It’s not often that large multi-national corporations decide to put the environment first. However, with the increasing number of ethical environmental rules being violated, it should come as no surprise that fashion retailers such as H&M, Zara, and Ralph Lauren are starting to see the implicit consequences of their long-time practices and actions.
As previously mentioned in Fast Fashion, Quicker Violations, H&M embarked on a journey to better their business practices by taking on recycling initiatives, alongside initiating a Conscious Collection. However, H&M has fathered its good-practices regime through expanding its focus beyond the environment through the embracement of diversity. For its Winter 2016 runway show, this Swedish brand casted models coming from as many different categories as possible. From plus sized models to racially diverse and “older” models, H&M made its best efforts to hop on the inclusivity train.
H&M is not alone in its quest to make the world a better place (side-note: read this sentence as you please, but we prefer sarcasm). Zara has also recently opened a new flagship in the heart of Manhattan. This flagship uses highly demanding sustainability measures across all its processes, alongside utilizing energy efficient utilities and recycling practices. As of current, Zara has consumed 30% less energy and 50% less water in this store, and plans to have 100% eco-efficient stores by 2020. Chic styles PLUS chic business practices? Oh Zara, you’ve outdone yourself.
But let’s not forget about American fashion giant, Ralph Lauren. The company has established plans to trace wood pulp used in its clothes and subsequently avoid buying from regions that would result in destroying forests. This is a great pledge on behalf of the retailer, but will Ralph Lauren see this through? The retailer said it will publish its new sourcing guidelines in order to solidify this plan of avoiding human and land rights abuses and ensuring its manufacturing processes are environmentally sustainable (I guess we’ll just have to wait and see).
We love the fact that companies are starting to care about the consequences of their actions, and not turning a blind eye to their inefficient and unethical business practices. However, it goes without saying that we are mildly suspicious. Do these retailers truly care about environment, or are they simply utilizing greenwashing initiatives to divert the negative spotlight off them and onto their competitors?
In a time where “going green” has turned into a chic corporate trend, we ask you: do you believe what they’re selling?