Roland study finds corporate ESG is driving sustainability boom in the garment printing industry

A European study launched by Roland DG has revealed that an increased focus on environment, societal and governance (ESG) factors inside Europe’s corporates and SMBs is driving a sustainability boom among its garment printers.

Conducted just a month before COP26, the study polled 200 garment printers serving a cross section of large businesses and SMEs in Europe. It revealed that more than two thirds (64%) had observed an increase in customers ordering sustainable garments, and the majority (51%) reported a sharp increase of 30% or more.

The survey also reveals that this spike in interest is driving commercial opportunities for the sector. Nearly half (48%) of those polled classify sustainability as a ‘major commercial opportunity’ for their business. A third believe customers are willing to pay more money for sustainable garments, and a quarter say they generate bigger margins.

Rosie Lees, founder and MD at The Embroidery Barn, said:“When I relaunched the business in 2018, I decided to focus on the sustainability of our garments and printing practices and expected that within five to seven years it would pay off. In reality I haven’t had to wait that long. The last 18 months it’s been our major growth driver and 95% of our customers mention sustainability when they enquire.”

There is strong evidence that customers believe printing practices play a critical role in sustainability. Two thirds (64%) of those polled reported an increase in enquiries about the eco-friendliness of these practices.

Garment printers are responding by investing in environmentally-friendly printers, inks and equipment. Despite the economic downturn caused by COVID-19, a massive 47% of garment printers had taken steps to increase the sustainability of their printing practices.

Encarna Luque, textile lead at Roland DG, added: “ESG is firmly in the spotlight and as a result we’ve observed a major shift in customer priorities away from price and towards sustainability. Garment printers are some of the most entrepreneurial business owners in our sector, and it’s no surprise to see them investing in this emerging opportunity despite the challenging macroeconomic environment.”

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