Shein executive vice chairman Donald Tang says everything the retailer will do over the next decade will be with “sustainability and ESG in mind” as it eyes its next phase of growth.

Speaking at the World Retail Congress in Barcelona, Tang said consumers are becoming increasingly “holistic” and are already changing shopping habits depending if companies and brands “are good for the planet”.

Tang said: “If we always listen to the customer, we will always have a business and, as we know, discount is very big. So we’ll continue to grow robustly and grow consistently, positively and with positive cash flow.

“But we have to listen to the customer more. Consumers are no longer just looking at price. Our attractiveness is their choice and design, and also the price we can keep. We have advantages on pricing power because of our lack of inventory.

”Having said that, in the next phase and decades, consumers will be more holistic. They will think about whether this is good for the planet or not. Our next phase of growth we want to continue to grow but we want to make sure that everything that we do has ESG in mind.”

Tang said Shein had already taken steps to improve its sustainability, having launched its first recycled collection, EvoluShein, in April 2022, and its first resale channel Shein Exchange in October 2022.

However, amid accusations of greenwashing and worker exploitation in its supply chain, Tang said these initiatives on their own were “obviously not enough”.

Because of Shein’s size and agility, he said Shein could effectively act as “the biggest guinea pig” for new sustainability technologies and was willing to work more collaboratively to achieve its goals.

This pivot comes as the Chinese fashion giant eyes a potential $64bn float on the US stock exchange later this year and reflects the changing investment landscape where a focus on sustainability is becoming increasingly important.