The Or Foundation, a US 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, on Tuesday announced a 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.
This 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, stated, “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.”
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 the 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.
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 of global partnerships and initiatives to address product reuse and recycling.