Partners for Innovation: Driving Meaningful Impact in Sustainability

From sustainable fiber farming to low-carbon transportation technology and understanding textile-to-textile recycling opportunities, see how these partners help propel the industry forward.

Driving meaningful impact in sustainability requires partnership, which is why we're proud to continue to work with several leading environmental organizations including FibershedClean Air Task Force and Fashion for Good. Each of these organizations leads innovation in fashion and retail sustainability, so we sat down with them to learn more about their goals.


To develop thriving regional economies around fashion and textiles in the U.S., we've partnered with Fibershed, a nonprofit organization that develops equity-focused regional and land-regenerating natural fiber and dye systems, while minimizing carbon footprint. Executive Director Rebecca Burgess discussed with us how textile systems and climate science go hand in hand.

What would you like the Nordstrom customer to know about Fibershed?
RB: It's important to think about the continuity between clothing and the long arching supply chains they come from. At Fibershed, we encourage fashion organizations to think about how we are farming. Agriculture can balance the carbon cycle and stabilize climate through carbon farming, which moves carbon from the atmosphere into plant life and soil ecosystems. Natural fibers like cotton seed, nettle, hemp, linen, flax, wool, alpaca and cashmere can be grown and raised in ways that maximize the drawdown of carbon from the atmosphere to help restore ecosystem health and stabilize our climate.

What goals are Fibershed working towards today?
RB: With our Climate Beneficial™ Agriculture program, we have a north star goal to draw down 6 billion pounds of carbon and increase soil organic carbon by 1 percent through carbon farming practices. To do this, we help land stewards implement sustainable land management practices, and we bring academia, soil scientists, growers and textile companies together to help farmers have access to funding to support this work. Nordstrom is supporting our work to connect brands with sustainable farms. It's been a powerful investment, and we're grateful, because when brands are invested in getting to know the landscapes where their clothing fibers are grown, and work with growers to pay them the price they need to sustain farming responsibly, we are able to drive positive industry change.

What are you most excited about for the future?
RB: I'm very excited about the return to certain core values like mending, repair and extending the life of clothing – making bigger investments in fewer, quality natural fiber clothing items that we care for more. I'm also really excited about the amount of collaboration I'm seeing between brands, and how brands are becoming educators by talking to customers about these investments. Knowledge is power.


Clean Air Task Force
In service of our climate goals, we're partnered with Clean Air Task Force (CATF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing atmospheric pollution through research, advocacy and private-sector engagement. We spoke with Jonathan Lewis, Director of Transportation Decarbonization at CATF, about protecting the planet against the effects of climate change.

What would you like the Nordstrom customer to know about Clean Air Task Force?
JL: CATF is a global nonprofit organization working hard to promote practical and durable ways to address climate change through pragmatic policies, new business strategies, and advanced technologies. We do that by:

  • Changing the narrative around climate change, to better communicate the size of the challenge and the totality of solution requirements.
  • Changing technology, so that we will have a full suite of clean energy and climate change mitigation options.
  • Changing business models, to include modular, manufacturable energy systems that can be deployed anywhere.
  • Changing policy in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere, to develop, demonstrate, and scale the technologies needed to achieve zero emissions by mid-century.

There’s an enormous amount of work to be done, but Vox has recognized our efforts to date by naming CATF the top organization fighting climate change.

What goals are Clean Air Task Force working towards today?
JL: As an analysis- and results-driven organization, we are laser-focused on one thing: keeping greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere. One of the ways we are doing this is focusing on the marine shipping sector. Eliminating emissions from the marine shipping sector requires a broad set of coordinated actions. New types of carbon-free fuel must be commercialized, and new global distribution networks to deliver that fuel to ports must be built.

How does partnering with Nordstrom and other companies help you further your mission?
JL: Financial support from Nordstrom helped Clean Air Task Force develop a system-wide roadmap that describes how each of these changes can be pursued in concert. With the roadmap in hand, a group of major cargo-owning companies launched the Zero Emissions Maritime Buyers Alliance and announced a plan to cut their marine shipping-related emissions to zero by 2040. Nordstrom’s willingness to back CATF’s marine shipping decarbonization project over multiple years has allowed us to plan and begin executing a research and advocacy strategy that has the breadth and depth necessary to tackle a complex, long-term, globe-spanning challenge.


Fashion For Good
To support innovation in circularity, we are partnering with Fashion For Good and other leading organizations in the Sorting for Circularity USA Project, which aims to assess the opportunity for textile waste circularity by evaluating access to industrial textile recycling services and composition of supply. Director of Strategy Brittany Burns tells us more.

What would you like the Nordstrom customer to know about Fashion For Good?
BB: Fashion for Good is a global innovation platform surfacing the most promising innovations and partnering them with leading industry players to drive adoption of their technologies at scale. Over the past five years we've looked at over 3,000 innovators from around the world, welcoming 150+ to our platform of 25 industry partners to further enable them on their journey to scale.

What goals are Fashion For Good working towards today?
BB: For the next five years, we are doubling down on the most promising winners in our portfolio by helping them quantify their environmental impact, connecting them to the relevant financiers, and creating inroads for commercial partnerships with brands, retailers, and suppliers. We are also bringing investors into the fold to demonstrate the price/tech attractiveness by shifting the sustainability narrative from a short-term risk prevention to a long-term strategic agenda item.
How does partnering with Nordstrom and other companies help you further your mission?
BB: We can only change the industry if we work together. Collaboration is absolutely essential. By partnering with key players in the industry, we create the momentum needed to drive real, structural, change. Our Sorting USA project is a great example of this work in action.

Putting it all together: Our commitment
In 2020, Nordstrom set ten environmental sustainability goals to be achieved by 2025. We're well on our way and have met two of our commitments: to contribute $250,000 in corporate grants to help slow and prevent climate change and to help customers extend the life of 250 tons of clothing. Join us and our partners in making more sustainable choices and take part in Nordstrom’s services to extend the life of your clothing this Earth Month and beyond. Learn more at