Fashion Updates

Inditex strengthens sustainability in response to fast fashion regulations

Published: July 22, 2023
Author: Fashion Value Chain

Inditex, the parent company of Zara, has announced plans to strengthen its resale service and increase the use of next-generation and recycled materials in an ambitious bid to reduce its emissions by 50% by the end of the decade. The company outlined these initiatives at its annual meeting on Tuesday, marking an update to its sustainability strategy unveiled in 2019. This move comes as the European Union seeks to end fast fashion and implement measures to hold clothing retailers accountable for waste production and promote the use of recycled textiles.

Inditex aims to have 40% of its materials come from conventional recycling and 25% from new innovations, including emerging recycling technologies that are just beginning to scale by 2030. To support these goals, the company has already begun investing in the space, participating in a $30 million series B funding round for textile recycler Circ last year. Additionally, Inditex recently signed a €100 million ($110 million) off-take contract with Finnish textile-to-textile recycling business Infinite Fiber Company, ensuring 30% of the firm’s annual production for three years. The company is also considering establishing an investment fund to support startups and technologies that can contribute to greening its business.

Inditex’s new commitments build upon existing targets to improve the environmental impact of its materials. The company has set a goal to source 25% of its fabrics from regenerative or organic farms and the final 10% from sources certified to have a lower impact. It also plans to expand its pilot program for repair, resale, and take-back services, initially launched in the UK last year, to other key markets by 2025. Additionally, the company has introduced a target to protect, restore, or regenerate 5 million hectares of land by 2030 to enhance its biodiversity impact.

Inditex CEO Óscar García Maceiras emphasized that this new strategy reflects a higher level of ambition aimed at transforming not just the company, but the entire industry. The company’s overarching sustainability goal is to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040, an area that is gaining increasing scrutiny across industries. To support this objective, Inditex has intensified its efforts to reduce emissions in its supply chain, which is where most of its environmental impact occurs. The company now aims to reduce so-called scope 3 emissions by 50% by 2030, aligning its goals more closely with its leading competitors than the previous target of a 20% reduction.

However, achieving these goals will be a monumental task. Inditex was responsible for emitting approximately 18 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent last year, equivalent to one million round trips between New York and London. This figure surpasses the combined emissions of its rivals H&M Group and Shein, according to public disclosures. It is worth noting that comparisons between companies are limited due to variations in methodologies and data quality. Inditex’s calculations include the impact of consumer use and end-of-life of products, which many others do not consider.

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