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Zara Owner Inditex Vows to Use 100 Percent Responsibly Sourced Fibers by 2025

Inditex, one of the world’s biggest clothing retailers, has set for itself a series of sustainability targets in a bid to drive the “forward-looking values of sustainability and innovation,” CEO Pablo Isla announced at the company’s annual general meeting Tuesday.

The Spanish conglomerate, which operates Zara, Zara Home, Pull&Bear, Massimo Dutti and Bershka, will use only 100 percent sustainable viscose by 2023 and organic, sustainable or recycled cotton, linen and polyester by 2025.

It also plans to “fully eliminate” the use of plastic bags across all its brands by 2020 and all single-use plastics for customer sales by 2023.

This year, Zara is poised to double the number of garments in its eco-friendly Join Life label-within-a-label, which employs better-for-the-planet fabrics such as organic cotton, recycled polyester and recycled cotton. By 2020, Isla said, such pieces will account for more than 25 percent of its inventory.

“Sustainability is a never-ending task in which everyone here at Inditex is involved and in which we are successfully engaging all of our suppliers,” he added.

Inditex, Isla noted, aspires to play a “transformational role” in the fashion industry.

To that end, 80 percent of the energy used by the company’s stores, logistic centers and offices will be renewable by 2025. More immediately, all of Inditex’s head offices and 100 percent of Zara stores will be “eco-efficient” by the end of this year. It’ll also be extending its at-home used-clothing collection service, which currently operates in several cities across Spain and China, to Paris, London and New York by September.

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By next year, all stores under the Inditex banner will be fitted with containers for collecting unwanted clothing for “subsequent charitable purpose, reuse or recycling.” Currently the number of containers stand at 1,382, although the company operates another 2,000 street containers throughout Spain in collaboration with the charity Caritas.

At the same time, Isla underscored Inditex’s “strategic commitment” to researching new recycling technologies. The conglomerate, he said, will be expanding its collaboration agreement with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under a $4 million plan designed to uncover better methods of recovering clothing fibers using clean technology.

Inditex recycles or reuses 88 percent of its waste, he added. It will continue, however, to introduce collection and recycling systems for all materials used in its package distribution and hanged garment operations—primarily Forest Stewardship Council-certified cardboard boxes, recycled and recyclable plastic, alarms and hangers—for reuse within the supply chain itself or for recycling under its “Green to Pack” waste-optimization program.