Sustainable Materials

We are part of major international initiatives to promote sustainable raw materials and fibres, helping to make their widespread use in the industry a reality.

To make fashion we need raw materials, such as cotton, viscose and polyester.

How those materials are sourced, where they come from and how they are processed has an impact on communities and the environment. That is why we are getting behind key international initiatives to promote sustainable raw materials and fibres.

We also provide special training on materials for many of our purchasing teams and key suppliers, raising awareness of the environmental, social and economic impacts of their choices, and encouraging the use of more sustainable materials.

Cotton

Cotton is our single most important raw material – but it is also a resource-hungry crop. As a result, Inditex is committed to moving towards more sustainable cotton production, such as organic, recycled and ‘Better’ cotton, and working with international initiatives to promote the sustainability of the cotton industry:

  • Organic cotton is cultivated without fertilisers or chemical pesticides and its seeds are not genetically modified. Cultivating organic cotton uses 90% less water and 60% less energy than normal cotton, and reduces the environmental, social and economic impacts of traditional cotton production. We are already the world’s fourth biggest consumer of organic cotton. We marketed 36,7 million items made with 100% certified organic cotton.
  • Recycled cotton uses around 80% less water than the conventional crop and has a much smaller environmental footprint. It can also be successfully combined with other fibres.

We cooperate with the most relevant global initiatives to promote the sustainability of the cotton industry:

  • We are proud to be members of the Textile Exchange, a global non-profit organisation that promotes sustainability, particularly through organic cotton cultivation.

  • We work with the Better Cotton Initiative, a non-profit organisation that brings all stakeholders together to ensure cotton production improves the living conditions of its growers and is better for the environment. Better Cotton is grown according to the requirements of the initiative.

  • As a founding member of the Organic Cotton Accelerator initiative, we are encouraging the development of a prosperous organic cotton sector that benefits everyone from farmers to consumers.

Our financing of a number of agricultural projects in China and India promotes ecological techniques, the development of seed stock suitable for organic farming, the sustainable management of natural resources, and responsible use of pesticides and fertilisers. These projects not only contribute to better environmental outcomes, but improve living standards for producers and their families.

We also collaborate with Lenzing, the manufacturer of TENCEL™ Lyocell that is transforming our cotton waste into high-quality sustainable fibers. In this area, Refibra™ Lyocell stands out, a fiber created from recycled cotton and wood from sustainably managed forests that Zara sells in its Join Life collection.

Wood-based fibres

Lyocell, viscose and other wood-based fibres

Lyocell, viscose and modal belong to a group of fibres made from cellulose pulp derived from wood.

Our objective is to ensure that, by the end of 2017, none of these fibres used in our products come from primary or high conservation value forests.

To achieve this, we have a strict Forest Products Policy, and have helped to found an initiative with the non-profit organisation Canopy and other retailers, to protect forests and find more sustainable options for the textile industry.

Forest Products PolicyPDF, 114Kb

With our encouragement many of our fibre suppliers have adopted forest product policies aligned with our own, ensuring raw materials come from sustainably managed woods. We give preference to materials with a high proportion of recycled and post-consumer waste material, and encourage our suppliers to offer more of this type of product.

Lyocell can be mixed with many other fibres, including cotton and wool, and creates a strong, soft and versatile fabric that we use particularly in our denim, T-shirt and dress lines. The process to make TENCEL™ Lyocell is particularly efficient, being made with cellulose fibres derived from the pulp of low-energy input, fast-growing, sustainably sourced trees.

Recycled polyester and polyamide

We are members of the Textile Exchange, which promotes recycled polyester and nylon as preferred fibres. The recycling process of these raw materials reduces the consumption of natural resources, including energy, oil and water, and significantly cuts down on waste to landfill.

Our use of sustainable materials, in numbers:
  • 36,7 million 100% organic cotton items to market in the last year
  • 318% more organic cotton by weight in our products 
  • 100% of the water and almost all chemicals can be recycled in the production of TENCEL™ Lyocell