challenge.
“Inditex will do this alongside our peers, Amanda, but we call on Canopy to convene pre-competitive collaboration and engagement to support our policy implementation.”
“Absolutely!” was both my response and the one from Canopy’s leadership. After all this harnessing of collaborative energy and deep engagement of supply chain for solutions is what Canopy was founded on.
Inditex’s Forest Products policy was launched in April 2014 and the CanopyStyle Leaders for Forest Conservation group, with founding members Inditex, H&M, Marks and Spencer, Stella McCartney and EILEEN FISHER, was born.
It was through our work in the CanopyStyle Leaders for Forests Conservation and research into the needs of our fashion partners that we came up with the idea of the Hot Button Report and Ranking. The “Hot Button” is an annual examination and ranking of the world’s largest viscose producers, and an assessment of their progress in addressing their unsustainable sourcing issues. It ranks the producers on a set of clear criteria, with the producers with the best records being awarded ‘green shirts’. The Hot Button is global in scope, interactive, and published in English and Mandarin.
Today, Inditex, as the largest fashion brand in the world, now has the confidence and information to source only from viscose producers (and producers of other tree-based fabrics like rayon, modal, lyocell and trademarked versions like Tencel), who have achieved ‘green shirts’ in Canopy’s annual Hot Button Ranking*.
With hundreds more brands in the CanopyStyle initiative with similar public commitments as Inditex, the stage is set — if the largest fashion retailer in the world can do it, anyone can. It’s now the turn of world’s global producers of forest-based fibres for fabric to make sure they get the best results in the Hot Button Ranking. In 2019 we saw 42.5% of the entire global supply achieve green shirt status. We hope other producers will take the actions required to meet growing marketplace demand as we prepare the Hot Button Report for this fall.
Get ready to see the trend for ‘green shirts’, and forest conservation, soar in the coming seasons.
Read more about Inditex’s direction on green shirts only here.
*Companies earn their Hot Button rankings by being awarded ‘green buttons’ for completion of CanopyStyle audits, contributions to conservation, using new alternative fibres, robust sourcing policies, transparency and traceability, and sustainable sourcing, with buttons removed for any associations with sourcing from ancient and endangered forests.
A company needs to achieve over 20 green buttons in order to receive a green shirt ranking.