Fashion brands Zara, Pull & Bear and Bershka will only sell sustainable clothes by 2025, owner Inditex has pledged.
Inditex’s executive chairman, Pablo Isla, told shareholders at the annual general meeting that all cotton, linen and polyester sold by Inditex’s eight brands will be organic, sustainable or recycled by that date.
Viscose, one of the main raw materials purchased by the group, is set to achieve the target by 2023.
By 2020 the company plans to eliminate the use of plastic bags, a goal which has already been achieved in Zara, Zara Home, Massimo Dutti and Uterqüe.
Isla also promised that 80% of the energy used in stores, logistic centres and offices will be renewable by 2023.
All Zara stores will be “eco-efficient” by next year – defined as using at least 20% less electricity and 40% less water than conventional stores – one year ahead of the original target. Other stores are set to achieve the same standards by 2020.
A service which currently collects used clothing at home, currently operating in several cities in Spain and China, will be extended to Paris, London and New York by September this year.
Inditex is also planning to expand the use of its “Join Life” labels.
Join Life labels indicate the use of more sustainable raw materials such as organic cotton, recycled polyester and Tencel, and the prioritisation of more water and energy friendly processes.
By 2020 one in every four items of clothing put on sale will qualify for this label.
In 2019 all 7,490 Inditex stores will have containers to collect used clothing, which will be recycled or given to charity.
So far 1,382 stores have containers and in Spain these are boosted by 2,000 street containers set up with charity Caritas.
The company is currently working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on a programme looking at better ways of recycling clothing and recovering fibres using clean technology.
Isla also revealed that the company had spent more than €5bn with nearly 7,500 Spanish suppliers in 2018 and more than €23bn over the last five years.
"Sustainability is a never-ending task in which everyone here at Inditex is involved and in which we are successfully engaging all of our suppliers," said Isla.
Primark and Boots are among major UK brands to have switched from plastic to paper bags.
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