Automatically translated from Basque, translation may contain errors. More information here. Elhuyarren itzultzaile automatikoaren logoa

Inditex is flying fast fashion and... ecological crisis

  • Use and throw away. High-speed fashion has filled household shops and mailboxes for a long time, also called fast fashion. But it has it closer than suddenly: besides generating a lot of waste with precarious work, during the transportation of clothing we burn huge amounts of fuel oil, more if we do it by plane. Inditex is the champion and has made Zaragoza airport the largest operating centre in Europe.
Astean bitan hornitzen ditu Inditexek bere marketako saltokiak, jendeak etengabe sentitu dezan arropa berria behar duela. Denbora-epe horietan sartzeko, produktuak hegazkin bidez garraiatzen ditu multinazionalak. Argazkia: Zara Taldea

A jumbo from the Atlas Air line from Delhi is about to land at Zaragoza airport. Inside it has 100 tons of clothing, all for Inditex brands: Zara, Massimo Dutti, Pull&Bear, Bershka… Later, this multinational group will bring its clothing to the 5,815 shops in the world. A jumbo arrives. One and the other, and the other ... Endless daily planes throwing fuel from above, over and over, as Jurgi guitarist Ekiza Willis Drummond sings.

It is called fast fashion or fast fashion clothing that comes quickly from the catwalk to the consumer, produced at a very low cost, and that normally ends in the dustbin after just a time of use. Tinctures and materials used (polyester, microplastics, etc.) They greatly pollute the planet; 8% of the greenhouse gases are emitted by the fashion industry; and every year in the world it takes 93 billion cubic meters of water to make clothes, according to the UN Conference on Trade and Development.

Business chains began in the 1980s with the fast fashion model, and in the last fifteen years they have doubled their production. In addition, they have refined their strategy by adjusting the stock and time of the shops: people have to think that the shorts in front of them will not be the next week for them to buy. Big companies are able to reduce the fashion cycle to a few weeks, with very short delivery times. To this end, air transport has become a key element, although it has generated fourteen times more emissions.

A study published in November by the Swiss environmental association Public Eye shows the impact of air travel on clothing in the European Union: In 2022, 387,000 tonnes of clothing were imported and another 347,000 tonnes of clothing were exported by plane, around 7,500 flights per year, a 20-load full daily aircraft with fashionable items. Journalists David Hachfeld and Romeo Regenass have researched many fast fashion brands for Public Eyer, using independent sources, but among them it stands out, by far: Inditex.

North Africa, Turkey, Bangladesh ... The products of the textile giant take into account where they are produced, as they all go through the same site: From Zaragoza airport.

Inditex’s best-known brand, Zara, produced 621,244 tons of clothing in 2022 and another year left the small record. He is now the world’s second largest clothing company behind the multinational Nike and earns over €4 billion a year more. Much of it goes into the generous pockets of Amancio Ortega and his daughter Marta Ortega.

Ortegatarras have filled their money portfolio mainly with industrial fortunio, but have not given up on other businesses. For Errate, hundreds of millions of euros have been invested in renewable energy in Repsol wind projects. Josu Jon Imaz sees the Galician entrepreneur as an ally for the oil company to be “zero emissions.” Amancio Ortega, for his part, pointed out that the intention of these investments is to "ratify the environmental commitment". It would be better if he returned to Arteixo to abuse and promoted a more sustainable pattern of clothing sales, rather than putting money into questionable macro-infrastructure for pickling.

Zaragoza, airline fashion capital

At the last general meeting held in A Coruña, Zara committed to zero emissions, not like Repsol in 2050, but in 2040. To this end, in addition to being integrated into renewable carbon neutralisation projects, it has managed "green" labels such as Join Life and has participated in "clean" maritime transport initiatives: "Inditex likes to learn about progress in transport efficiency, but prefers to be silent when talking about the climate damage caused by flying his clothes around the world," Hachfeld and Regenass said in their research.

Inditex has huge warehouses around the airports, but the largest is the PlaZa of Zaragoza. Photo: Zara Group

North Africa, Turkey, Bangladesh ... The products of the textile giant take into account where they are produced, as they all go through the same site: From Zaragoza airport. Just an hour from Tudela, Inditex ranks the clothing in the huge warehouse in PlaZa that it has at that airport and sends it by plane to all corners of the world, as well as to the interior of Europe (unless it can reach 36 hours by road, then sends the goods with trailer).

Zaragoza manages 32 flights a week, 1,600 flights a year with 100 tons of clothing each. The latest trend jeans purchased by an American at Stradivarius have probably traveled twice in the basement of
a Jumbo for thousands of kilómetros.En database of the consultant Quantis, the authors of the study of Public Ey claim that 3% of the CO2 emissions from one hundred industries correspond to transportation, the rest is generated in the production of materials, but if you upload the transport to the aircraft.

The authors of the study by Public Ey state that 3% of CO2 emissions from the hundred industries correspond to transportation, the rest is generated in the production of materials, but if transportation is by plane the percentage rises to 28%.

The absurdity is even greater given that transport costs are much higher by air. Thus, the margin left by a tixerta of EUR 10 or 15 is so small that its owner will only pay 34 cents to the Bangladesh woman who manufactures it.

Thus, in some countries campaigns are being carried out and signatures are being collected to call for the end of Zara's air fashion marketing, such as Clean Clothing. But Amancio, our entrepreneur, can't throw away with such nonsense, the important thing is to arrive first, and Inditex is proud that its shops are sold twice a week in new clothes.

Because competition in the fashion sector is not easy. Among the online companies that send clothing packages directly to private households via distributors, Shein is gaining ground, as can be seen in Public Eyen.

From the Chinese city of Guangzhou, many aircraft land daily in Los Angeles, London or Amsterdam, via operator China Southern Airlines. The Swiss public television RTS has carried out GPS tracking of Shein's garments returned by buyers: They come back to China by boat, but then they fly back to other shoppers, faster and faster -- the corrupt path.

We will therefore have to think carefully what to buy at Christmas, because the cheap is more expensive than expected.

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