Fashion can impact the global environment in more than one way; right now, it’s all about sustainability. From a sustainable economy to sustainable farming to sustainable fashion, retailers are currently living in a world of social responsibility. This couldn’t be more apparent in the UK.

According to a report from the BBC News, “the fashion industry creates jobs worldwide and is said to be worth £28bn to the UK economy – but it is estimated to produce as many greenhouse gases as all the planes flying in the world.” In addition to greenhouse gas, clothing manufacturers consume volumes of fresh water, not to mention the creation of chemical and plastic pollution. What’s more, man-made fibres have been found in sea creatures.

Fast Fashion & the Environment

The Enviro Audit Committee released figures showing the quantity of clothing sent to landfills, the number of fibres released in a single wash, the tonnes of carbon emissions produced, down to how many litres of water it takes to grow enough cotton to make a pair of jeans. All of this is staggering on a global level.

So, what are retailers doing about this situation? Some retailers offer vouchers or other take-back programs to consumers who return used clothing for new items. Other retailers have vowed to use only recycled products. But it’s not nearly enough and there has not been widespread adoption amongst the majority of UK retailers. According to BBC News, “Less than 1% of material used to produce clothing is recycled into new garments at the end of its life.” From a government perspective, UK MPs say that retailers should pay a penny on every garment they sell to fund a £35m annual recycling scheme. But what can retailers do on their own without government interference?

Fashionable Best Practices for Apparel Retailers

Current best practices dictate that retailers need to provide transparency and integrity to build trust and loyalty with modern consumers. When a solid sustainability plan is communicated through a social media campaign, retailers can target millennials, and perhaps more importantly, Generation Z. These two demographic groups are extremely concerned with the environment, social issues, and of course, sustainability. They are also leading the charge with buying used, secondhand clothing. This is where the secondary market comes into play (read more on the growth of the secondhand apparel market).

Reselling Returned Apparel to Increase Recovery Rates

B-Stock operates the world’s largest liquidation platform; allowing major apparel retailers to liquidate large quantities of returned and excess inventory. Sustainability programs, shipping, warehousing, processing and labor all increase costs, but are vital to attract and keep customers. To reduce these costs and to increase recovery rates on returned items, retailers can open their own private marketplace on B-Stock to auction off excess inventory to a buyer network of resellers with their own clearance and liquidation stores. What’s more, B-Stock will work with you on any de-labeling and brand protection concerns (read more on how top retailers leverage brand equity on the secondary market).

We invite you to review our case studies and our suite of private marketplaces that we operate for the top UK retailers, among 100s more.

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