Fila has been a popular athleisure brand since the launch of it’s iconic 90s disruptors. I realised I knew nothing about its sustainability so decided to investigate and that’s when I discovered why this was the case. Nowhere on the website does Fila talk about sustainability, social justice or the environment. If you search the parent company, Fila Holdings then you find some of the usual greenwash talk (just without firm pledges). However, the fact that this information is so elusive/far removed from the brand itself either means Fila is deliberately trying to avoid going with the crowd on greenwashing, or there isn’t much to show so is keeping its head down. It seems to me that there isn’t a lot being done - still I would say it’s a pro that Fila doesn’t misleadingly big up the little that’s being done.
One “2020 ESG Highlight” on the Fila Holdings Corp. website is the introduction of 100% recyclable shoe inserts in the “eco-friendly product Classic Boarder”. When I looked up this shoe I found it’s only available in Korea and there’s no mention anywhere of it being a sustainable or ‘green’ shoe. It’s made of synthetic leather & rubber and polyester, which doesn’t sound to me like an “eco-friendly product”?! And this is Fila’s ESG highlight - though it is near impossible to find! The other ESG highlight is the launch of a 100% Recycled Polyester jacket which sounds great - but again I can’t find mentioned anywhere else on the internet.
Since all the products I’ve come across so far have been made of polyester, cotton, elastane and other atrocious products, I think it’s safe to assume the manufacture process is as bad as it could be for the environment in terms of releasing harsh chemicals, consuming huge volumes of water, and using fossil fuels. (I’m not saying Fila’s worse than other fashion brands, it’s just that this is the reality of textile manufacture.)
In terms of packaging and shipping, the only pro that I could find (having searched the internet high and low) was that shoe boxes are made with 80% Recycled Paper at FILA USA.
Fila has an opaque supply chain so it’s very difficult to say who makes the products but they are almost exclusively manufactured in Asia. I am appalled at the lack of effort to address issues and improve working conditions throughout the supply chain. The only source I can find which goes some way to addressing this is Fila’s “Statement on Forced Labour” which commits to ensuring no forced labour occurs in the supply chain. However, forced labour is by no means the only issue factory workers face and Fila does not address other issues such as poor working conditions anywhere.
Fila has a “Made in Italy” line which would be a positive initiative as there is a much higher standard and regulation of working conditions in the EU. However, this line currently only has one product. This shows there’s little to no effort being put into this line. The product is also prohibitively expensive for most people at £200 for a pair of everyday trainers.