PARIS — Spanish retail giant Inditex has signed an academic collaboration agreement with China’s Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management under which selected students will be offered grants for academic and business exchanges in Spain.
In a speech on business management to 500 Tsinghua students and staff, Inditex chairman and chief executive officer Pablo Isla highlighted the importance of social ethics and sustainability, the company said in a statement.
Isla and Yingyi Qian, dean of Tsinghua SEM, signed a three-year agreement under which the fast-fashion giant will fund grants for students to visit its headquarters in Arteixo, Spain, to gain practical experience in areas such as fashion retail management, logistics, environmental protection and sustainable development.
It will also finance training programs to support the professional development of academic staff in scientific research and teacher training, and promote cultural activities for students on the Tsinghua SEM campus in Beijing.
Underlining the importance of the Chinese market to Inditex, Isla also elaborated on his management principles, including “the importance of teamwork and feeling part of the company, giving freedom to teams and acting with freedom, creating possible organizational structures that are as simple as possible.”
The executive noted the importance of sustainability in all business decisions, saying this must be included in the management strategy from the start. “This means setting sights on the long term, both from a social and environmental point of view, while keeping in mind the short- and medium-term performance,” he said.
The company expects to complete its eco-efficient store program in China in 2018, two years ahead of the global target. It calls for energy emissions to be reduced by 20 percent and water consumption to be halved compared with a conventional store.
Inditex recently won the first WWD Honor for Corporate Citizenship for its efforts to promote sustainability as well as the ratings it has received from other labor and environmental organizations.