Spanish business Inditex, the world's largest apparel retailer in support of its sustainability targets over the past five years have invested more than â‚¬7 billion. This includes the roll-out of its garment collection and recycling programme, investment in better, more streamlined logistics, and the upgrading of stores to make them more eco-efficient.
The Group's investments also paved the way for progress towards its goal of achieving a circular economy, having introduced clothing containers for used-garments in all Zara stores in Spain, Portugal, the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark and Ireland, stated Inditex's annual report for 2016.
These initiatives are part of the 2016-2020 Environmental Plan which aims to collect as many garments as possible to donate to non-profit organisations such as Caritas, Roba Amiga, the Red Cross, Oxfam and China Environmental Protection Foundation (CEPF) for resale to raise funds or for recycling into new fabrics in collaboration with high-tech companies such as Hilaturas FerrÃ© or Lenzing.
In addition to the installation of more than 2,000 containers worldwide, the online platform of Inditex brand Zara has rolled out a used-clothing home collection service in collaboration with the Seur Foundation, which can be utilised with any purchase. This service has been initially rolled out in Spain and will gradually be introduced in the brand's other markets.
Last September Zara launched the second edition of its Join Life collection which focuses on the most sustainable fashion collections that prioritise the use of recycled materials and the most environmentally-responsible garment-making processes.
Zara also introduced a new fabric for this collection, Refibra Lyocell, which is created from recycled cotton and fibre from sustainably managed forests. Inditex collaborated with Austria's Lenzing to develop this new material which is made from purely recycled materials.
Inditex continued to expand its integrated offline-online store model globally in 2016, opening 279 stores in 56 markets, ending the year with 7,292 stores in 93 markets now on all five continents and also increased its sales presence in all its geographies.
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