Global Decorated Apparel Market - Sustainability

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Major Decorated Global Apparel Brands - Sustainability from Suppliers

Some major decorated global apparel brands that have truly innovative supplier sustainability practices in place are PUMA and Nike. Below is an in-depth overview of each brand's supplier sustainability activities, goals, and policies.


PUMA Offers Its Suppliers a New Financing Program to Reward Them for Sustainable Performance
PUMA Partners with High-Tech Sustainable Suppliers
  • Puma has always sought out suppliers with innovative textile processing technology that improves sustainability.
  • In 2017, with the help of "Covestro, a high-tech polymer materials supplier; and Trans Textil, a specialist in functional textile lamination, coating, transfer printing and special finishing," Puma developed the Accufoam technology to make football boots and bringing the water and energy consumption down by 95% and 50%, respectively. The process also reduced the carbon footprint by 44%.
PUMA Joins China's National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Supplier Sustainability Mapping Tool
PUMA Specific Sustainability Policies and Overall Goals


Nike Incentivizes Suppliers to Improve Sustainability Performance
Nike Supports its Suppliers to Meet Sustainability Standards
Nike Scales Capability Programs With Sustainable Suppliers Who Share in the Brand's Values
Nike Sustainability Policies
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Decorated Global Apparel Companies - Sustainability

Global Apparel companies use different sustainability programs such as shifting from environment policy to environment sustainability policy, continuous emission monitoring systems, beyond compliance approaches, the use of non-solvents for cleaning operations, and the use of green chemistry performance in nontoxic bio plastics.



  • According to Bemis, the company does not use any solvents for cleaning operations. They research all products they use for health risks to both the personnel and environment. Any products that are suspect are substituted with a safer and healthier alternative.
  • Bemis also works with the Massachusetts Toxic Use Reduction lab at UMASS Lowell in to find green and safe cleaning products. They have previously worked with the TUR lab and the EPA Green Cleaning program to find safe janitorial products for cleaning of their print lab and for daily maintenance.
  • Bemis has a chemical inventory process with their lab and with the production floor to make sure all of their processes follow their chemical safety.


  • According to Finotex, the company’s yarns are 100 percent organic cotton. They are comfortable and soft, chemical free, pesticide free, and environmentally friendly. They also offer 100 percent recycled polyester labels. Just as regular polyester, they are soft customizable and comfortable.
  • Finotex also offers a wide range of recycled stocks and colors which include, classic laid, linen stock, classic columns, Astroparch, Speckltone, Royal fiber, Dur-O-Tone, Environment Cover, and many others.
  • Most of Finotex heat transfers techniques are free of dangerous substances as heavy metals, phthalates, formaldehyde and lead.


  • According to R-pac, their sustainable packaging solutions bring important benefits to the environment. The secret to accomplishment in sustainability initiatives include a strict focus on a product’s life cycle and the effect of each decision on all areas of the organization.
  • Their commitment to remain the leaders of packaging innovation spreads beyond the factory floor. They work with clients to bring compelling solutions that promote a sustainable future and protect the environment.
  • R-pac recycled contents ranges from 10% to 100% of their finished paper stocks, providing a solution for every application and budget. Partnering with Solegear Bioplastics, R-pac provides green chemistry performance in a nontoxic bioplastics that competes and exceed traditional petroleum plastics.

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Trends and Insights - Decorated Global Apparel Sustainability

Two key sustainability trends driving the global apparel industry are digital printing and embroidery upcycling.

1) Digital Printing

Why is it a Trend

  • As consumers and purchasers establish a better understanding/awareness of the impact their decisions have on the environment, digital print technologies, along with applications, will advance in an effort to substitute manufacturing procedures that are unsustainable.
  • By the year 2024, the global production reach of digital printing on textiles is expected to be around 36.8 billion square meters. The trend is progressed by advancements in technology such as enhancements in print efficiency, speed, and design.
  • It is also driven by its ability to minimize the energy and water consumption, making the process more eco-friendly.
  • This trend was chosen due to its capacity to reduce the cost in supply chain logistics as well as its projected global reach. Digital print fashion is a trend because of the improvements in terms of productivity, on the environment, creativity, supply chain optimization, just in time manufacturing, and waste reduction.


2) Embroidered Clothing

  • This trend usually refers to the recycling of clothing by adding embroidery to old clothing items. The fundamental idea of this trend is upcycling, which provides brand-new life to old items.
  • This process is as simple as taking recycled apparel and placing hand-embroidered designs on them.
  • This practice may also be referred to as "preservation through innovation."
  • For example, an old denim jacket can be recreated by adding designs such as sewn floral details to the back or pockets, thus giving it a new look.

Why is it a Trend

  • It is a trend because the fashion industry has located ways to utilize extra available fabrics to reduce wastage.
  • Due to the fashion industry's significant contributions toward waste and climate change, the use of embroidery to recreate old pieces is a resourceful way to limit wastage.
  • The use of this approach is becoming more frequent because recycling existing materials helps to preserve resources, such as chemicals, water, and energy, that are necessary to create brand-new products.
  • Upcycling, such as adding embroidery, has become rather popular due to the ability to redesign clothing into various styles.


  • Bethany Williams, a menswear designer in the United Kingdom, produced a hand-printer, hand-embroidered jacket using previously owned pants, shirts, and coats for Vogue Italia’s Next Green Talents collaboration with a company called Yoox.
  • Indian fashion designer Purvi Doshi crafts dazzling garments that contain elaborate embroideries. The fashion designer is influenced by environmental sustainability, as well as responsible and cruelty-free fashion practices.

Research Strategy:

Our research began by conducting a general search of key sustainability trends for decorated fashion. The search revealed a thread which listed a few trends and from those, we selected the use of digital print and embroidery fashion. To obtain information on digital print fashion, we performed general searches and confirmed that it is a key sustainable fashion trend by reviewing sources such as Fespa, Pi World, and Global Industry Analyst. We conceptualized key trend as those trends at the forefront of the sustainable fashion decor industry and then searched for industry leaders that are serving as pioneers in leading the digital print fashion trend. We selected Miroglio Group and Spoonflower.

Next, we turned our attention to the other trend: upcycling by adding embroidery to old pieces. To obtain further information and a better understanding of this trend, we conducted general searches on the practice. We then confirmed that the practice is a key trend in the global decorated fashion industry after searching through sources such as Linchpinseo, Fashion Gone Rogue, and Future Learn. Finally, we searched for examples of industry leaders and chose fashion designer Bethany Williams from the United Kingdom and Purvi Doshi from India.

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Case Studies- Decorated Global Apparel Sustainability

The covered case studies of sustainability initiatives or programs in the decorated global apparel industry focus on Patagonia Inc. and Levi Strauss & Co. Below is a presentation of the requested information.

1. Patagonia Inc.

  • Patagonia, Inc. has a sustainability initiative known as the Footprint Chronicles Program, which is geared towards improving supply chain transparency and reducing social and environmental impacts related to its products.
  • Patagonia also uses Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology, which entails an analysis technique assessing environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product's life, from raw material extraction to processing, manufacture, distribution, and use.
  • They also commit 1% of their total sales to environmental groups, through an initiative known as One Percent for the Planet, which encourages businesses to commit 1% of their annual net revenue to charity organizations focused on conservation and sustainability.
  • As part of Patagonia’s sustainability initiative, they have a mission statement that focuses on build ing the best products, while striving to avoid unnecessary harm. Patagonia also uses business to inspire and implement solutions to environmental crisis.
  • Patagonia openly acknowledges that product supply chains cause harm. Thus, they have initiated programs that show commitment to minimizing their impacts, in what is a refreshingly honest admission from a highly profitable company.
  • Patagonia also has an initiative that is committed to contributing 100% of their sales from Black Friday to environmental organizations.
  • In 2018, they launched a program known as Patagonia Action Works, which connects people with grassroots activists that are working to find solutions to the environmental crisis.
  • Patagonia also launched an initiative called Worn Wear, a service that keeps extends gears' life and provides an easy way to recycle Patagonia garments when they are beyond repair.
  • In line with this sustainability initiative, Reno-Nevada Patagonia started the largest repair facility in North America, which completes about 40,000 repairs per year.
  • They also initiated a Worn Wear Mobile Tour, which brought its repair technicians to cities across the country to fix gear and sell used Patagonia garments. The movement also focuses on consumer education by teaching people how to extend the life of their clothes.

2. Levi Strauss & Co.

  • Levi Strauss' initiatives include a restricted substances list, water quality standards for suppliers, and financial incentives for suppliers who improve their environmental, health, safety, and labor standards.
  • They have also implemented water-saving technologies, an industry-leading climate strategy, Worker Well-being initiatives, and new fiber and fabric programs, as part of their sustainability efforts.
  • Levi Strauss, along with Patagonia and Walmart, also have a multi-stakeholder initiative with the goal of creating an index for social and environmental performance to develop an industry-wide standard for simplified apparel LCAs.
  • The Sustainable Apparel Coalition is tasked with defining, measuring, and implementing practical sustainability standards that support the interests of all its stakeholders.
  • The coalition also released the Higg Index, which can help organizations standardize how they evaluate the environmental performance of apparel products across the supply chain at the brand, product, and facility levels.
  • Levi Strauss also has a sustainability team that crafts the company’s sustainability strategies in partnership with leaders from various internal divisions in defining global targets, measuring progress, and implementing strategies for responsible sustainable progress.
  • They have also created a first product tag, Care Tag for Our Planet, which offers tips to clients on how to best preserve their clothing. Levi Strauss is also increasingly designing products that are suitable for true circularity with 100 percent recyclable materials.
  • Additionally, they have formed an initiative whereby they work with Blue Jeans Go Green in the U.S. and Canada, and other organizations in different countries to collect used clothing.


From Part 02
  • "In early 2018, Stanwell moved from an Environment Policy to an Environmental Sustainability Policy, "
  • "An example of our beyond compliance approach, is our recent $2.2 million investment in a continuous emissions monitoring system at Tarong Power Station, to allow us to monitor emissions in real-time. "
  • "Another example is the ‘Flame Engine’ technology we developed at Stanwell Power Station, which has reduced our emissions and delivered significant safety benefits for the site."
  • "We also recently implemented a real-time environmental monitoring network that measures air, noise and vibration at various locations around our Meandu Mine site. This monitoring enabled us to ensure we are being a good neighbour and operating within our Environmental Authority."
  • "We do not use any solvents for cleaning operations. We research all products we use for health risks to both the environment and personnel. Any products that are suspect, or have little research behind them, are substituted with a safer and more healthy alternative whenever possible. "
  • "Bemis works with the Massachusetts Toxic Use Reduction lab at UMASS Lowell in order to find green and safe cleaning products. We have worked with the EPA Green Cleaning program and the TUR lab to find safe janitorial products for all daily maintenance and for cleaning of our print lab. "
  • "We have a chemical inventory process with our lab and with the production floor to make sure all of our processes are followed for chemical safety. "
  • "Grown without toxic pesticides, our yarns are 100% Organic cotton; and so are our labels. They’re soft and comfortable, pesticide and chemical free and a friend to the environment. Available as woven & printed labels, woven & printed tapes and jacquard ribbons."
  • "Finotex offers 100% recycled polyester labels. Just as with regular polyester labels, they are customizable, soft and comfortable. Available as woven and printed labels, tapes and jacquards ribbons."
  • "Finotex offers a wide variety of recycled stocks and colors which include, linen stock, classic laid, classic columns, Speckltone, Astroparch, Royal fiber, Environment Cover, Dur-O-Tone and many more."
  • "Most of our heat transfers techniques are free of hazardous substances as phthalates, heavy metals, lead and formaldehyde. Embellish your garment with a skin-friendly heat transfer. Recommended for children’s wear, athletic-leisure, yoga, intimate and performance wear."
  • "These hangtags are full of seeds; when you plant in soil, the paper composts away and the seeds start growing. They have a germination stage of approximately 15 days. They are great for sustainability campaigns, projects with kids, gardening enthusiasts and environmentally conscious consumers."
  • "r-pac’s sustainable packaging solutions deliver significant benefits not only to the environment. These solutions can impact areas of business where strategic decisions affect the bottom line and customer satisfaction. "
  • "The keys to success in sustainability initiatives involve a sharp focus on a product’s lifecycle and the impact of each decision on all areas of your business. "
  • "r-pac’s commitment to remain at the forefront of packaging innovation extends beyond the factory floor. We work with clients to deliver compelling solutions that protect the environment and promote a sustainable future. "
  • "A wide variety of post-consumer waste (PCW) paper substrates can be utilized in existing processes and packaging structures, such as Kraft, CCNB and SBS paper stocks. "
  • "Recycled contents can range from 10-100% of the finished paper stock, providing a solution for every budget and application. r-pac has the experience and resources to recommend the right combination of recycled content to integrate your brand and achieve your sustainability strategies. "