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Shein wants to focus on sustainability

During the World Retail Congress, the Chinese fast-fashion giant head said shoppers are no longer just interested in affordability

Customers inside a shoe store at the Myeongdong shopping district in Seoul, South Korea
Customers inside a shoe store at the Myeongdong shopping district in Seoul, South Korea (Bloomberg)

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Fast-fashion retailer Shein is planning to become more focused on sustainability, said the brand executive vice-chairman Donald Tang at the World Retail Congress in Barcelona.

According to a Reuters report, Tang said that consumers are no longer just concerned about affordability. "Consumers these days are no longer looking just at price," Tang said. "In the next phase of growth we need to think everything we do with ESG in mind."

Also read: Shein will spend $15 million to clean up its act

ESG, an acronym for environmental, social, and governance, is a term used to describe corporations' efforts to be more responsible. Shein sells $10 dresses and $5 tops and has taken market share from other affordable fashion retailers, states the Reuters report. 

Tang said that Shein, through its evoluSHEIN line, is offering customers an option to pick more sustainable materials and pay a premium for them. EvoluSHEIN items are partly made with recycled polyester, states the Reuters report. He also mentioned Shein Exchange, the company's platform where shoppers can resell used clothes, which launched in the US in October and aims to start in other markets this year, it adds.

"These are the things we are doing but that is obviously not enough; we have to do a lot more, a lot more research," Tang said. 

Meanwhile, despite initial signs that price rises are slowing, retailers globally are still worried about inflation dampening consumer spending, according to a survey of retail decision-makers conducted by Boston Consulting Group.

Overall the rising cost of goods, declining consumer spending, and unpredictable supply chains were the top-ranked concerns for the 561 global retail executives, directors, and managers surveyed by BCG for a report, according to another Reuters report. The BCG report was published on 25 April during the World Retail Congress conference.

Also read: The rise and rise of Shein


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