World's biggest clothing and footware manufacturers work on global eco-label

by: Mirjam Visser, 2011-03-02 00:47:26 UTC
Sustainability Aspects: Transparency in sustainability

The Story


“Some of the world’s biggest clothing and footwear manufacturers and retailers are working on a scheme to allow shirts, trousers and shoes sold globally to be labelled with tags depicting to what degree the items’ production and usage would impact the environment.

The scheme amounts to one of the most ambitious efforts to create a set of standards for different types of manufactured products that would measure the effect on the environment of the steps involved in the production of an item of clothing.

Companies backing the scheme include Walmart, Gap, JC Penney, Levi Strauss, Nike, Marks and Spencer, Adidas, H&M and Li & Fung, a big textile supplier.

Alex Tomey, vice-president of product development for clothing at US retailer Walmart, said: “No one company has got all the answers in terms of pulling together the correct way of measuring all the variables involved, which is why we decided on a collaborative approach.”

He said Walmart hoped one of the results of the programme would be to create a “credible” system for devising ecological labels for products that could be attached to items in retail outlets within the next five years.

Under the plans of the companies backing the scheme, the labels could be used to inform consumers about how much impact the production of an item has on the environment. One idea, for instance, would be to draw up a set of indices to cover areas such as the energy used in different stages of production and to what degree toxic chemicals were used at any part of the manufacturing chain.

Other parts of the scheme would look at the impact of discarding items of clothing after they are used, and how much this affects the environment, such as through adding to landfill sites or polluting the water supply.

Lorrie Vogel, an environmental expert at US sportswear producer Nike, said that she felt the labelling idea was “feasible” although it would take “a lot of work” to create the correct appropriate methodology."

This is a great initiative to make it easier for customers to judge how environmental (un)friendly their buy is. It asks for transparency in the Supply Chain on sustainable topics like water, energy and resource usage, transportation, labour etcetera.

From the Financial Times on march 1, 2011 see link

Product: Clothing and footware
Designer: na
Manufacturer: na
Category: eco-label



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