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The Round Up: Covid-19 Reduces Emissions & More

The Round Up: Covid-19 Reduces Emissions & More

Covid 19 is disrupting business

The Round Up is ZERRIN’s weekly sustainable beauty and fashion news segment, keeping you updated on the latest news worldwide. From green moves from some of the industry’s big international players and exciting updates from emerging labels to tech innovations in the sustainability sphere, you can read about it all in our weekly update.

Reduced emissions around the world due to Covid-19


1. With everyone at home and a pause on industries, China’s carbon emissions have dropped by 100 million metric tonnes.

China, the world’s largest producer of greenhouse gases, is seeing its first decline in carbon emissions in three years. With a countrywide shutdown due to Covid-19, the government has implemented travel bans, work-from-home and a (temporary) pause on industrial activities. Consequently, we can trace the decreased carbon emissions back to empty city centres, factories and grounded planes.

This time last year, China reportedly released 400 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide, with this year’s figures close around 300 million metric tonnes. While these short-term reductions won’t seem to last, the country’s annual emissions only drop by 1 per cent. Yet however, smog still persists over major cities such as Beijing. Especially since steel blast furnaces were on full blast throughout Chinese New Year till now. So much for Chinese citizens hoping to see blue skies during these troubled times.

Here’s a great article explaining this decline in emissions and what it means for China’s economy.

2. Glossier discontinues one of its largest product launches from last year, in their commitment to sustainability.

Glossier is always buzzing, and this time it’s about how founder and CEO Emily Weiss, details the changes the company will make to be more eco-friendly. This started with discontinuing Glitter Gelée, an eye product contains plastic glitter. Weiss admits how they’ve made the wrong choice. They hope to reformulate with a newer and environmentally-friendly bio-glitter in the future.

There are many changes Glossier has made to be more eco-conscious in the past, such as its Limited Packing option launched in 2019. This allows customers to opt-out of any excess packaging including the signature pink pouch your goodies come from. Additionally, they use 100% recycled cardboard for their shipping boxes, discontinued sticker sheets, has begun removing unnecessary liners from its boxes, and allowed the pink pouched to be recycled at any of their locations.

Glossier faces criticism but redeems itself with a  commitment to sustainability.

3. Former H&M executive, Daniel Kulle is now appointed CEO of the bankrupt Forever 21.

Forever 21’s new co-owner Authentic Brands has appointed ex-president of H&M North America as CEO for the bankrupt apparel company. Daniel Kulle, having worked for nearly two decades at the Swedish apparel retailer, was also recently the strategic adviser to former H&M Group Chief Executive Karl-Johan Persson.

This move by Authentic Brands hopes to improve the overall shopping experience and sales, by bolstering on Kulle’s reputation for raising annual sales in the region increased to $4 billion from $1 billion and expanding H&M’s presence online and through 600 new stores.

This is how the bankrupt fast fashion company hopes to turn a new leaf with their new CEO.

H&M new appointed director

4. More news H&M, growth is up 43% in India, despite decreased footfalls and slowed growth elsewhere.

Completing 5 years in India, the Swedish retail giant, H&M aims to be the most preferred fashion choice for Indian consumers. Especially as nearly 50% of their stores are in smaller towns and cities, H&M is attracting citizens from all nooks and corners – with almost 1500 crore sales (approx USD 210 million).

Now with their 5th year in tow, they have partnered with Indian designer Sabyasachi for an anniversary collection. H&M hopes to make Sabyasachi’s elaborate textile designs (and high price-point) more accessible to a greater audience. However, we wonder if the principles of each company will clash, as the Indian designer’s values artisanship, craft and heritage, and H&M on the other hand mass-manufacture (and wastes) in the millions.

Read more about H&M’s plans for the Indian market.

5. Francesco Risso’s collection for Marni embraces leftover fabrics and patchwork.

Milan Fashion Week is seeing the rise of low-waste collections, with Gabriela Hearst’s collection made from fabric waste, and also Marni using fabrics old and new. With the theme of patchwork and collage, creative director Francesco Risso’s message was “finding beauty in leftovers”. While patchwork is a sustainable practice, making sure excess fabric can be used without leaving waste, Risso was careful not to use the word ‘sustainable’. He instead urges to make Marni a “conscious place where things are done in a better way”.

More on Risso’s franken-sweaters and dresses made from contrasting strips of fabric.

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Fast beauty is the new unsustainable movement

6. Consumerism is driving beauty products at lightning speed to consumers – is fast beauty on the rise?

Following in fast fashion’s steps, beauty brands are keen to stay on top of ultra-popular trends. They are churning products immediately with the see-now-want-now culture. Fast beauty and the rise of beauty vloggers is no coincidence. It snowballed from product-haul videos and bottomless makeup boxes to conspicuous consumerism and sped up mass manufacturing. Especially with the fickle nature of trends that last as long as an IG Story, this leads to unsold inventory, exploitation of labour and infringement of copyright for independent brands who find out they’ve been counterfeit only after a product launch.

Here are some of the challenges posed by fast beauty if they are going to the next fast fashion.

7. Mushrooms and fashion go well together, and these guys from the Indonesian start-up, Mycotech, tell us how.

We hear about the growing moral debates about animal leather vs vegan (plastic) leather. So these guys are jumping into the new category of plant-based leather, using mushrooms. Mycotech, is an Indonesia-based startup transforming mushroom waste into plant-based, vegan-friendly leather.

From what started by chance, the CEO and co-founder Adi Reza talks about how the technology they’ve created can change the leather industry for better. Not only is it made from food waste, but it also takes less time to go from plant to product. Growing mushrooms only takes 60 days, as compared to rearing cows for 3 to 4 years before they can make leather.

Learn more about this mushroom leather company and their potential to drive eco-conscious leather to a new level.

How sustainable is free shipping?

8. Is buying sustainable products online sustainable if it takes a ship, plane, truck and van to get to us?

Online commerce is here to stay, and for good reasons! You don’t need to drive to a store and can try on your purchases in the comfort of home. However, it is the repercussions of companies offering express delivery and free returns that we think about less often.

With the number of freights, flights and trucks on the road to speedily deliver, or take back your online buys, we have to be aware of the environmental impact e-commerce has. So even if you are buying a sustainably made garment from the other side of the world, it’s sad to consider if the positives will be negated by the logistics of it all.

Here’s what you should know about how free shipping and returns impact our world.

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