Sustainability Initiatives By The Fast Fashion Industry

The adverse environmental impacts caused by fast fashion are no secret anymore, and they have only escalated in recent years. According to a report by McKinsey, the world now consumes more than 100 billion pieces of clothing a year, making the textile industry one of the environmental polluters. Fast Fashion is responsible for producing 92 million tons of waste every year. Meanwhile, a 2017 report claims that this sector is also contributing to micro-plastic pollution. 

Keeping all these statistics into account, fashion players like Zara and H&M recently announced sustainability initiatives to reduce the negative environmental impacts. Here, we’ve put together the significant initiatives taken by the fast fashion industry to address the problem.  

  • H&M

The clothing industry generates 92 million tonnes of waste every year. H&M is one of the leading brands working towards a more sustainable model. It recently launched its new collection in the name of H&M Conscious, made from eco-friendly fabrics.  

H&M uses 65% of materials from sustainable or recycled resources while reducing packaging by 14%. Also, it uses cotton that is 100% recycled, sustainable-sourced, or organic. This brand received the first distinction in the Fashion Revolution’s Fashion Transparency Index. 


Although UNIQLO operates on the fast fashion model, the brand focuses on timeless classics that can withstand the passage of time. The brand is committed to meeting its sustainability goals and is intercepting its supply chain at multiple levels to lower its overall waste. 

In 2019, UNIQLO switched to FSC-approved eco-friendly shopping bags to cut down the use of plastics in its supply chain. The brand has come up with the latest BlueCycle technology to manufacture jeans by adhering to sustainable measures. 

The brand also supports Responsible Down Standards (RDS) to ensure that they use ethically sourced and sustainable feathers in their products. 

  • Patagonia

It is one of the leading brands committed to environmental sustainability. The brand uses mostly recycled materials while ensuring its products are kept out of landfills. 

Patagonia is taxing itself 1% on every sale and donating this money for preserving the natural environment. This brand earned a score of 60% in 2020 when audited by the Fashion Transparency Index

Some of its materials are bluesign certified. Patagonia’s Downlab collection uses the lightest fabrics and also makes PFC-free jackets. 

  • The Pearl Source

This leading pearl jewelry brand is also committed to sustainability initiatives and ensures that a percentage of sales heads to non-profits who assist in women’s issues.

  • Zara

Zara is fully committed to environmental sustainability and is comparatively very transparent about its supply chain. It currently manufactures over 450 million items per year and 500 new designs each week. 

Although the brand adopted a fast fashion approach, it uses 91% sustainable cotton as of 2020. Zara will configure its packaging and leveling system to eliminate single-use plastic products by 2023 as a part of its Green to Pack program. 

Furthermore, Zara has recently announced that it intends to use 100% more sustainable cotton by 2023 and cellulose fibers by 2025.  This brand also doesn’t address the inherent disposability of products that lead to an abundance of textile waste. 


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