Spanish multi-national retail clothing chain Zara has announced it will turn to recycling and sustainably farmed crops to reduce its environmental impact by 2030, as fast-fashion retailers face continued pressure to cut waste.
The retail giant revealed it is aiming to have around 40% of the Spanish group’s fibres coming from conventional recycling and 25% from sustainably farmed crops by 2030. Chief executive Oscar Garcia Maceiras said, another 25% will come from “next-generation” materials in which the group is investing, and the remaining 10% from other sustainable sources, the company said.
The new targets come as the European Commission is drawing up regulations to make clothing retailers pay for the waste they produce, arguing that fast-fashion companies “encourage customers to shop impulsively and incentivise purchasing larger quantities of clothes.”
“Moving forward on sustainability is natural for us,” said Marta Ortega, non-executive chair of Zara’s parent company Inditex. She called the new targets a “great challenge”.
Inditex has achieved record sales, margins, and profits since Ortega, the heir to the family business, took over as chair in April 2022. Its shares are up 38% this year. Inditex shows no sign of slowing production. The company placed 621,244 tonnes of garments on the market last year, according to its 2022 annual report, 10% more than in 2021.
“Over the long term, we expect Inditex to transition toward a circular model for fashion, the pace of which will be metered by customer demand and regulation,” said Adam Gofton, portfolio manager at Mackenzie Investments in Toronto, which holds shares in Inditex.
“Inditex’s scale leaves the company well positioned to respond to regulatory pressure (scale means any incremental fixed costs can be spread over a larger number of units),” he added.
At the end of last year, Zara stepped into the resale market, launching its own pre-owned platform in the UK. Which enabled shoppers to book repairs and donate unwanted items originally bought from the retailer.
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