Polyester is made from petroleum derived from crude oil, a ﬁnite non-renewable resource, and accounts for 19% of the material we use. Since the 1990s, demand for polyester has grown at a steady rate. Because polyester is an important material in our collections and we are committed to reducing our impact from fossil fuel extractions, we will increase our use of certiﬁed recycled sources over time.
Increasing products containing recycled fibres
Over the past several years, we have steadily tested small collections that contain recycled polyester certified to either the Recycled Claim Standard (RCS) or the Global Recycled Standard (GRS). In 2019, C&A Europe sold 556,000 pieces with recycled polyester, 85% more than the number sourced in 2018. While the number of pieces is small in relation to the total number we sell, we are committed to further increasing our share of recycled polyester products by overcoming the following challenges:
Continuing our journey with recycled ﬁbres
We are working continually to increase use of recycled fibres in our products. This not only includes recycled polyester, but also nylon, cotton, and others. In 2019, for instance, C&A Europe sold 102,000 pieces containing recycled cotton, a 7% increase over 2018. In Mexico, C&A sold more than 14,600 pieces containing recycled cotton in Men’s, Ladies’, and Youth T-shirts.
One way we are continuing to move forward is by participating in Fashion for Good’s chemical recycling working group which is identifying innovators for chemical recycling of post-consumer waste. In addition to preventing this waste from reaching landfill, incorporating post-consumer waste also increases the quality of the recycled materials.
Increasing uptake of recycled polyester
We are working to increase the volume of recycled polyester in our clothing. This includes collaborating with Fashion for Good to identify innovators and technologies for
recycling polyester using chemical recycling methodologies. We have also been exploring the use of recycled cashmere, and anticipate launching recycled cashmere products later in 2020.