Global Decorated Apparel Market - Sustainability

Goals

To understand what brands are requiring for sustainability in the global decorated apparel market.

Early Findings

  • As apparel becomes more focused on sustainability, more demands are being made on suppliers and manufacturers to follow suit. For example, a company can invest in employee career goals or promoting a healthy work-life balance. One company states, "Responsible sourcing starts with people, the welfare, health, and prosperity of employees."
  • This can mean being accredited with the Fair Labor Association or the Sustainable Apparel Coalition.
  • Bemis, for example, has worked to create more sustainable packaging for its products. These solutions use fewer materials or materials with fewer emissions or are fully recyclable.
  • R-Pac offers FSC cerified products, PCW paper substrates, nontoxic bioplastics and more for its sustainable packaging solutions.
  • Finotex is working to combine community outreach with environmental goals to maximize its CSR. They sponsor schools, partner with local organizations and help the local community through programs like employing single mothers in the production lines.
  • Nike has a Code of Conduct when it comes to sourcing, including certain sustainability standards. For example, companies must pay fair wages, provide healthy working environments and offer equal opportunities. The Code of Conduct requires, briefly, "We also expect our suppliers to share in our commitments to reducing waste, using water efficiently, applying chemistries responsibly and working to reduce carbon emissions in line with international climate targets."
  • Specifically, its tenants for environmental impact are: Water valued, waste minimized & appropriately handled, energy & carbon minimized, air emissions minimized and chemicals properly managed.
  • Adidas sets similar standards for its suppliers. They offer extremely detailed standards covering employment policy, health & safety, fair pay, working conditions and so on. Detail on sustainability requirements is actually quite lacking. Adidas's supplier policy says this, "Business partners must make progressive improvement in environmental performance in their own operations and require the same of their partners, suppliers and subcontractors. This includes: integrating principles of sustainability into business decisions; responsible use of natural resources; adoption of cleaner production and pollution prevention measures; and designing and developing products, materials and technologies according to the principles of sustainability.

Proposed next steps:

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We propose leveraging and expanding upon these Early Findings to cover: 1) Discussing what major decorated apparel brands like Nike, Adidas and Under Armour require in terms of sustainability from their suppliers. This will include specific policies, overall goals in terms of sustainability and any other relevant information. 2) Examining what competitors like S.E.C., Stanwell, Bemis, R-Pac, Stapros, Lee Bou, Finotex are doing in terms of sustainability as most related to the decorated apparel industry. These can look at environmental initiatives, standards, changes to factories, etc.
Furthermore, we can cover 2-3 key trends in sustainability as related to the global apparel market. We will keep these trends as relevant as possible to decorated apparel (rather than other types) that include things like embroidery, heat transfer labels, digital printing, screening printing and so on.
Additionally, we can also source 2-3 case studies of prominent sustainability initiatives or programs in the apparel industry.