The fashion industry has been a target of intense scrutiny ever since the Bangladesh factory collapse nearly two years ago, which has resulted in many brands taking a closer look at supply chains. The result has been a number of initiatives including increased worker pay, artisan collaborations and conscious collections. However, one brand is going beyond the collection or one-off initiative – working to achieve 100 percent sustainability in all its practices.
Fashion brand EILEEN FISHER has embraced the phrase “no excuses” when it comes to its sustainability efforts. This month, the brand announced a bold effort to attain 100 percent sustainability in its practices by 2020. The plan, called Vision2020, aims to create a responsible supply chain by examining every aspect of the way the brand does business “from field to the factory to the landfill.” Vision2020 outlines six areas of focus – Fibers, Color, Resources, People, Mapping and Reuse. Some of the highlights of the plan include aiming to have carbon positive U.S. operations, all organic cotton and linens and goal of recycling one million pieces of clothing by 2020. Yet, the brand is also honest about its lofty goals and the pitfalls it may encounter along the way – the EILEEN FISHER website describes it as both “sensible and scary.” EILEEN FISHER even acknowledges that without collaboration from other brands to create a demand for sustainable dying processes, only 30 percent of their product will be bluesign® certified by 2020. The Vision2020 website goes so far as to show how a current EILEEN FISHER outfit is only “66 percent sustainable,” describing in detail which items are up to snuff and which still need work to achieve the 100 percent goal.
While in the past many fashion brands have taken a targeted approach to sustainability – such as H&M’s “Conscious Exclusive” or Nordstrom’s “She Makes It” collections – EILEEN FISHER is going all-in with its sustainability commitments, choosing to tackle the entire supply chain and incorporate sustainability into the brand itself. And while the goal certainly won’t be easy, consumers will forgive a brand that is being transparent about its journey – as nearly nine out of ten consumers say it’s okay if a company is not perfect as long as it’s honest about its CSR efforts.