Good News Transparency Story: OVS
By Mike Ayeni
Sustainable Fashion Writer, Local Threads
OVS (Organizzazione Vendite Speciali) is a fashion business based in Italy. It has over 1285 sites in 35 countries in Europe, Latin America, and Asia. The fashion brand was established in 1972 as a branch of Coin, an Italian department store chain known as Organizzazione Vendite Speciali (Special Sales Organization). Until 2015, the firm remained a subsidiary of Coin Group, after which it had an initial public offering (IPO). Revenues amounted to €1.32 billion with a market share of around 5% of the national fashion retail market in the same year.
The OVS brand has a 7.4% market share in Italy in the apparel category of women, men and children (the source: Euromonitor International, 2013). OVS has been recognized and respected on the market as a brand that can combine excellent everyday sustainable fashion with the greatest price and engage with its clients through conventional and new multimedia channels since the process of trademark restoration began in 2007. It is the largest apparel store in the country.
The Fashion Transparency Index
The Fashion Transparency Index is not meant to be a buying guide or show whether a business is ethical or sustainable. It was developed to draw attention to how open the world's biggest fashion companies are about sharing environmental and ethical issues. The Index can serve to hold these businesses accountable and accelerate the pace of change in the fashion industry.
The Fashion Transparency Index has prompted changes by making supply chain transparency more common and by working with other platforms and partners to enable the research to be used to hold companies accountable and to advocate for better laws.
The Fashion Transparency Index for 2021 is as follows:
- A staggering 99% of big fashion firms refuse to reveal how many people in their supply chain are paid less than a livable wage.
- 96% of businesses haven't released a plan for achieving a livable wage for all workers in their supply chain.
- Despite the fact that most carbon emissions occur at the processing and raw material stages, 62% of brands report their carbon footprint at their facilities. Only 26% reveal this information at the production level and only 17% at the raw material level.
However, there is some good news. Major brands are now disclosing some of their processing facilities at a rate of 27%, up from 24% last year.
OVS leads the Italian apparel market, which develops, creates, and markets OVS and UPIM brands of men's, women's, and children's wear. It is the Italian market leader in children's clothing, having won the "Retailer of the Year" award for only specific market sectors for the past four years.
The 2021 Fashion Transparency Index, issued recently by Fashion Revolution, a non-profit worldwide organization, found that Italian company OVS had the top score of 78% (representing a 44% rise over the previous year's result, which was the highest). H&M (68%) ranked second, followed by Timberland and The North Face (66%). Twenty of the world's biggest brands earned a zero rating while OVS and Puma were at the top of the rankings at 94% under the 'policy and commitments' section, the following zero-rating sixteen brands were all at 90% ratings. OVS's traceability score was strong since they published complete first-tier factory listings, in addition to some of their processing facilities and raw materials sources.
Among all the brand-name retailers, OVS as well as Target Australia performed the best in the "know, show, and fix" part, which shows how retailers determine whether their rules are being respected in the supply chains and the evidence they offer that their efforts are having a positive effect on workplace practices and environmentally responsible practices.
With a score of 72%, OVS is the top-scoring fashion brand in the ‘spotlight problems' area this year, from 24% the previous year.
What have they done differently?
In 2020, 65% of their garment was manufactured with low-impact materials. By 2025, they will have surpassed 90%. They assist their customers in making more responsible decisions by providing comprehensive information on how to care for their clothing and make them last longer.
Quality is an essential prerequisite for OVS. This is why they have a quality assurance department to ensure that the quality of all of their fabrics meets all of their internal criteria and current regulations in terms of manufacturing, resources, and methods.
Their connections with suppliers, the supply chain's participants, and the resources and commodities they use (and re-use) all have a part to play in the environmental and social "journey" of their goods. People may extend the life of their garments by washing and treating them properly, improving the quality and minimizing the quantity of the garbage that ends up in landfills.
They also encourage employees to work in an inclusive atmosphere that celebrates diversity and turns them into advocates for the OVS sustainability concept. Their stores are in unique locations where they can promote their beliefs, encourage ethical purchasing of garments, demonstrate their commitment to increasing sustainability of fabrics and provide clients with a responsible shopping experience.
“We aim to make shopping simple, cutting-edge, and incredible, which means providing an experience without limits.” -Monica Gagliardi - director of e-commerce, CRM, web, and digital marketing at OVS.
Supply chain and operations
They purchase their fabrics from the world's most significant sources, including the Mediterranean Basin, the Far East, and Italy. OVS has established worldwide scouting, production, and quality control organisations in New Delhi, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Istanbul and Dhaka, employing over 300 employees. The supply chain is maintained in Italy by two warehouses in Milan and Piacenza and a network of foreign service providers. The annual volume exceeds 180 million pieces. With a daily schedule, garments are supplied to the network depending on shop demands.
85% of the cotton was used in the 2020 collection and was certified organic and produced under the Better Cotton Initiative. Recycled polyester was used to make 1,300,000 products. Waterless technology was used to make 30% denim, reach 100% by 2025, saving over 1 billion litres of water. More than 65% of the collection of garments is produced using materials sourced from environmentally friendly supply networks.
OVS is putting money into knowing every link in the lengthy supply chain, having supply lists available, and precisely reporting water usage and CO2 emissions: at an administrative level through supplier engagement and at the level of each product through ECO VALORE, a project in partnership with the University of Padua, which allows consumers to rapidly analyze the environmental effect on clothes as created during manufacturing.
Today, OVS has over seven hundred locations globally, including over six hundred in Italy and another hundred and thirty-three elsewhere (Spain, Eastern and Central Europe, and Saudi Arabia). They range from corner shops to flagships, from stores with an assortment of lines to shops for children's clothing called OVS Kids (156, including 100 in Italy, a number that should be increased to 150 by the end of the year). In 2014, 80 new jobs were opened in Italy, with an additional 30-40 vacancies abroad.
“Our 2020 Sustainability Balance is a critical document that demonstrates our environmental commitment,” stated OVS CEO Stefano Beraldo. “We recognize that openness is a vital principle, and it will lead us in making our future decisions,” he continued, noting that the company's long-term strategy is built on four pillars: supply chain, clients, people, and stores.
OVS releasing its 2020 sustainability report, highlights the company's significant achievements in corporate commitment to environmental issues and circular fashion over the previous year. This has been OVS's strategy for numerous years, and it has helped the firm gain respect for its outstanding achievements in the fashion sector.
OVS is committed to a future of sustainable fashion, which it supports in a democratic, inclusive, and ethical manner. Respect for customers and the environment are core principles of OVS, and they guide all of the company's decisions.
In addition to creating partnerships with other top-tier fashion brands, OVS has developed a stellar reputation via extensive charitable contributions and collaborations with many organizations.
What can other brands learn?
Transparency enables customers to make more informed judgments. It also aids in the accountability of brands: knowing what a firm is doing or what goals it has set for itself makes it simpler to keep track of and demand more. As a fashion brand, OVS influences the environment and people in every aspect of their lives, even by making and wearing garments. They do this by making their clothing more durable, and they are attempting to reduce the influence of fashion on the planet's ecology. They focus on materials that are more environmentally friendly and have a smaller impact on the earth, and other fashion brands can emulate this.
The vast range of goods designed by the OVS fashion department, which takes advantage of cooperation with well-known designers and talents from the world's most prestigious fashion schools, is distinguished by its distinctiveness, continual renewal, and attention to quality.
OVS is a place where anybody may freely express themselves while maintaining a high level of quality and always at a reasonable price. That is why 15 million people pick OVS every year. Over the next few years, the fashion industry could go deeper into the sustainable fashion space as companies like OVS continue to set the standards.
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