Cheap clothes from online retailer Shein from less waste, not low wages: Firm’s sustainability chief


Shein is also looking at reducing supply chain emissions by 25 per cent by increasing energy efficiency in the factories producing its garments, using renewables and bringing production closer to where customers live, like Turkey or Brazil.

However, the firm’s target falls short of the 45 per cent required of fashion industries to align with the Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty on climate change.

Addressing the difference between the two targets, Mr Whinston said: “Unlike many of our competitors, we’re growing double digits every year and already, it’s a challenge.

“The goal that we’ve set for ourselves of 25 per cent by 2030 will take a tremendous effort from the company from our supply chain, so we feel that what’s most important is to set a goal that is aggressive, but attainable. And so once we reach that goal, we’re committed to setting more aggressive goals in the future.”

Still, Mr Whinston said it is possible to fold in sustainability priorities with company profits over time, using technology. 

“These new technologies that we’re seeing – whether it’s chemical recycling, textile to textile recycling of polyester, or even cotton or viscose fibers – as the scale of those operations increases around the world, the capacity of those factories increases and the price comes down, those will be more accessible to customers who are more budget conscious,” he said.

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