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Inditex Invests Over $7.5B in Sustainability Targets

Inditex is upping the ante on its greener supply chain investments.

The Spain-based clothing tycoon’s fiscal 2016 results indicated that Inditex has invested more than $7.5 billion in its infrastructure and growth initiatives, including its environmental targets over the past five years. In 2016 these investments totaled $1.5 billion, due to Inditex furthering sustainability within its logistics, technology, fashion collections and consumer engagement.

Inditex’s sustainability investments include four core strategic lines. The group’s logistics platforms and design centers will be expanded and modernized to boost efficiency and conserve energy. New and existing stores will be expanded to adhere to Inditex’s eco-efficiency standards. Brick-and-mortar locations will also implement greener technology, including paper saving mobile payments and RFID. Lastly, the group will continue to offer eco-friendly apparel lines and its clothing recycle program to consumers.

Last year, Inditex took an eco-friendlier approach to new next-generation logistics. Highly-advanced “multi-shuttle” areas were established at the Barcelona-based Bershka platform and at A Coruña’s Arteixo distribution center. The new fulfillment systems streamline dispatch time management, while doubling the speed with which boxes are collected, moved and stored. Since 2012, the group has devoted over $1.1 billion to acquiring sustainable technology for its logistics operations.

RFID rollout was also a priority of Inditex for fiscal 2016. Inditex implemented RFID technology in all of its Zara locations last year and plans to do the same for its Massimo Dutti , Pull & Bear and Uterqüe stores in 2017. Stradivarius, Bershka and Oysho locations will also receive RFID technology in 2018 and the project is expected to conclude in the summer of 2020. Furthermore, the number of eco-efficient stores globally reached 4,159 in 2016, which was up from 3,148 in 2015. With over 60 percent of Inditex’s stores achieving this sustainable status, the group is furthering its goal of having all its properties be eco-efficient by 2020.

Along with implementing eco-efficient stores, Inditex also introduced mobile payments in 15 markets last year. In Spain, the new service enables end-to-end management of online and offline purchasing receipts, which will facilitate a more sustainable approach towards receipt paper. Additionally, the e-receipt system benefits consumers as well, since it allows them to manage purchases digitally without hard-copy receipts.

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Fostering a circular economy also continues to be a top sustainability investment for Inditex.

Last year, Inditex’s Green to Pack program made significant progress. The project, which was created to recycle store merchandise boxes, enabled Zara to save 22,000 trees and the emission of 1,680 tons of carbon annually. Since March, all Zara online orders are delivered in regenerated boxes, 56 percent of which come from boxes previously used by Inditex.

In September, Zara launched its second Join Life collection, which emphasized the use of recycled materials and greener apparel production. Refibra, the collection’s fabric, was created from sustainably-managed forest pulp and cotton scraps. In its partnership with Lenzing Group, a botanic fiber company, Inditex launched the line and promoted the use of regenerated materials in the fashion industry.

Consumers are also part of Inditex’s vision of closing the loop. The group introduced used-garment clothing containers in its Zara stores in Denmark, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the U.K. More than 2,000 containers have been implemented worldwide due to consumers taking part in Inditex’s sustainability efforts. Consumer involvement initiatives, including the containers, are part of Inditex’s 2016 to 2020 Environmental Plan. In 2017, Inditex aims to donate used clothing to non-profit organizations and give these garments a second life in the apparel sector.