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Sustainable fashion labels have growth potential

Caroline Zöller

Published on 03.04.2020

What for a long time was merely regarded as a niche area is increasingly becoming a growth market: ethically and sustainably manufactured fashion is currently very trendy. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) could become increasingly important as a factor for future success in the industry.

In the meantime, more and more consumers attach importance to their garments having been manufactured in accordance with ethical and environmental standards. This is also one major contributing factor as to why large parts of the fashion trade are showing ever greater social responsibility. This development is reflected by numerous collaborative projects and initiatives within the industry. Fashion producers are also increasingly publishing sustainability reports to provide transparency to their customers.

There are some prime examples out there illustrating that an offensive CSR strategy can be extremely successful in the marketplace. One such company is the outdoor manufacturer Patagonia from California. As well as delivering high quality products for outdoor sports, it also has another key objective: that we treat our “home planet” with the utmost care.

One of Patagonia’s core values is to create the best product while causing as little environmental damage as possible in the process. I.e. the main focus should be on longevity, repairing and re-using garments rather than creating something that is merely discarded at some point. Products should last for many years and be capable of being recycled afterwards so that they can be used sensibly once more. The company is currently switching to using renewable and recyclable materials exclusively.

The German sportswear and outdoor manufacturer VAUDE is also a pioneer in this area. The Bavarian company is trying to reduce its ecological footprint still further, with environmental protection and social responsibility being solidly anchored in the company’s culture. In addition, VAUDE is a member of the independent “Fair Wear Foundation” in this area. VAUDE’s aim is to be perfectly informed about the entire supply chain and to make sure it is entirely transparent.

From a niche market to mainstream? Sustainably produced clothing could give companies a real competitive edge in future. As such, corporate social responsibility could be a permanent aspect of a long-term enterprise strategy in the textile industry of the future.

Image: Markus Spiske @