ACCRA, Ghana, June 7, 2022 — The Or Foundation, a U.S. and Ghana-based not-for-profit organization at the intersection of environmental justice, education and fashion development, and SHEIN, an online retailer of fashion, beauty and lifestyle products, today announced a groundbreaking, multi-year agreement which will launch SHEIN’s Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Fund. The Fund will help advance the design and implementation of ecological and social sustainability strategies focused on clothing that has entered the global secondhand clothing trade and often leaves the secondhand trade as waste.
The agreement between The Or Foundation and SHEIN is the first of its kind, establishing an annual commitment from the brand to support waste management efforts in communities deeply impacted by textile waste. The agreement is part of SHEIN’s newly announced EPR Fund, to which the company will dedicate $50 million over the next five years. The funds will go toward global causes aligned with SHEIN’s commitment to addressing global textile waste management and furthering the development of a circular economy, as well as any other EPR obligations.
Liz Ricketts, Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Or Foundation, states, “We have been calling on brands to pay the bill that is due to the communities who have been managing their waste, and this is a significant step toward accountability. What we see as truly revolutionary is SHEIN’s acknowledgement that their clothing may be ending up here in Kantamanto, a simple fact that no other major fashion brand has been willing to state as yet.”
Adam Whinston, Global Head of ESG at SHEIN, said: “SHEIN has set an ambitious impact agenda, and we are thrilled to be partnering with The Or Foundation, the initial recipient of SHEIN’s trailblazing fund, for the next step in our journey. Addressing secondhand waste is an important part of the fashion ecosystem that is often overlooked. We have an opportunity to make change in this space and we look forward to working with The Or Foundation on this first of its kind effort.”
As the initial grant recipient, receiving $5 million annually for three years from the overall Fund, The Or Foundation will utilize the resources to expand their Mabilgu (sisterhood) Apprenticeship Program for young women carrying bales of secondhand clothing on their heads, incubate community businesses transforming textile waste into new products, pilot fiber-to-fiber initiatives with Ghanaian textile manufacturers and to upfit Kantamanto Market through a community-based vision to ensure that the world’s largest secondhand clothing market is a safe and dignified place to work. The Or Foundation will also redistribute a portion of the initial grant to allied organizations in Ghana. SHEIN will work with The Or Foundation to identify additional grant recipients in other countries impacted by fashion’s waste problem this year and in coming years.
Daniel Mawuli Quist, Board Member of The Or Foundation, states, “This is an empowering contribution for The Or Foundation, as we hope it will be for other organizations around the world, and we must not lose sight of the value that Kantamanto and communities like it bring to the movement toward circularity. We hope other brands will follow suit to focus on the people making a real difference.”
Both SHEIN and The Or Foundation are committed to supporting work on the ground to keep clothing in circulation, to reduce waste and to clean up and regenerate areas impacted by textile waste. Earlier this year, SHEIN announced it is a signatory to global partnerships and initiatives to address product reuse and recycling.
Beyond this, The Or Foundation continues to be dedicated to a vision of ecological and economic prosperity that inspires global citizens to form a relationship with fashion extending beyond their role as consumer. Until now, The Or Foundation has been propelled forward by the goodwill of individual citizens and small business owners, most of whom are not directly contributing to fashion’s waste crisis itself. This EPR Fund marks a turning point.
About The Or Foundation
The Or Foundation is a USA and Ghana-based not-for-profit organization that has been working between the two countries at the intersection of environmental justice, education and fashion development since 2011. The Or Foundation has brought global awareness to fashion’s waste crisis through extensive research and action around the secondhand clothing trade as it manifests in Accra, Ghana, home to the largest secondhand clothing market in the world. To learn more about The Or Foundation, visit www.theor.org.
SHEIN is a global fashion and lifestyle e-retailer committed to making the beauty of fashion accessible to all. We use on-demand manufacturing technology to connect suppliers to our agile supply chain, reducing inventory waste and enabling us to deliver a variety of affordable products to customers around the world. In April 2022, the company announced evoluSHEIN, a purpose-driven collection made with preferred materials such as recycled polyester and forest-friendly viscose. From our global offices, we reach customers in more than 150 countries. To learn more about SHEIN, visit www.SHEIN.com.