November 17, 2017


Seven Important Trends From Textile Exchange Conference Summed Up: The Industry Gets It on Sustainability

"Sustainability is front and center in the apparel sector" -- so writes Tara Donaldson in the November 5th feature story in the Sourcing Journal in covering the Textile Sustainability Conference in October. Seven major trends were discussed at the meeting of industry execs.

Considering such things as reducing microfibers polluting our oceans or using more materials with less environmental impact or other factors, the industry focus on sustainability is creating a new vision for the apparel industry, including for brands that had not yet been on board.  Because: the consumer and industry now demand this.

And there are seven trends that illustrate the paradigm shift in the industry, with details set out by the Journal for each:

Embrace of Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) - more companies are taking a close look at how their businesses align with these, and the October conference in Washington, DC focused on exploring what SDGs mean to the apparel sector. The SDGs provide a common vocabulary for the industry.  And the manufacturing centers are taking a closer look -- like China, India, Bangladesh and El Salvador.

Better raw materials in products - slowly but steadily, brands are building products with sustainable materials; the trend is up for the year, according to the 2017 Preferred Fiber & Materials Report.

Circularity/Circularity/Circularity - companies are gearing up for more circularity (circular value chains that is!), with about one-quarter of firms developing such a strategy and more than half with a strategy being implemented.  For example, making a silk-like fiber out of orange peels.

Actions on Climate - for many firms, climate change is a major issue and more than 200 companies have set carbon reduction targets. Luxury products marketer Kering Group plans to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2020, for example.

Leveraging Technology for Sustainability - DNA tech is one of the "big things" with the ability to provide greater transparency and traceability for fiber (the technique is using DNA-based tags embedded in raw materials such as organic cotton).

Water -- Being Better Stewards - apparel companies are "water guzzlers," with 14-plus liters to make one cotton suit (as example).  Companies are figuring out how to go "waterless" or really cut their water usage over time in the production of apparel.

Investors and Long-Term Viability - and yes, the industry leaders acknowledge that investors "are paying heed" to sustainability and long-term business viability. A Bloomberg LP analyst laid out the importance of sustainability to the conference attendees.

There's more for you in the Top Story on the above seven major trends.  And we include in our wrap up this week another report -- about investors now paying greater attention to sustainability efforts in the apparel industry. 

Note:  for the Sourcing Journal - a subscription is required -- a "Free" registration will allow you access to this story, with a limit of 5 articles per month. 

Top Stories This Week...

The Top 7 Sustainability Trends Coming Out of Textile Exchange
(Monday - November 06, 2017) Source: Sourcing Journal - Whether it’s circularity, reducing microfibers polluting the world’s oceans or using more materials with less environmental impact, sustainability is front and center in the apparel sector, and brands that hadn’t been on board... 


About Sustainability: Progress Is Being Made
- We See Forward Momentum!

Sustainability Interest Goes Mainstream with Apparel Industry Investors
(Friday - November 10, 2017) Source: Sourcing Journal - Sustainability may have been a nice to have in years gone by, but now, not only is it a necessity, but investors in the apparel space are starting to see it as adding to long-term value. 

Cats Cups program aims to increase sustainability with reusable plastic bottles
(Monday - November 06, 2017) Source: Daily Northwestern - Students now have the option to fill reusable plastic bottles with more than 100 different beverages due to a new Northwestern Dining program that aims to increase campus sustainability. 

The Nature Conservancy, Techstars Team Up to Launch Sustainability Accelerator
(Tuesday - November 07, 2017) Source: Sustainable Brands - he Nature Conservancy has launched a first-of-its-kind partnership with entrepreneurial network Techstars to launch the Techstars Sustainability Accelerator, which aims to identify entrepreneurs with commercially viable...  

Food Retailers Among Those Most Open About Sustainability
(Tuesday - November 07, 2017) Source: Progressive Grocer - According to a new report by The Hartman Group, a Bellevue, Wash.-based consultancy, consumers want more information about a company’s sustainability efforts, and identified Amazon, Whole Foods Market, Target and Walmart among... 

Advocates for sustainability
(Tuesday - November 07, 2017) Source: Business Times - Sustainability consistently comes up as both a key risk and an opportunity for the company during its regular review of the current and future business landscape, as well as during its engagement with stakeholders. 

How to build a board that's competent for sustainability
(Wednesday - November 08, 2017) Source: GreenBiz - As Wall Street ratchets up the pressure on companies to be open about the risks they face from sustainability, the spotlight is falling on boards. Investors expect directors to understand these risks, so they can help companies... 

Sustainability: There is so Much to Gain by ‘Going Green’
(Wednesday - November 08, 2017) Source: Natural Products Insider - Natural products companies, and all companies for that matter, are not adapting sustainability practices just because they are concerned about the environment. They are doing it because it dramatically benefits them—and in a BIG...

Report: 69% of consumers want more transparency about company sustainability practices
(Thursday - November 09, 2017) Source: Food Dive - A report from The Hartman Group found that about 70% of consumers say they want retailers to be more transparent about their sustainability efforts. The results come from a survey of 1,500 people.  

Marrying food safety and sustainability in packaging
(Thursday - November 09, 2017) Source: Baking Business - Over the last decade, as sustainability has become a priority, we have asked even more of our packaging materials. Companies are spending more on packaging made of sustainable materials, including recycled corrugated cardboard... 

6 things that vex corporate sustainability execs
(Thursday - November 09, 2017) Source: GreenBiz - Corporations are doing much to consider the future needs of society and many are stepping up even more to fill a vacuum in leadership from the public sector. We celebrate their efforts — as well we should — and thank those that...

Businesses should lead the way in sustainability: Minister
(Thursday - November 09, 2017) Source: The New Paper - Pursuing sustainable practices is a "matter of survival and of stewardship" and businesses should be leading the way, said Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat last night. 

In the Face of Climate Change: The Challenges of Sustainability Leadership
(Friday - November 10, 2017) Source: Triple Pundit - Climate change affects everyone–every individual, business, city and nation. And the risks are even more acute in the world’s poorest regions, compounding inequality worldwide. 

Investing for Sustainability and Impact
(Friday - November 10, 2017) Source: MorningStar - If you are interested in sustainable investing, chances are you would like your investments to have an impact alongside competitive financial returns. 

The Current State and Evolution of Sustainability Assessing Organizations
(Friday - November 10, 2017) Source: Sustainable Brands - CDP, RobecoSAM, EcoVadis — they are all organizations that assess the sustainability performance of companies worldwide. They all have their own agenda and targets, and of course, their own methodology to assess a portfolio of... 

Our Focus This Week on A Range of ESG Topics & Issues -- Things to Think About...

This year to be among three hottest on record: 'extraordinary weather' - U.N.
(Tuesday - November 07, 2017) Source: Reuters - This year will be among the three hottest on record in a new sign of man-made climate change that is aggravating “extraordinary weather” such as hurricanes, droughts and floods, the United Nations said on Monday. 

Saudi Arabia is taking dramatic steps to improve corporate governance 
(Wednesday - November 08, 2017) 
Source: The National - The news from Saudi Arabia in the past 48 hours shows just how strongly its leaders are pushing to tighten up governance structures in the kingdom.

The Latest on the U.S. Water Crisis (It’s Still Happening, FYI)
(Wednesday - November 08, 2017) Source: Food and Water Watch - The water crisis we’ve been talking about in the United States hasn’t gone away, and unless Congress passes the Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity and Reliability Act (the WATER Act, H.R. 1673), it doesn’t look like it’s... 

Why Is America Wasting So Much Energy? - OP ED
(Wednesday - November 08, 2017) Source: NY Times - Partisan fights in Washington can leave the impression that we’re hopelessly divided. The truth is there are plenty of bipartisan solutions to the energy and environmental challenges we face, and energy efficiency is near the top...

Revisiting Harvard and the American Dream
(Thursday - November 09, 2017) Source: Washington Post - When it comes to enabling low-income students to make it to the top as adults, Harvard excels. If success is measured as children from families in the bottom quintile reaching the top one percent of the income distribution,... 

News for You From the Corporate Sector -Both Positive & Negative

Coca-Cola Europe launches new Sustainability Action Plan
(Tuesday - November 07, 2017) Source: Climate Action Programme - The Coca-Cola Company in Western Europe has partnered with Coca-Cola European Partners (CCE) to jointly launch a new Sustainability Action Plan called “This is Forward”, which includes ambitious environmental, climate and social...

Red Cross: $6 Million for Ebola Fight Stolen Through Fraud
(Monday - November 06, 2017) Source: WILX 

HSBC Commits $100 Billion to Combat Climate Change
(Monday - November 06, 2017) Source: Fortune

Workers Making Zara Clothes Found a Bold Way to Let You Know They Haven't Been Paid
(Monday - November 06, 2017) Source: Fortune

Papa John's asks white nationalists not to buy their pizza amid neo-Nazi endorsement (Tuesday - November 07, 2017) Source: Fox New

Wall Street's torrid love-hate relationship with Tesla - text/video
(Wednesday - November 08, 2017) Source: CBS News 

Ford inks $765 million deal to build electric vehicles in China
(Thursday - November 09, 2017) Source: The Verge 

New Study May Redeem Monsanto’s Roundup: No Cancer Link to Glyphosate Found 
(Friday - November 10, 2017)
 Source: Organic


News & Opinion: Asset Managers, US Pension Funds, Sovereign Wealth Funds

Political Road Map: Trump and gun investments spark debate for California pension funds
(Sunday - November 05, 2017) Associated Profiles : California State Teachers’ Retirement System Source: Los Angeles Times - Tough talk aside, the letter strikes a familiar theme in questioning whether CalPERS and CalSTRS, the state’s teachers pension fund, should use their financial heft to move the needle on societal issues from human rights to...

A Tale Of Two Public Pension Plans
(Saturday - November 04, 2017) Associated Profiles : California State Teachers’ Retirement System Source: - Private pension plans are flourishing. CalSTRS and CalPERS are collapsing. What is the difference' “California’s pension cost wounds are self-inflicted. For now, California’s governor and legislature impose all... 

SocGen faces U.S., France probes for Libya payments
(Thursday - November 09, 2017) Associated Profiles : Libyan Investment Authority 
Source: - The Paris-based bank said it received two "judicial requests" in France to produce documents about its relations with the Libyan Investment Authority. The requests in September and October are part of a preliminary investigation... 

CalPRS/CalSTRS Gives 4 Executives $902,000 in bonuses—Though Hundreds of Billions in Unfunded Liabilities
(Thursday - November 09, 2017) Associated Profiles : California State Teachers’ Retirement System Source: - Corruption is profitable for CalPRS and CalSTRS executives. CalPRS has $1.4 trillion in unfunded liabilities and is doubling the mandated contributions by member agencies. CalSTRS has unfunded liabilities north of $200 billion.... 


Roundtup: Hurricanes - Climate Change & Economic Upheavel

Millions Of Puerto Ricans Just Lost Power Again After A Line Repaired By Whitefish Energy Failed
(Friday - November 10, 2017) Source: BuzzFeed - A major Puerto Rican power line repaired by the tiny Montana company Whitefish Energy failed Thursday morning, plunging almost all of the island, including parts of San Juan and other major cities, back into darkness. 


Trump Administration News / Affecting Directions on Governance and ESG

Climate talks open amid anger over Trump's coal support
(Monday - November 06, 2017) 
Source: BBC - The latest round of UN led climate talks have opened in Bonn with delegates from almost 200 countries in attendance. 



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