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digital snippets e-commerce Editor's pick Retail sustainability

8 brands turning to responsible packaging solutions

 

The rapid rise of the e-commerce era has seen an equally colossal increase in plastic packaging used by brands around the world, something those at the forefront of sustainability are now looking to change. 

US residents alone use more than 380 billion plastic bags and wraps every year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. A large portion of those go into the ocean, polluting the waters and damaging wildlife with nonbiodegradable materials. 

Those facts, and many more beside them, are resulting in a desperate need for change. What’s key is that the public is paying attention. A 2017 survey shows packaging professionals and brand owners hear the most complaints about unsustainable or excessive packaging. 

Meanwhile, bans on things like plastic bags are starting to pay off in certain markets – in the UK, over 15 billion of them have been saved from going into landfill since it was introduced nearly four years ago. That stat is particularly significant when you think about the fact these items can take around 500 years to breakdown. 

We’ve already talked about the market opportunity that exists for refillable packaging solutions for those in the health and beauty space, but this challenge is also applicable to broader retail. The good news is brands across all manner of industries, are now doubling down on eco-friendly packaging alternatives as a result. From luxury retailers to online stores, check out these eight examples of those adapting to lower their use of plastics at the delivery stage of the supply chain…

PVH
Calvin Klein packaging

Apparel company PVH, which owns brands including Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, has ambitious sustainability goals that include using 100% sustainably and ethically sourced packaging by 2025. “As a global apparel company, we recognize that we have a responsibility to reduce waste, and one key way to do so is by minimizing our packaging and making it recyclable,” said Marissa Pagnani-McGowan, group VP of corporate responsibility at the corporation. 


The company is already making strides; according to its 2018 corporate responsibility report, 74% of its packaging is now recyclable. Moreover, the PVH Dress Furnishings Group has saved nearly 200 tons of plastic by reducing the thickness of its packaging polybags. PVH also became the first apparel company to join How2Recycle, a project of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition. This initiative provides standard labels with clear instructions for customers on how to recycle packaging materials, such as whether to consult a local recycling program or use a store drop-off station at a participating retailer in order to save from throwing the wrapping straight into landfill.

Toad&Co
Toad&Co partnered with LimeLoop

California-based sustainable fashion brand, Toad&Co, partnered with US startup LimeLoop to replace cardboard boxes and disposable mailers with recycled vinyl packages. Customers can request the new packaging at checkout. When the product arrives, the empty container can be dropped in the mail for return and reuse. 

Kelly Milazzo, director of operations at the company, estimates 2,500 LimeLoop bags – each of which supposedly last 2,000 uses – could supply the company’s entire e-commerce business for 83 years. “That saves the equivalent of 5 million plastic mailers,” she told Outside magazine.

MatchesFashion.com
MatchesFashion’s iconic boxes

Last year, London-based global luxury retailer, MatchesFashion.com, began developing a strategy and a timeline for reducing the environmental impact of its packaging. The retailer is known for the beauty of its boxes by its loyal customer base, meaning change comes with the additional challenge of maintaining the quality and aesthetic appeal for which it has become known. 

The company made three pledges: first, to ensure all packaging is widely recyclable; second, to introduce a half-size box with less material; and third, to incorporate sustainably-sourced materials including FSC-certified card and post-consumer waste.

PrAna
PrAna’s eco-friendly labels

Premium lifestyle clothing prAna uses recycled paper and soy-based ink for its packaging, tying its garments with strips of raffia palm tree. The company had to conduct an extended series of tests to make sure the raffia strips kept products in great shape during processing and delivery. The strategy paid off, with the company becoming 80% polybag-free by 2016. 
Quality control is everything however. “We have different guidelines laid out for each type of garment to show our factory how to fold, how to get the hang tag in the right position and how to put the raffia tie on”, explained Meme Snell, men’s product developer at the brand.

Amazon
Amazon’s brand Tide’s new eco-box

Amazon India is committed to eliminating single-use plastic from its packaging by June 2020. The first step is to replace plastic wraps like air pillows and bubble wraps with paper cushions, a recyclable material, by the end of this year. The company also launched Packaging-Free Shipments (PFS) last year and expanded the practice to 13 cities. By securing multiple shipments together in a reusable crate or corrugated box, Amazon can minimize the secondary packaging required for individual shipments.

Meanwhile, Amazon US began encouraging brands to change their packaging design to facilitate shipping, making the process more sustainable. For example, Tide is planning to switch from its existing bottle to a new “Eco-Box” with 60% less plastic.

Reformation
Reformation’s vegetable bags

Reformation is paving the way for other young, trend-led brands to be sustainable, implementing an environmental consciousness into every aspect of its business.  Reformation delivers its e-commerce orders in vegetable bags which are 100% compostable. Once the bag has been used, it was simply break down like organic waste, leaving no harmful chemicals behind. 

The packaging is plastic-free and made from 100% recycled paper products and compostable bio-based films, with even the hangers being bio-based too. With the average lifespan of a plastic or metal hanger lasting only 3 months, Reformation has opted to use recycled paper hangers to minimise the demand for new materials and reduce landfill waste.

Asos
ASOS packaging

E-commerce giant ASOS has put packaging and waste at the forefront of its environmental policy. After a cradle-to-gate assessment revealed that plastic bags produce 60% less GHG emissions than cardboard, the company decided to reduce the number of cardboard boxes in favour of the former.

To mitigate the environmental damage of its plastics, ASOS uses 25% recycled content for the bags. The company has also reduced the thickness of the bags, which is saving approximately 583 tonnes of plastic annually.

The retailer is also working towards having a closed-loop system, recycling consumer packaging into new packaging. Having 10% post-consumer waste integrated into the new bags helps to reduce virgin plastic usage by 160 tonnes annually.

Maggie Marilyn
Maggie Marilyn

New Zealand based womenswear designed Maggie Marilyn is focusing on an often forgotten part of the supply chain when it comes to sustainability, using compostable bags to ship wholesale items. The bags which are made from cornstarch and synthetic polymer, represent a 60% reduction in C02 emissions compared to traditional plastic bags. The bags are produced by The Better Packaging Company, who have achieved one of the toughest standard regulations in Australia, the AS5810 for compostability.

How are you thinking about sustainability? The Current Global is a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion, luxury and retail. Our mission is to solve challenges and facilitate change. We are thinkers and builders delivering innovative solutions and experiences. Get in touch to learn more.

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business data digital snippets Editor's pick Events product sustainability technology

Everything you need to know from the Copenhagen Fashion Summit

The fashion industry’s largest and most influential event dedicated to sustainability took place in Copenhagen last week, with it bringing a flurry of new technology tools, company pledges and product announcements.

Heavy hitters including François-Henri Pinault, CEO of Kering, and Emanuel Chirico, CEO of PVH, took to the Copenhagen Fashion Summit stage to share their stance on development needed in the industry. The former has recently been hired by France President Emmanuel Macron to create a “coalition” of CEOs in fashion to unite and agree on ambitious sustainability objectives together. Chirico meanwhile talked to the investment needed for long-term gains.

Top of the list of news from the week otherwise was our announcement with Google to collaborate with Stella McCartney to build-out a data analytics and machine learning tool that will enable fashion brands to make more responsible sourcing decisions.

Here’s everything else you need to know…

TOP STORIES
  • Google and Current Global collaborate with Stella McCartney to launch sustainable fashion pilot [The Current Daily]
  • Macron hires Kering CEO to improve sustainability of luxury fashion [Euronews]  
  • Sustainability to become ‘requirement of doing business’ says PVH chief [BoF]
  • In search of a business case for sustainability [BoF]
  • Sustainability is linked to privilege – teasing out the truths from Copenhagen Fashion Summit [Forbes]
INNOVATION
  • Parley for the Oceans to announce Parley ID labels to identify garment composition [WWD]
  • Alyx introduces blockchain tag detailing the origin and authenticity of garments [Current Daily]
  • Can these innovators turn the tide of fashion’s pollution mess? [Forbes]  
PLEDGES
  • Kering introduces animal welfare standards [Eco Textile News]
  • LVMH announces signature of a five-year partnership with UNESCO to support Man and Biosphere (MAB) biodiversity program [LVMH]
  • Asics sustainability report displays progress [Eco Textile News]
  • Pandora joins industry discussion on circular fashion at Copenhagen Fashion Summit [Pandora]
CIRCULARITY
  • Fixing one of fashion’s biggest issues: Leading organizations partner to launch new manifesto on circularity [PR News]
  • Nike creates circular design guide [Current Daily]
  • France says it will ban the burning of unsold luxury items [Teen Vogue]
  • P&G’s Lenor launches call to action at Copenhagen Fashion Summit to address throw away fashion trend [Retail Times]
  • Euratex to design for circular economy in textiles [Fibre2Fashion]
PRODUCT
  • Nike and A-COLD-WALL: Can Good Design Be Sustainable? [Highsnobiety]
  • H&M launches upcycling sustainability program for Weekday [Retail Gazette]
  • Clothing hanger brand Arch & Hook makes the functional sexy and sustainable [WWD]
  • A future world – Watch a trance-like film about the making of Nike’s futuristic leather [Dazed Digital]

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more. 

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business digital snippets product Retail sustainability technology

ICYMI: Rent the Runway’s competitive lawsuit, Cavalli exits US, the data gap for fashion sustainability

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion, retail and tech industry news over the past week.

TOP STORIES
  • Inside Rent the Runway’s alleged “scheme of monopolistic, anti-competitive conduct” [The Fashion Law]
  • The struggling fashion house Roberto Cavalli closes its U.S. stores [NYT]
  • Exactly how bad is fashion for the planet? We still don’t know for sure [BoF]
TECHNOLOGY
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Sustainability becoming an economic benefit for luxury brands [Fashion Network]
  • Hundreds of US cities are killing or scaling back their recycling programs [Vox]
  • Corona builds plastic trash wall on Ipanema Beach to warn from plastic pollution [PR Week]
  • Asda’s George to only use recycled polyester by 2025 [Drapers]
  • The North Face aims to reduce man-made waste in collaboration with RÆBURN [Complex]
  • The next wave of sustainable fashion is all about regenerative farming [Fashionista]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • At Galeries Lafayette’s new Champs Élysées flagship, the Paris concept store is reborn [Vogue]
  • Tommy Hilfiger closes NYC flagship and more [Fashion United]
  • Dior expands beach collection with dedicated dioriviera spaces [WWD]
PRODUCT
  • Gentle Monster and Huawei team up to launch fashion-focused smart glasses [The Current Daily]
  • Lululemon soars on menswear, online push; inches into Nike turf [Reuters]
  • Reformation is launching its permanent extended sizing clothing collection [Fashionista]
  • Bobbi Brown and Walmart want to bring wellness to the masses [BoF]
  • Luxury marijuana brand Beboe is launching a skincare label [Paper Mag]
  • Amazon now wants to get into your make-up bag with their own skincare brand [Vogue]
BUSINESS
  • Farfetch invests in The Modist [Drapers]
  • Michael Kors steps back from Capri board [WWD]
  • PVH in talks to sell Calvin Klein women’s jeans business [Retail Dive]
  • Carine Roitfeld announced as style advisor of Karl Lagerfeld’s namesake brand [Harpers Bazaar]
  • Neiman Marcus drums up support for refinancing [WWD]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Jo Malone London is launching a new fragrance exhibition [Harpers Bazaar]
  • Dove debuts #ShowUs image library to diversify depictions of women in media [Marketing Dive]
  • YSL Beauty hits the desert for debut Coachella pop-up [WWD]
  • Fashion designer Simon Porte Jacquemus is opening a café in Paris and it’s an Instagrammer’s dream [The Independent]
CULTURE
  • The future of luxury is freedom [BoF]
  • Shopping while Chinese: Real stories of discrimination [Jing Daily]
  • Ikea’s next big thing is self-care [Fast Company]
  • Generation Z: Who they are, in their own words [NYT]
  • Why does the burden of creating inclusivity in fashion fall largely on marginalized groups? [Fashionista]

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more. 

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Editor's pick sustainability

Calvin Klein encourages recycling of packaging with labeling program

Calvin Klein Underwear has partnered with standardized labeling system How2Recycle to provide customers with details on how exactly they can recycle the packaging that items come in.

Labels on each product will provide clear information to shoppers about the components of the packaging, and instructions on whether to consult a local recycling program or use a store drop-off station at a participating retailer in order to save from throwing the wrapping straight into landfill.

“As a global apparel company, we recognize that we have a responsibility to reduce waste, and one key way to do so is by minimizing our packaging and making it recyclable,” said Marissa Pagnani-McGowan, group vice president of corporate responsibility at Calvin Klein’s parent company, PVH Corp. “How2Recycle labels will make it easier for our consumers to understand how to discard unwanted items in the most sustainable way possible.”

Target and Walmart are also working with How2Recycle on similar initiatives. “PVH is blazing the trail by being the first company in the apparel space to commit to featuring accurate, consistent recycling labels on their packaging,” said Caroline Cox, project manager of How2Recycle. “The reach of their iconic brands will empower a new sector of consumers to recycle more, and more accurately.”

The move comes as more brands within the fashion industry are taking sustainability and waste more seriously. Packaging is one major focus as consumers increasingly look to recycle or reuse what their items come in and there’s a greater call for reduction in the amount of materials used. Just this past week, a number of consumer goods companies, including Procter & Gamble and Nestle, teamed up on a new packaging solution called Loop, which is focused on reusable stainless steel.

It also ties to PVH’s broader focus on sustainable packaging. The group has a commitment to reduce the overall amount of packaging used for products and work toward sending zero materials to landfill. Its statement on the matter says that 78 million tons of plastic packaging is currently produced globally each year, yet only 14% is collected for recycling.

How are you thinking about sustainability? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners for your innovation strategy. The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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business Campaigns digital snippets e-commerce Events mobile product Retail social media sustainability technology Uncategorized

ICYMI: beauty tech takes over CES, UK retail’s year of doom, the fake influencer problem

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion, retail and tech industry news over the past week.

TOP STORIES
  • The future of beauty is on display at CES [CNN]
  • UK retail sales suffer worst year in more than a decade [BoF]
  • Fake influencers cost brands more than 200 million dollars [Fashion United]
TECHNOLOGY
  • IBM unveils its first commercial quantum computer [TechCrunch]
  • Amazon sets up virtual furniture showroom online [RetailDive]
  • Baidu announces Apollo Enterprise, its new platform for mass-produced autonomous vehicles [TechCrunch]
  • Here’s everything Google announced at CES 2019 [TechCrunch]
  • Bell’s hybrid-electric flying car will be available via Uber by the ‘mid-2020s’ [The Verge]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Boohoo faux fur jumper found to contain real fur [Fashion United]
  • Survey finds ‘conscious consumerism’ a top priority for Gen Z shoppers [WWD]
  • Asos and PVH Corp. join Global Fashion Agenda as strategic partners [Fashion Network]
  • NHL, Adidas to create sustainable jerseys for All-Star Game [WWD]
  • Los Angeles is hosting the very first Vegan Fashion Week [Dazed]
  • Bangladesh strikes: thousands of garment workers clash with police over poor pay [The Guardian]
  • Reusing, upcycling and innovation to be integral at the upcoming Circular Fashion Games [WWD]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Outlet malls seize WeChat to bring online traffic offline [Jing Daily]
  • Microsoft and Kroger to create data-driven connected grocery stores [Venture Beat]
  • Calvin Klein to rebrand 205W39NYC line, close Madison Avenue store [Fashionista]
  • The sweater you don’t like is a trillion-dollar problem for retailers. These companies want to fix it [CNBC]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Lululemon’s next target is mindfulness for men [Quartz]
  • Novak Djokovic takes time out to meet his greatest opponent, thanks to SEIKO [PR Newswire]
PRODUCT
  • Neutrogena unveils personalized, 3-D-printed sheet masks at CES [WWD]
  • L’Oréal’s newest prototype detects wearers’ skin pH levels [The Verge]
  • Simplehuman looks to upgrade beauty accessories business with CES launch [WWD]
  • Nike stretches into Lululemon’s space with 1st yoga line [RetailDive]
  • Goop alumni launch the “Sephora of CBD” to target the cannabis curious [FastCompany]
  • The North Face debuts new outerwear technology [Fashion United]
BUSINESS
  • CFDA report highlights what it will take to achieve a truly diverse and inclusive fashion [W24]
  • These latina Avon sellers have dominated a beauty company modeled on white womanhood [Buzzfeed]
  • Tommy Hilfiger and Zendaya to show at Paris Fashion Week [Fashionista]
  • L’Occitane acquires Elemis for $900 million, eyes Asia expansion [WWD]
  • 38 percent of fashion and beauty brands plan to launch collaborations in 2019 [Fashion United]
  • Moschino has a code word for black shoppers, according to damning new lawsuit [The Fashion Law]
  • Dior switches Paris catwalk date to avoid ‘yellow vest’ protests [Reuters]
  • Debenhams rescue plan could involve closure of more than half of its stores [The Industry]
  • HSBC predicts luxury market to slow down in 2019 [Fashion United]
CULTURE
  • Gucci Garden opens exhibition dedicated to reflections on masculinity [WWD]
  • Miuccia Prada’s take on freedom of speech, cultural appropriation [WWD]

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.