OVS, the Italian fast fashion chain that manages 2,000 stores between Italy and foreign countries and that offers its own brands OVS, OVS Kids, Upim, Blu Kids, Stefanel, Croff, Piombo and Baby Angels focused on reaching new sustainable aims.
In 2021 OVS had already reached the goal to use 100% of more sustainable cotton sources including organic, recycled or grown according to Better Cotton Standard criteria. The company is now aiming at offering entirely made in Italy high-quality cotton products, in partnership with Santiva, an Italian company from the province of Palermo, that has rediscovered growing techniques from the past in its area giving new impulse the cultivation of a very high-quality long-fiber cotton type that requires very low quantities of water.
Cotton is the most widely used raw material at OVS and accounts for about 70% of the total materials that make up its garments. Today the largest cotton producers are in India, China and the United States, but it was not always so because in the 1950s it was also grown extensively in Italy.
Using organic farming techniques, avoiding the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and drawing exclusively on small reservoirs to irrigate the plants in the warmer months, the farming practices used by Santiva protect soil health, decrease water consumption, and respect biodiversity. They also involve several young farmers, thus representing a significant growth opportunity for the local economy.
"This initiative is a way for us to support made in Italy and bring back to Italy the production of such an important raw material in the clothing sector, guaranteeing the traceability of the entire supply chain. If the trial is successful, we do not rule out significantly increasing volumes," commented Simone Colombo, Head of Corporate Sustainability at OVS Spa.
OVS has long been on a path designed to promote transparency and respect toward all stakeholders. In 2021, it achieved significant results in several areas: it achieved first place in the Fashion Transparency Index, succeeded in sourcing 100% cotton from more sustainable sources, monitored the product supply chain by having suppliers join the Sustainable Apparel Coalition's Higg platform, chose materials and manufacturing processes with reduced environmental impact, and set new decarbonization targets, endorsed by Science Based Targets initiative and focused on further reducing CO2 emissions by 46 percent by 2030 (already decreased by 85 percent from 2017 to 2019).