Inditex on Tuesday unveiled a major initiative to boost its “green” credentials, including the development of new textile fibers and a wide-ranging domestic recycling program that includes picking up clothing at online customers’ homes.
Pablo Isla, chairman and chief executive officer of Inditex, revealed the measures at the company’s annual general meeting on Tuesday at its headquarters in Arteixo, Spain, signaling that competition is heating up between fast-fashion giants to demonstrate their commitment to the environment.
Isla unveiled the retailer’s new 2016-20 Environmental Strategy Plan, which includes a partnership with Lenzing, the Austrian company that makes Tencel, for the manufacture of premium textile raw materials from textile waste generated by Inditex.
The Spanish company will provide Lenzing with around 500 tons of textile waste for recycling into new materials and hopes to raise this to around 3,000 tons within a few years. “This is enough fabric to enable Lenzing to produce around 48 million garments,” it said.
Inditex will also partner in an unspecified way with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Spanish universities on research into technology for the creation of new textile fibers.
On its key domestic market, Zara will launch a pilot test in Madrid with the Spanish charity Caritas and transportation firm Seur to collect used clothing at home for free when delivering online orders. Inditex hopes to extend the scheme gradually all over Spain.
It plans to install between 1,500 and 2,000 garment collection containers in Spain’s main cities as part of its collaboration with Caritas, which will see it donating 3.5 million euros, or $3.9 million at current exchange rates, over two years toward modernizing the charity’s garment sorting and treatment plants.
Inditex plans to equip all its brick-and-mortar stores in Spain with garment recycling containers by September.
Swedish rival Hennes & Mauritz AB has claimed it was the first fashion company to implement a global garment collection initiative. Since the scheme was launched in 2013, it has gathered more than 22,000 tons of garments — the fabric equivalent of 100 million T-shirts, the company said on its web site.
In addition to the environmental initiatives, Inditex revealed the launch of mobile payment in all of the group’s stores in Spain from September. Customers will be able to register for mobile payment within the online apps of all its retail brands: Zara, Pull&Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Stradivarius, Oysho, Zara Home and Uterqüe. They will also be able to use a new in-house app, InWallet, to pay for purchases in any of the group’s stores in Spain.
“The new service has been designed to enhance the shopping experience and aims to significantly simplify the purchase and returns process. Customers can activate the service directly from the online app, adding the payment cards they want to use on the account in a safe and secure way,” Inditex said.