Inditex discontinues sustainability label 'Join Life'
The Inditex group, currently chaired by Marta Ortega, will remove its 'Join Life' sustainability "indicator" from its garments, as revealed by the company in the publication of its annual report 2022. This decision, through which the Spanish conglomerate seeks to pre-empt compliance with European legislation, is following in the footsteps of the also Spanish Mango, which dropped its sustainable 'Committed' label at the end of last year.
"We have reached a point in the development of our strategy where it is no longer necessary to differentiate the products in our collections with this label," explained the company headed by Oscar García Maceiras in its annual report. According to Fashion United España, the environmental impact indicator has disappeared from all of the group's retail chains.
The 'Join Life' label was introduced in 2015 "as a tool to raise awareness among our customers and our staff about the use of raw materials and processes that have a lower impact on the environment as compared to the more widely used practices in the industry," as stated by Inditex.
In 2022, the 'Join Life' label was applied to 61% of products
Since then, the number of 'Join Life' items placed on the market has been increasing year after year. In 2018, they accounted for 9% of Inditex's 528,797 tonnes of goods, and just one year later, this figure had risen to 19%. By 2021, "sustainable" garments were already close to meeting the target of representing half of total production, accounting for 47% of goods. And by 2022, this figure had risen to 61% of the 621,244 tonnes of items placed on the market.
As detailed by Inditex in the report, the company assesses and measures growth in the number of sustainable articles through parameters related to the use of "more sustainable raw materials" such as cotton, linen, polyester and cellulosic fibres and the aforementioned presence of garments bearing the 'Join Life' sustainability label.
In the last year, 50% of the fibres used by Inditex (88% of production) were of natural origin (i.e. naturally sourced filaments that can be spun into yarns, threads or cordage); while 40% of the remaining fibres were synthetic (made from polymers which are not produced naturally, but are produced entirely in a chemical plant or laboratory, almost always from petroleum or natural gas by-products) and 10% were man-made (formed from a natural component as a raw material which undergoes different transformations in a chemical plant or laboratory).
Commitment to recycling and life-cycle assessments
In 2022, the company also leveraged recycling by bringing to market up to 78,675 tonnes of recycled materials, a 90% increase compared to 2021.
"To further advance our goals, our sales teams will continue to apply stringent product sustainability criteria and targets as a tool to extend best practices -- both in raw materials and processes -- to all our collections, and we will continue to use Join Life as an internal standard," the company said in its annual report regarding the discontinuation of the label.
In order to continue advancing in its environmentally friendly strategy, Inditex is collaborating with the sustainability expert Quantis. This collaboration is aimed at conducting specific Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) for the various raw materials used, as well as for the production processes involved in the manufacturing of the garments.
In FY2022, Inditex achieved record figures with a 17.5% increase in sales to 32.569 billion euros and net profit growth of 7% to 4.13 billion euros.
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