In the fall of last year, global athleisure brand lululemon unveiled its impact agenda, marking its commitment to an equitable and sustainable future, and pledging to limit its environmental impact by creating products from alternative materials and end-of-use solutions.To reaffirm this commitment, the brand will be launching two new sustainable initiatives – the lululemon Like New recommerce program and the Earth Dye product capsule this May.
Headquartered in Vancouver, lululemon’s new initiatives will be launched under its Be Planet pillar, which is focused on making products that are better for the people and the planet.
The lululemon Like New has joined forces with Trove, a recognized industry expert in re-commerce that has worked with brands like Levi’s and Patagonia for its resale businesses. The program aims to prolong the life of products by inviting guests in California and Texas for a pilot trade-in program where they can trade their “gently used/“like new” lululemon products in any of the brand’s 80+ stores or can send it by mail, and in exchange, the guests will receive a lululemon e-gift card.
All these products will be cleaned for re-use, with those failing to meet quality standards to be recycled through lululemon’s textile reallocation partner debrand.
After the pilot, in June, the initiative will expand into a resale program with the items sold online for a lesser amount. According to the company, if a shopper purchases an item from the lululemon Like New program, which will include guest favorites like Wunder Unders to ABC Pants, they could save 50% of the product’s carbon footprint and 310 gms of waste. To further expand to other states, the company will ask shoppers for their feedback on the items.
In addition to this, 100% of the profits will be reinvested into the brand’s other sustainability initiatives like circular product design, renew and recycle programs, and store environmental programs.
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In a press release seen by Green Queen, CEO of Lululemon, Calvin McDonald said: “Lululemon is actively working to help create a healthier future, and we are focused on meeting the goals detailed in our Impact Agenda, including making 100% of our products with sustainable materials and end-of-use solutions by 2030. Our lululemon Like New and Earth Dye initiatives are both meaningful steps towards a circular ecosystem and demonstrate the sustainable innovation underway in product development and retail.”
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Our lululemon Like New and Earth Dye initiatives are both meaningful steps towards a circular ecosystem and demonstrate the sustainable innovation underway in product development and retailCalvin McDonald, CEO of Lululemon
The second initiative is Lululemon’s new limited-edition Earth Dye collection, which will feature clothes created with earth-friendly dyes upcycled from the waste of oranges, beets, and saw palmetto trees that have been sourced from agricultural and herbal companies.
These dyes include solution-dyed nylon, recycled polyester and FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified rubber materials and compared to its conventional counterparts, these dyes require lesser water, carbon and chemicals.
The tie-dying process used to make this collection, results in a slightly different print each time, making each item unique and the clothes have been designed taking inspiration from colours and textures found in the natural world.
Apart from this, Lululemon is one of the founding members of the Mylo Consortium, in partnership with Bolt Threads to provide access to this brand and other companies like Adidas, Kering Group, and Stella McCartney to develop future products using its sustainable alternative to leather, Mylo that is created out of renewable mycelium..
Last year, Lululemon acquired stay-at-home fitness company Mirror for US$500 million as sales of workout platforms grew exponentially during the pandemic as more and more people were looking for alternatives to exercise at home.
But the brand has not always been in the news for good reasons, with a 2019 investigation revealing the inner workings of the company’s supply chain, whereby female workers in its Bangladesh factory were physically assaulted, beaten, verbally humiliated and paid extremely low wages. At the time, a lululemon spokesperson said that the firm would launch a review to look into these violations and take necessary action as required.
The resale trend has been booming and according to a report, the secondhand market generates around US$30B in sales every year in the U.S. alone, and hence giants like Gap and Walmart are also jumping on this resale trend by joining ThredUp, one of the world’s largest thrift consignment platforms.
lululemon’s new Earth Dye Collection will be available globally from May 11, 2021, in select colors at lululemon stores and on its website.
Lead image – from the Earth Dye collection, courtesy of Lululemon.