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There are some exciting changes afoot!
Like all the best ambitions, when we set our goal to be Impact Positive by 2030, we didn’t really know how we would do it. We knew we would need to rely on technologies and advances that hadn’t been developed yet. But the point of the goal was to give us a clear direction.
One of the first things we did in 2019, was to measure our carbon footprint from the bamboo field through to customers wearing and washing our clothes. We then more than offset all those carbon emissions to become Climate Positive as a company and along our value chain. We’ve done this every year since.
This was a huge undertaking. And it really demonstrated how committed we were to tackling our emissions. This offsetting compensated for the carbon emissions we were causing as well as those caused by our suppliers and by customers wearing and washing our clothes.
But our goal has always been much bigger than that. We want to find ways to eliminate all our avoidable emissions.
We’re now at an exciting phase of this challenge. The innovations, collaborations, and trials we’ve invested in over the past four years are starting to become real. We can now see how we can eliminate those avoidable emissions and become Impact Positive as a company.
It’s time for us to go all in. We need to put everything we’ve got behind projects that will make a lasting difference to the climate.
The reality is that investing in ever more expensive offsetting is no longer where our money needs to be. So, we’ve decided it’s time to stop our offsetting programme. Instead, these are the kinds of things we’re making happen to reduce our actual emissions:
Recycling, or re-using fabrics is one of the best ways to reduce emissions and we continue to expand our 100% recyclable 73 Zero range. This range was developed in response to the fact that 73% of clothing ends up in landfill or incinerated. That wastes resources and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. We want to get that 73% to zero.
What we make our clothes from is by far the biggest contributor to our footprint and so addressing that is the biggest opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint. We’ve always championed bamboo for this reason, but we also use organic cotton and are carefully selecting and developing materials. To ensure we keep reducing our footprint we work with Green Story to measure, monitor and reduce our emissions.
We need to accelerate change which is why we’re now piloting a new system with Green Story to do just that. Historically, we’ve had to measure the impact of our clothing once it’s been made. Now, ground-breaking technology is allowing us to measure the impact of our choices during the design phase so we can work out how to minimise emissions from our clothes before they go into production.
Ultimately, we need to design and make clothes that are drastically lower impact. We are creating and launching a range of next generation fabrics – Mallea, Novea, Agallea and Flexa – that offer high performance with lower impact.
We want total transparency because it shines a light on the processes and practices throughout the supply chain, allows us to address any issues and lets you hold us to account. That’s what BAM DNA is all about. We launched our BAM DNA trial for our 73 Zero collection in 2022 and we’re now expanding it across our entire range. This allows you to see exactly what is in every product, where we sourced it from, every process involved in making it and its impact.
Our suppliers are also investing in things like solar panels to reduce their carbon emissions. Great news. But we must make sure that these investments don’t come at the expense of paying fair wages and treating those that make our clothes fairly and with respect. We are collaborating with Fair Wear to add our voice to the slow and steady work needed to improve wages in our industry and to provide support to our suppliers to achieve this.
We’re really close to finding a way to make cellulose circular. We’ve been investing in research by a team at the University of York to develop a bio-based approach to textile recycling. We’re now ready to test the theory and we’ve sent them the production wastage from our SS23 range. If this works, then many more multifibre garments would become recyclable. Our range would leap from 7% certified recyclable to well over 50% in the next few years, catapulting us forward towards our impact positive goal of a fully circular range. Years of investment and we can now see how this could catapult us forward towards our impact positive goal.
The label ‘climate positive’ is given to a company or project that offsets their emissions. Because we’ve moved away from offsetting towards genuine reduction of emissions we’re letting that label go. It was a useful stepping stone. But now we can see the path to being Impact Positive and to being a company that has reduced all avoidable emissions to zero. Stick with us for the journey.