We know a portion of our environmental impact occurs during the production of our products and specifically at the raw material stage (e.g. during the farming process) or material processing stage (e.g. during washing or dying of fabric). There is so much opportunity to improve in this area by moving towards a more sustainable, conscious approach. To understand these impacts better and drive the progress of our sustainability objectives, we conducted a formal analysis of our materials to ensure we focus on our most significant environmental impacts. Through this assessment of identifying more sustainable materials, we took a holistic approach with water consumption, energy and land use, greenhouse gas emissions and human toxicity all taken into consideration.
This analysis contributed to the development of our Considered Edit, specifically our more Sustainable Materials category where we can highlight products made of materials with a lower environmental impact than conventional alternatives. The analysis also informed our Preferred Material Benchmark, which is a tool created to compare environmentally lower-impact materials and assist our buying teams to adopt these alternatives within our Private Label brands.
In 2018, we began transitioning to certified organic cotton styles in both our men’s and women’s apparel own-brands, leveraging the lower water and chemical impacts associated with organic cotton production and providing the corresponding traceability to mill level. Our current percentage of more sustainable materials, including organic cotton, linen and Leather Working Group certified leather, in our own-brand apparel and accessories is growing steadily with an average of around 18.20% of units containing one or more sustainable material as of quarter four (Q4), 2020. Improving our adoption of more sustainable material alternatives is a collaborative and continuous effort across the business and with our suppliers. In 2019, we built on our risk assessment by running a series of workshops with our own-brand teams to build their knowledge of material sustainability and alternative materials and internal capacity building is ongoing.
We are committed to bringing our customers with us on the journey to better manage our social and environmental impacts. We have developed this guide to provide more information about more sustainable materials and the positive environmental impacts associated with their production.
Learn More About Our Materials
How To Care For Your Items
The fashion choices we make, and consideration of the materials we purchase, have an important impact on the industry and our environment, however, we can also reduce our footprint by caring for our clothes more consciously at home.
By taking care of our clothes thoughtfully we can successfully prolong their lives as well as reduce our carbon footprint.
Washing clothes at a higher temperature increases the energy used and can cause a garment to lose its quality faster. By choosing the cold cycle next time you wash your clothes, you can not only reduce your environmental impact by consuming less energy but help extend the lifespan of your garment.
All of us are guilty of not reading our care labels – but they are there for a reason! Each garment should be cared for in a way that preserves the fabric to ensure we are not damaging the product in harsh conditions. Wool, denim and your delicates all have different care instructions in order to extend the lifespan of the fabric.
Wash Inside Out, Dry Outside
When washing our clothes, turn the garments inside out to limit the wear and tear of the item. In terms of drying the items, where possible, air dry them outside. Air drying is also better for your clothes and the planet compared to tumble drying which uses a lot of energy to run and can cause fibers to deteriorate faster.
Washing garments too often can cause damage to the fibres and decrease their lifespan. If an item isn’t dirty but just needs freshening up, consider washing less frequently where possible or hanging it outside to air first.
Laundry powders and detergents can commonly contain harsh substances sourced from fossil fuels. When purchasing your laundry products, look out for brands that have ingredients that are kinder to the environment as well as those that have more sustainable packaging. We also recommend investing in products which assist in reducing microfibres from shedding into the environment during the washing process.
If you want to learn more about how to care for your clothes, we've also added some more specific information below for your denim, knits and delicates etc.