Are Retailers Doing Enough On Sustainability In China?

Baillian Fashion Group’s concept store, The Balancing, announced a new reusable scheme for its customers entitled “Go Green.” The initiative encourages consumers to deposit old clothes at its “sustainability unit” instore for recycling, and receive an exclusive discount voucher for 2020 Fall/Winter items in return. The luxury retailer follows Lane Crawford as among the first local chains to introduce a more ethical approach to consumption. Chinese fashion companies, however, have been slower than global counterparts to shout about their sustainability efforts, while mainland retail conglomerates on the whole have chosen to ignore the issue. The Balancing has also announced it will implement environmental protection in production processes based on the principles of recycling, redesign, and reuse.

The Jing Take: 

“Go Green” follows in the footsteps of Lane Crawford’s Luxarity, a fully traceable preloved experience that allowed shoppers to receive a garment’s history from QR codes, launched last year. More recently, global e-tailer Farfetch debuted a Sustainability Calculator which allows shoppers to gauge the overall impact of specific materials used in the pieces they’re purchasing. So far, it received little online engagement in China. Likewise, The Balancing’s Go Green phrase has made little impact online.

Farfetch’s sustainability livestream proved more popular with netizens as it leveraged a popular digital strategy powered by celebrities such as Song Yang and Jiang Shuying. Therefore, while digital innovation is key to stimulating the recycling and preloved sector among luxury Chinese consumers, such initiatives need to be marketed effectively. And, given consumer interest is still difficult to gauge, it is vital to keep customers aware of such plans. In order to make a real impact, strategies must go deeper: The scheme of offering vouchers in return for donations is, in fact, encouraging more purchasing. 

The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.

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