Social Responsibility of the Clothing Industry and the Sustainable Goals

3978 words (16 pages) Essay in Fashion

23/09/19 Fashion Reference this

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A critical analysis of development personal, corporate social responsibility of clothing industry and the sustainable goals.

Contents

Introduction……………………………………………………………. Page 3

Part 1 – Personal Responsibility

1.1  – Clothes inventory……………………………………………………Page 3

1.2  – Clothes diary …………………………………………………………Page 4

Part 2 – Garment Life Cycle Analysis

2.1 – Description of garment……………………………………………Page 5

2.2 – Life cycle analysis…………………………………………………Page 5

 2.2.1 – Material ………………………………………………………………Page 6

 2.2.2 – Manufacturing …………………………………………………………Page 6

 2.2.3 – Consumption …………………………………………………………. Page 7

 2.2.4 – Disposal ………………………………………………………………Page 7

Part 3 – Sustainable Development Goal

3.1 – Description of Adidas………………………………………………Page 8

3.2 – Adidas response to Sustainability Responsibility ………………….Page 8

3.3 – Stakeholder Analysis ………………………………………………Page 9

3.4 – Sustainable Development Goals …………………………………. Page 11

Part 4 – Alternatives, Recommendations and Learning

4.1 – Alternatives ………………………………………………………. Page 11

4.2 – Recommendations …………………………………………………. Page 11

4.3 – Sustainable Business Models ………………………………………Page 11

4.4 – Reflective Learning ………………………………………………..Page 12

Part 5 – References

References ……………………………………………………………. Page 12

Introduction

This report will include the positive and negative aspect of clothes within the clothing industry. The second part of this report will include a reflection about the role that clothes have in my personal life along with the implications of clothes industry and his/her consumption of clothes regarding the sustainable development goals. I will also be critically analysing my Adidas top, where I will be looking into the brand and how they respond to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). At the end of this report it I will include recommendations for the company.

 

Part 1: Personal Responsibility

1.1 – Clothes inventory

Top

31

Blouse

22

Jumpers

9

Dresses

18

Skirts

10

Cardigans

6

Jeans

5

Jackets

7

    

Figure 2 – My wardrobe

Figure 1 – Clothes inventory Table

 

The above table (figure 1) shows the amount of clothing that I consume, and figure 2 is a photograph of my wardrobe.

When I am buying my clothes, I intend to ensure that they are trending with the current fashion as I want to adapt my style with the society as it changes. When I shop for clothes, I will always have to consider certain factors such as the quality of the clothing and whether the price is reasonable for it. Most of the clothes that I possess is from those high street brand, such as New Look, River island, Primark and H&M. The reason behind for shopping at high street brand shops is because it is easier to purchase the clothes that goes well with the trend without having to spend so much money, in a society where fashion constantly changes. I also look at the colour of the garments that I purchase, making sure that it is not too bright such as neon colours, as I believe that it makes me looks darker.

 The type of clothes you wear is important in many aspects, for example it creates an identity for an individual and it can say a lot about a person just in the way they are dressed. People dress in order to impress others or make themselves feel better. Personally, I dress in order to make myself feel better and I enjoy trying different types of styles too. I make sure I try clothes that I have never worn before and try to come out my comfort zone.

 Looking at my clothes inventory I tend to use approximately 75% of them in my wardrobe, as I try to mix and match my outfits in various way, so I make use of my garments. I do not have any personal fashion icon, however, being active on social media it influences me into trying the new trending clothes. I am an individual that goes shopping every week and if there is something that attracts my eyes, I always buy that one clothing on the spot, and when I do so, I make sure that I do not spend over £10 on that item.

1.2 – Clothes Diary

Description of Garment:

  • Dusty Pink Ruffle Dress – from PrettyLittleThings.

    Materials: 95% Polyester 5% Elastane

  • Rose Gold Wedged Heels – from New Look

How you feel (in relation to the outfit):

  • I really love the colour pink, which made me choose this dusty pink dress from online. Wearing this dress, I felt comfortable and very elegant. I matched this outfit by wearing rose gold wedged heels and a beige handbag.

What do you want to say with it?

  • I would like to make sure I am comfortable with what I am wearing whilst being fashionable. I always try to wear appropriate clothing depending on the occasion

Figure 3    Date: 20/08/18

  Occasion: Dinner at Central London

The above picture is one of the entries from my clothes diary. As mentioned, I wear clothes that are comfortable whilst being fashionable and keeping up with the trend. My choice of clothing is always appropriate depending on the occasion, this gives me the feeling that I am accepted by the society and gives me self-confidence.

Part 2 – Garment Life Cycle Analysis

 

2.1 – Description of garment 

These above images shows one of my recent black Adidas crop tops which was purchased in March 2018. This is a very simple top, it is fully black with white Adidas logo on the top left. Just above that on the left shoulder there are three white parallel lines and one line on the right shoulder. The parallel lines are commonly featured on their garments along with their logo. This crop top is one of my favourites, it is simple and casual, which I like to wear with black or blue jeans, or with denim skirts. This piece of clothing has many memories behind it one of the main reasons being, it was bought by someone special and close to me and it was the first clothing as a present from this person.

2.2 – Life cycle analysis

 

Material: 100% cotton   Brand: Adidas   Made in: Pakistan

 

 

 

2.2.1    Aspect: Material

Description

Assessment

The material that has been used to produce this top was 100% cotton. Cotton is one of the commonly used material in the clothing industry, and which is produced from a genus plant Gossypium (Cottonacres.co.uk, 2018).

Cotton is produced in many countries such as India, Pakistan, Brazil, Uzbekistan and many others.

Adidas is one of the companies that aims to use sustainable cotton.

They are one of the founding member of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), which is an organisation that reduces the amount of pesticides and promoted efficient water use (Adidas-group, 2018)

Although Adidas aims to use cotton in a more sustainable way it can have a negative impact on the environment. For instance, 1kg production of cotton fabric causes the same CO2 emission as driving 35km in a car.

It is also stated that in order to produce 1kg of cotton, it required 20,000 litres of water, which is equivalent to producing a shirt or a pair of jeans in the clothing industry (World Wildlife Fund, 2018)

 

2.2.2    Aspect: Manufacturing

Description

Assessment

This garment was manufactured in Pakistan which is one of the developing countries. Adidas works with approximately 800 independent factories which is produced and manufactured in more than 55 countries (Adidas-group, 2018)

Due to the increase of globalisation and outsourcing, many production factories have been set up in developing countries. However, those in developing countries can be exploited, work in poor environment and could possibly include child labour.

Child labour has been a major issue, for Adidas to try and overcome this they have Social and Environmental Affairs Program. This was formed in order to combat this concern in the global supply chain (Adidas-group, 2018)

Another issue of manufacturing is that, whilst producing these garments in the factory it can contribute a large amount towards climate change.

 

 

 

2.2.3    Aspect: Consumption

 

Description

Assessment

I often wear this top when I go out to meet my friends or whilst going shopping, as it is a casual top. As I can wear this top with different jeans and skirts, I wear it at least twice in three weeks.

As I wear this top quite frequently, I will wash it after the second time of me wearing it. I normally wash this with my other dark clothes at home, using it at a low temperature and speed, as I don’t want the softness and the shape of top to lose form.

 

2.2.4    Aspect: Disposal

 

Description

Assessment

When the time comes where I do not want to use my clothes, I will first always offer it to my sisters and if they do not want it then I will donate it to charity. However, certain garments that are special to me or have special memories attached to them, I do not dispose them but store it safe in my wardrobe.

When garment comes to the end of their cycle, there are more than one method in disposing them. One way is giving it to charity, by offering it to charity, people who are less privileged can buy such garments and this can help the society socially. Another method is that, if clothes cannot be used again due to their condition it can be fabric recycled, this means that material can then be reused for other purposes.

Adidas have launched ‘In – store product take back programs’, this is created to make their customers aware that more can happen to the product we think has no life to it. For example, footwear that is given back in Adidas store, it will be collected, and the quality of the materials will be analysed and would be given in the market to be sold as second hand. (Adidas-group, 2018)

 

2.3 – Summary of the LCA

Overall, my garment can consume a large amount of water when I wash it after each second use, and it requires energy to dry this and iron it, so I could reuse it again when needed. However, once this garment has come to the end of the cycle it is going to be given away, which means that it will have a second chance for it to be used again.

 

Part 3 – Sustainable Development Goals

 

3.1 – Description of Adidas

Adidas is a well-known global company that was initially found by Adi Dassler in the early 1900s in Germany, thus a reason for the headquarters to be in Herzogenaurach, Germany. Adidas is known for manufacturing sports shoes, clothing and accessories and is known as the largest sportwear manufacturers in the whole of Europe. As a company their main is to ‘be the best sports company in the world’ (Anon, 2018). The total net sales of this company is €21,218 billion. In 2006, another well-known sport company called Reebok was owned by Adidas.

3.2 – Adidas approach to Social Responsibility and/or Sustainability

Adidas as a company have their own sustainable goal and they manage to achieve it or go beyond it, for example in 2017, their target of using sustainable cotton was 80% however, they had successfully used 93% of globally Better Cotton (Anon, 2018).

As a company, Adidas have set sustainable targets to be achieved by 2020, which were built based on past achievement and learning from mistakes. The targets that have been set for 2020 has been split into two, people and product.

Product

  • Water

In order to produce certain sportswear, it will consume a large sum of water. Adidas knows that water scarcity is an ever-growing issue and they have developed an approach which addresses water efficiency and the quality

2020 targets

Some of the targets that have been set to be achieved in 2020 related to the water consumption and efficiency is to: firstly save 35% of water to apparel material suppliers. These are the suppliers that are taking control of dying within their industry. Secondly, is to save 35% water per employee at their own working premises. (Anon,2018)

  • Material and Processes

One of the main aims of Adidas is to use sustainable materials in order to reduce the environmental impact. This applies to the product itself or within the stores.

2020 Targets

One of the targets that has been set up for within the stores is to reduce virgin plastic. This can be successfully done by eliminating plastic bags within stores. Secondly is to increase the amount of recycled polyester in the products. (Anon, 2018)

Another target is to invest in material and machinery where it allows to use the materials to the most and reducing the quantity of waste that is to be produced through the process. (Anon, 2018)

  • Conserving Energy

Energy is very crucial within this energy and it is known that it contributes a lot towards climate change. Adidas aims to reduce the consumption of CO2 emission.

2020 Targets

Reduce the environmental footprints of their consumer events that are taking place. Another target that had been set in relation to reserving energy is by saving 20% of energy of their strategic suppliers. (Anon. 2018)

People

  • Improve health of people

As a sports company, Adidas aims to encourage and enable people around the world to participate in sports, as it is stated that taking part and being active in sports is key to an individual’s health both mentally and physically (Anon, 2018).

2020 Targets

For the employees in Adidas, they aim to set up a Health Management strategy on a global scale. Another target that has been set in order to improve the health of people is by educating skills that is needed to balance health and the work life for the employees (Anon, 2018)

  • Empower people 

Aim to empower people their rights and make sure they are giving and reaching their full potential.

2020 Targets

This can be done by offering skill training programmes, which includes providing a 100% hotline for workers.

3.3 – Stakeholder Analysis

Stakeholders are those people that have interest within the business organisation. Adidas being a global company it has a very large and a diverse group of stakeholders. (Anon, 2018)

Adidas has many stakeholders which include:

  • Employees of Adidas
  • Shareholders and investors
  • Business Partners
  • Opinion formers, e.g.- Journalists
  • Customers

(Anon,2018)

Below is a table of power/interest matrix, and I will be allocating the above stakeholders on this figure below to show the level of interest they have and the amount of power they have within the company

 

Figure 4

Owners

Adidas was founded by Adi Dassler in the early 1900s in Germany.

In 2001, Herbert Hainer became the new CEO of Adidas. (Anon, 2018)

Customers

Products of Adidas are targeted for those who are interested in sports, from young children to adults both male and female.

Location

Adidas’ global headquarters is location is in Herzogenaurach, Germany. However, their key locations also include Amsterdam, Portland, Boston, Shanghai and Hong Kong

Suppliers

Adidas has more than 800 factories operating on more than 55 countries. (Anon, 2018)

In 2017, 69 factories were operating in just 4 countries which were, Cambodia, China Indonesia and Vietnam (Anon,2018)

In 2017, it was stated by Adidas that 20% of their production was taken place in American countries.

3.4 – Sustainable Development Goals

These are 17 goals that have been set by the United Nations in order to provide a sustainable future for all, issue that involve poverty, climate, inequality, justice and others. (United Nations Sustainable Development, 2019)

One of the sustainable development goals is Responsible consumption and production which is about promoting energy efficiency and better quality of life. This sustainable goal reduces the environmental cost. One of the aims od Adidas is to reduce the consumption of CO2 emissions.

Part 4 – Alternatives, Recommendations and Learnings

 

4.1 – Alternatives

As a consumer that enjoys buying clothes, I should understand and be more aware of the impact that producing clothes have on the people and the environment. As an individual I can start making small differences regarding the amount of clothes that I consume. As mentioned, I am an individual that shops and buys at least one garment each week, I could start of by cutting down on the amount of clothes that I buy. To do this, I should know what is in my wardrobe and avoid buying clothes similar to what I already have, by doing this it will help be reduce buying clothes and it would not build up and end up not being wasted. Secondly, I could try my best to reuse my clothes as much as I can before going to waste. Finally, I should always continue and remain to recycle my clothes or donate it to charity, because someone else can make use of it,

4.2 – Recommendations

It was reported by the Guardian that two factories in Indonesia producing for Adidas were using child labour, who were forced to do over time and were paid less than $60 a month. (Burke, 2019) This leads me onto recommending for Adidas that they should be more aware of what is happening to those people who are working to manufacture their products for their company. This leads to improving on the Sustainable Development Goal of better wellbeing. By Adidas monitoring this they can irradiate child labour and improve the well being of children in those developing country that supply the goods.

4.3 – Sustainable Business Models

In order to make the clothes that we consume it requires a lot of the natural resources to produce them. One sustainable business model that can be used in the fashion industry is the Green Economy model. The issue with using the resources is that there will not be enough for the growing population. The UN environment states how to improve the human well being whilst reducing the environmental risks like climate change and scarcities. (UN Environment, 2019). This has become a priority for the governments. This is important within the fashion industry because, as the governments are keen on this and many of them can be stakeholders within companies, it will encourage companies to invest such things like materials in a sustainable manner and initiatives can be taken in the future to improve so.

4.4 – Reflective Learning

Studying this module has made me more aware about our everyday clothing. Especially doing this assignment and doing deeper research and reading plenty of articles, I had realised how much just one item of clothing can impact the environment and the pressure on the resources. Also, during the group presentation and working with my group, it brought to my attention that there is more to my garments than I thought. There are many people working such as children, a lot of creation and hard work being put into each one, which has been taken for granted,

 

Part 5 – References

  • World Wildlife Fund. (2018). Cotton | Industries | WWF. [online] Available at: https://www.worldwildlife.org/industries/cotton# [Accessed 30 Dec. 2018].
  • Burke, J. (2019). Child labour scandal hits Adidas. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2000/nov/19/jasonburke.theobserver [Accessed 2 Jan. 2019].
  • Cottonacres.co.uk. (2018). What is cotton? What is it made of? Uses of Cotton. [online] Available at: https://www.cottonacres.co.uk/ [Accessed 30 Dec. 2018].
  • UN Environment. (2019). About green economy. [online] Available at: https://www.unenvironment.org/explore-topics/green-economy/about-green-economy [Accessed 2 Jan. 2019].
  • The Waste Management & Recycling Blog. (2018). Seven Ways to Recycle Your Clothes. [online] Available at: https://www.forgerecycling.co.uk/blog/recycle-your-clothes/ [Accessed 30 Dec. 2018].
  • Anon, (2018). [online] Available at: http://www.adidas-group.com/en/group/profile/ [Accessed 30 Dec. 2018].
  • European Economic and Social Committee. (2019). Green growth model – an opportunity for business. [online] Available at: https://www.eesc.europa.eu/en/news-media/news/green-growth-model-opportunity-business [Accessed 2 Jan. 2019].
  • United Nations Sustainable Development. (2019). About the Sustainable Development Goals – United Nations Sustainable Development. [online] Available at: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/ [Accessed 2 Jan. 2019].

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