Fashion makes a significant contribution to the growing climate crisis. The exact tonnage of carbon emissions the industry emits remains contested, though it is estimated at somewhere between 2 - 8% of total global emissions.
What we do know is that clothing consumption is set to grow to 102 million tonnes by 2030 and carbon emissions will rise rapidly to reflect that. With an assumption that the industry makes up 4% of global emissions, fashion’s current growth trajectory misses the Paris Agreement commitment to limit global warming to below 2 degrees by 2030, by 50%. The industry needs to rapidly reduce emissions.
The Greenhouse Gas Protocol classes the emissions produced by industry as Scope 1, 2 and 3. Scope 1 means the emissions directly produced by a business, from the factories and buildings it owns, the vehicles it operates, and so forth. Scope 2 emissions are those generated in the production of the electricity purchased by that business. Scope 3 contains all the indirect emissions connected to the operation of a business, from the processing of raw materials to the disposal of waste, and from to the distribution of its products to how they are used by consumers.
We are committed to formalising the way we manage and reduce our Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, and we only look to offset (paying for a reduction in carbon elsewhere to compensate for your own impact) where emissions arising from our operations are unavoidable.
REDUCING OUR OFFER
The simplest way to lower our emissions is to make less product and ensure the product that we do make is as durable as possible. Between 2018 and 2022, we reduced the size of our ready-to-wear collections by 33%, and our bag collection by 25%. We will continue this work with our small leather goods and jewellery collections.
FASHION SWITCH TO GREEN
In 2017, we joined forces with the British Fashion Council and the Mayor of London to bring the fashion industry together to commit to SWITCH to a renewable energy supplier or to a renewable energy tariff by 2020.
This ambitious climate action brought together twenty UK brands in its first year managing to source a total of 355 million estimated kilowatt hours from green energy. This is the equivalent of 125 tonnes of CO2 emissions being avoided across their Scope 1 and 2 emissions.
We are extending the campaign to our Scope 3 emissions and are supporting our supply chain partners in Italy to switch to a renewable energy supplier or tariff where one is not already in place, with our green energy partner èNostra.
DHL GO GREEN
We are always researching the most efficient and carbon-neutral ways of transporting our products around the world.
Through the partnership our Italian operations have with DHL on their GoGreen initiative, all transport-related emissions of carbon dioxide from our supply chain are first calculated and then offset through external climate protection projects.
DHL calculate and offset emissions based on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol's Product Lifecycle Accounting and Reporting Standard.
Starting in 2013, we have now reduced business travel to its absolute essential and have endeavoured to lower the impact of employee commuting. Since then, our use of long and short-haul flights has dropped by 73% and 51% respectively.
We choose the most carbon-efficient modes of transport possible, favouring electric vehicles, and support employees to travel to work in the most environmentally friendly, safe and healthy way they can.
We have been exploring moving our business finance to a green bank for several years but due to the complexity of solutions required, we are yet to find one that meets our needs. We will keep trying and hope to have news on that front soon.
Our pension scheme with Aviva invests in the Sustainable Future Managed Fund at Liontrust, a fossil fuel-free fund, with no exposure to armaments, tobacco or gambling companies. The Liontrust team commit to investing in companies who are reducing their absolute carbon emissions to zero, and those involved in plastic recycling, packaging innovation and circularity.
Liontrust are signatories of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI), the Financial Reporting Council’s Stewardship Code and the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.
We have long been exponents and advocates of zero waste pattern cutting, meaning – wherever possible – garments are made from complete sections of fabric, folded or pinned as necessary, rather than with specific shapes cut from a larger piece of material. We use leftover fabric to make toiles in our design studio.
This year, our design teams are beginning to embrace circular design principles with the long-term goal that all resources in our products will be used in a way that permits their re-use at the end of the product lifecycle.
In 2020, we underwent our first Circularity Audit in collaboration with Sant’Anna University of Pisa – Chamber of Commerce Milano and joined the first Academic Community for Circular Fashion, part of SDA BOCCONI SUSTAINABILITY LAB, with the aim of anticipating and integrating circular business opportunities into our supply chain processes.
Our fabric sourcing surplus is kept to an absolute minimum. When we do have unavoidable leftover material, it is reintroduced into the design stage for upcoming collections, for example as lining fabric or as a base for new seasonal prints. We also use some leftover fabrics to create our range of unisex World’s End Collection limited edition pieces.