Image: Zara

Much has been made as of late about consumers’ concerns about the impact of their purchases on the environment and the individuals that comprise companies’ often far-reaching and overly-opaque supply chains. Yet, despite widespread reports about Gen Z and millennial demographics, in particular, prioritizing sustainability when it comes to their buying habits, and thereby, prompting many brands to adopt ESG marketing efforts and everything from recycling initiatives to sustainability-centric capsule collections, analysts say that there is relatively little evidence to show that consumers’ interest in sustainability generally actually translates to a change in their consumption habits. 

While consumers may be voicing concerns about sustainability and ESG, they “do not necessarily act on those concerns,” Jelena Sokolova, senior equity analyst at Morningstar, recently told CNBC. Many consumers are “not necessarily buying more sustainable products,” she says, also noting that “we do not have the indications that people in the Western world are consuming less clothing that they were ten years ago.” Gains for fast fashion brands in terms of revenue in recent years and recent quarters, alike, seem to further establish the enduring pattern of consumers continuing to purchase apparel en mass. 

Zara owner Inditex, for instance, reported this month that Q2 revenue and profits reached “historic highs,” with its 6.99 billion euros ($820 billion) in sales for the 3-month period ending on July 31 easily beating pre-pandemic levels. 

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