Inditex is investing over 70 million euros to secure a supply of recycled polyester from U.S. start-up Ambercycle.
Inditex, the parent company of Zara and the world’s largest clothing retailer, is taking significant strides in its commitment to sustainability by embracing next-generation materials. The company is investing over 70 million euros ($74 million) to secure a supply of recycled polyester from the U.S. start-up, Ambercycle, which is based in Los Angeles. The aim is to have 25% of its fibers sourced from innovative materials by 2030
Polyester, derived from the petroleum industry, is widely favored in sportswear for its quick-drying and durable qualities. In line with the growing pressure on fast-fashion brands to reduce waste and adopt sustainable practices, Inditex’s partnership with Ambercycle represents a substantial step forward.
Inditex’s Path to Sustainable Innovation
Inditex will purchase 70% of Ambercycle’s recycled polyester production, marketed under the brand name “cycora,” over a span of three years. Oscar Garcia Maceiras, the CEO of Inditex, announced this exciting development during a business event in Zaragoza, Spain. Maceiras also highlighted that Inditex is actively collaborating with various other companies and start-ups within its innovation hub. This dedicated unit is focused on finding innovative solutions to reduce the environmental impact of the company’s products. He emphasized that the sustainable transformation of Inditex relies on the collective efforts of diverse stakeholders.
Inditex’s investment in Ambercycle will contribute to the funding of Ambercycle’s first commercial-scale textile recycling facility. The production of cycora at this plant is anticipated to commence around 2025. The material incorporated into Inditex products over the subsequent three years. Zara’s sub-brand for men’s sportswear, “Zara Athleticz,” recently unveiled a capsule collection featuring “technical pieces” containing up to 50% cycora. This collection is available for purchase on Zara.com.
Exploring Recycled Polyester and Collaborative Initiatives
Some apparel brands have turned to recycled polyester from plastic bottles to reduce their reliance on virgin polyester. This practice has faced criticism as it has increased the demand for used plastic bottles, subsequently raising prices. In contrast, textile-to-textile polyester recycling, while still in its early stages. As as result, it will require time to scale up to meet the demands of global fashion brands.
Javier Losada, the Chief Sustainability Officer at Inditex, emphasized their commitment to scaling up solutions for textile-to-textile recycling. The deal with Ambercycle is just one in a series of investments by Inditex in textile recycling start-ups. Las year, they signed a 100 million euro ($104 million) three-year deal to purchase 30% of the recycled fiber. This was produced by Finland’s Infinited Fiber Co and invested in Circ, another U.S. firm specializing in textile-to-textile recycling.
Inditex has joined also forces with H&M and Mango to create an association aimed at managing clothing waste in Spain. This is to prepare forthcoming EU legislation requiring member states to separately collect textile waste from January 2025. This cooperative effort demonstrates the industry’s collective commitment to a more sustainable future.