Zara is a Spanish fashion retailer founded in 1975 in A Coruña, Galicia, Spain, by Amancio Ortega and Rosalía Mera. The multinational clothing-retail company creates fast fashion for men, women, and children.

Zara makes clothing, accessories, shoes, swimwear, beauty, and perfumes. The biggest fashion group in the world, the Inditex Group, owns Zara along with other brands Bershka, Massimo Dutti, Oysho, and more.

Zara is the largest company in the Inditex group. It operates more than 7,000 stores and has 78,000 employees in stores, factories, logistics, brands, and subsidiaries across 50 countries where it does business.

Zara is driving a digital and sustainability transformation to renovate its entire store network and introduce cutting-edge technology in all areas of the business model.

The clothing retailer offers a sustainable collection made from organic or recycled materials called Zara Join Life. It also spread out this initiative to Massimo Dutti and Oysho.

Zara is a fashion brand and clothing retailer based in Arteixo, A Coruña, Galicia, Spain. It makes apparel, footwear, and accessories and offers a collection of basics, activewear, underwear, loungewear, swimwear, outerwear, bags, and accessories.

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Sustainability Rating: 5/10

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Category: Clothing, accessories, shoes, bags, jewelry

For: Women, men, children

Type: Basics, dresses, denim, knitwear, activewear, underwear, loungewear, swimwear, outerwear, sleepwear, boots, flats, heels, sneakers

Style: Casual, formal, chic, classic, rock

Quality: Low

Price: $

Sizes: 2XS-2XL, 0-14 (US), 2-16 (UK), 32-44 (EU), 4-18 (AU)

Fabrics: Cotton, linen, hemp, ramie, jute, lyocell, modal, viscose, cupro, acetate, polyester, nylon, spandex, polyethylene, polypropylene, acrylic, neoprene, leather, wool, silk, down

100% Organic: No

100% Vegan: No

Ethical & Fair: No

Recycling: Yes

Producing country: Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, China, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, Vietnam

Certifications: GOTS, OCS, GRS, RCS, FSC

Sustainability Practices

Zara takes wide-ranging measures to protect biodiversity, reduce its consumption of water, energy, and other resources, avoid waste, and combat climate change.

It wants to be better and more efficient by looking at every aspect of its value chain to ensure the healthy functioning of our planet. However, the majority of its business remains detrimental to the environment.

Zara teams up with non-profit organizations, recycling companies, textile manufacturers, and recycling technologists to launch a clothing collection program and prevent used textile items from ending up in landfills.

It donates collected clothing, footwear, and accessories from customers and employees to non-profit partners, or sorts them for repair, resale, or recycling.

Zara is part of major international initiatives to promote sustainable raw materials and fibers. It's raising awareness of textile impacts and encouraging the use of more sustainable materials.

Zara only uses a very small proportion of organic materials such as organic cotton, hemp, and linen, or recycled materials such as recycled cotton, recycled polyester, and regenerated nylon.

Only very few of its collections are dedicated to sustainable fashion. Most of the fabrics it uses are either natural without relevant certifications, such as cotton or linen, or synthetic petroleum-based fibers such as polyester, nylon, acrylic, and more.

Zara also uses a little amount of semi-synthetic fibers or regenerated cellulosic fabrics such as Tencel lyocell, modal, acetate, and viscose.

Tencel is an eco-friendly fiber made with wood pulp from FSC-certified sustainable forests. But only a very small proportion of the materials used by Zara are environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Zara publishes a list of all its manufacturers and many of its processing facilities on its corporate website, the Inditex group. It aims to create value in every worker of its suppliers and manufacturers.

Zara used to employ Turkish sweatshops in Istanbul, where workers were forced to work without being paid. Modern slavery and child labor cases involving Zara in Brazilian factories were previously reported.

Zara now cares more about its suppliers with higher transparency and worker empowerment initiatives. But the brand still doesn't pay a living wage across its supply chain.

The 2022 Fashion Transparency Index gave Zara a score of 43% based on how much the group discloses about its social and environmental policies, practices, and impacts.

Zara manufactures its clothes in Turkey and many other East Asian countries where human rights and labor law violations still happen every day.

The Spanish clothing retailer doesn't show any labor certification standard that would ensure good working conditions, decent living wages, health, safety, and other important rights for workers in its supply chain.

Zara has a code of conduct that applies to all its suppliers and subcontractors based on the regulations set by the International Labor Organization (ILO).

Zara assesses compliance with its Code of Conduct by informal visits or third-party audits with or without notice. It works with international and local unions and NGOs to improve the working conditions in its factories.

Zara is part of industry initiatives such as ACT (Action, Collaboration, and Transformation) and the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety.

Zara doesn't use any exotic animal skin, hair, fur, or angora. But it uses leather, wool, silk, and down feathers to manufacture many of its clothing pieces.

These animal-derived materials are cruel and unethical. They also harm the environment by producing greenhouse gases and wastes. More sustainable alternatives exist.

Sustainability Goals

Zara has committed to reducing the impact of water across the entire supply chain by 25% by 2025. It already achieved zero discharge of hazardous chemicals in 2020 in the manufacture of its products.

Zara plans to reduce its GHG emissions by 90% in its Scope 1 and 2, and 20% in its scope 3 (in the Purchased Goods category), by 2030 compared to 2018, with the aim of achieving net-zero emissions in 2040.

100% of its cotton will be sustainable (organic, BCI, and recycled) in 2023. And in 2025, all cellulosic fibers will be sustainable. In 2023, its viscose will be 100% sustainable.

And 100% of the linen it uses in its garments will be sustainable linen in 2025. 100% of the polyester it uses in its garments will be recycled polyester in 2025.

Zara also reuses and recycles in its own operations, aiming to achieve a target of zero waste to landfills by 2023. It aims to achieve 100% of all packaging materials collected for reuse or recycling in its supply chain in 2023.

By 2023, all single-use plastics will have been totally eliminated from customers sales.

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