The apparel industry is one of the fastest growing industries across the world. The consumption of resources by this industry has been expected to grow three times by 2050. Thus increasing production and pollution both. Every major apparel brand and the textile manufacturer is taking necessary steps to keep a check on its textile value chain. And take sustainable initiatives to reduce harmful impacts on the environment. The first step key players of this industry are taking is the ‘The Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Higg Index’. It lets companies measure the environmental, social and labor impacts of their products and services. Like many other big names, Walmart, the U.S retail giant has also promised to look into this matter. And make impactful changes to meet their sustainable goals.

By 2025, Walmart is determined to reduce the discharge of its priority chemicals released from its manufacturing processes. The first step towards this goal for Walmart is to source its material only from suppliers who use the Higg Index Facility Environmental Module (FEM) for products sold in the US. Walmart plans to source 100% sustainable cotton for manufacturing products to be sold in the U.S. This will include organic cotton grown in the U.S or from vendors who are certified. It also plans to source 50% recycled polyester fibers for its private textile brand by 2025.

Higg’s Index

Along with Higg’s Index it is also looking at certifications like Oeko-Tex Standard 100, which tests products for chemical residues on product. Walmart’s sustainability goals were disclosed at the Sustainability Milestone Summit held in April, 2019. Global value chain shows an impactful production and consumption graph, the result of which can be alarming. Keeping this in mind, the major manufacturers, vendors and suppliers have started taken initiative to overall reduce negative impacts of manufacturing and other processes on the environment.

One such initiative is ‘Project Gigaton’. The aim of this project is to reduce 1 gigaton of emissions from global value chains by 2030. More than 1000 suppliers are already a part of this project. In the recent Sustainability Milestone Summit, Walmart also announced Walmart Canada’s joining to this project. Canada is the third largest market for Walmart and thus a very important one after the U.S.  Apart from reducing chemical emissions from its manufacturing processes, another goal that Walmart has announced is being powered by 100% renewable energy and powering 50% of its operations by renewable energy. They are associated with 136 new solar and wind projects which can supply an additional of 2.14 billion kilowatts of energy per year for its industry operations.

In 2009, Walmart also became a founder member of the Sustainability Consortium. Walmart’s move is the result of all the appalling statistics that came in light last year, contributed by the apparel and fashion industry. The global apparel market is expected to reach USD 1500 billion value by 2025. After oil industry, clothing and textile industry is the second largest polluter in the world. More than 20% of the global waste is produced by the fashion industry.