03 November 2016
Inditex and China's Tsinghua SEM University sign academic collaboration agreement
The Chairman and CEO of Inditex, Pablo Isla, and the Dean of the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management (SEM), Professor Yingyi Qian, have signed a three-year collaboration agreement to donate resources for the following programmes:
- Grants for Tsinghua's SEM students to visit Inditex's headquarters in Arteixo, Spain to gain practical experience in areas such as fashion retail management, logistics, environmental protection and sustainable development.
- Training programmes to support the professional development of academic staff in scientific research and teacher training.
- Promotion of cultural activities for students on the Tsinghua SEM campus in Beijing.
Following the signing of the agreement, Pablo Isla gave a speech to 500 Tsinghua SEM students. In his speech, Isla discussed Inditex's business model that fully integrates stores and online. He particularly highlighted the importance of people within any business organisation, as well as the need for an entrepreneurial spirit and the capacity to work constantly to achieve targets, engaging in self-criticism and avoiding complacency. Most importantly, "you have to feel motivated and passionate about what you do," he said.
Commitment to ethics
Isla elaborated on his approach to business management including "the importance of teamwork and feeling part of the company, giving freedom to teams and acting with freedom, creating possible organisational structures that are as simple as possible". He went on to say that all of this must revolve around the permanent reference point of "a commitment to ethics, with the conviction that companies have a positive transformative power capable of adding value to society beyond a purely economic contribution," he added.
Isla went on to note the importance of sustainability in all business decisions that must be included in the management strategy from the origin of any business venture. "This means setting sights on the long term, both from a social and environmental point of view, while keeping in mind the short and medium term performance," he said.
In this sense, Isla outlined Inditex's ambitious eco-efficient store programme, in which energy emissions are reduced by 20% and water consumption is halved compared with a conventional store. This project will be completed in China in 2018, two years ahead of the global target, following the proposal put forward to China's Ministry of Environment last year.
Isla also discussed the circular economy and Inditex's efforts to drive this forward. For example, the Group's research collaborations into the development of new fibres from used garments to extend a garment's overall life cycle, including Inditex's collaboration with Lenzing to generate premium textile fibres from textile waste. He also discussed the Group's garment collection service in stores, with plans to expand the service to reach customers' homes (as is already the case in Madrid, Spain), highlighting the agreements reached with regional charities to sort these garments for donation or recycling to generate new fibres. Within this programme in China, Inditex is collaborating with the China Environmental Protection Foundation (CEPF).
Pablo Isla also highlighted the importance of the Chinese market to Inditex. "China is a priority for Inditex, and we are convinced of its growth potential. Chinese people love fashion, and we will continue listening to them and learning from them in order to go on meeting the demands of the market through our integrated online and store model."
Tsinghua University, one of the most prestigious universities in China, was founded in Beijing in 1911. Since it began, it has valued the interaction between Chinese and Western cultures, the sciences and humanities, the ancient and modern. Tsinghua currently has 14 schools and 56 departments, with faculties in science, engineering, humanities, law, medicine, history, philosophy, economy, management, education and art. With a firm focus on social responsibility, Tsinghua University is one of the most active institutions in China's cultural, business and political life.