Just like our food and water, we like our clothes toxic-free.
It could be the Britney Spears song that'll get you on the dance floor in no time but when it comes to our clothes, "toxic" is definitely something we need to avoid. So, we're cleaning up.
By avoiding harmful chemicals, fossil-based energy sources and single-use packaging, we can help protect our water, air and soil. Basically, everything that's essential to our survival. That's why we've set an ambitious goal: to be climate positive by 2040. This means we'll remove more greenhouse gases from the atmosphere than we create. We're exploring new, more sustainable ways to make, transport and package our products.
Together with organisations such as WWF and Solidaridad we want to set a new water standard across the entire fashion industry. How? By cutting out unnecessary washes during dyeing, training our staff and suppliers on minimising water use and encouraging farmers to use less chemicals. We're also pushing for stronger policies to restore and protect rivers and freshwaters in countries such as Turkey and Bangladesh.
Dive in deeper
Everything you can see, breathe, eat, drink or touch is - essentially - chemicals. Even you are made from chemicals! However, there are good ones and bad ones, and we want to make sure that none of the nasty kind end up harming you or the environment. So, what are hazardous chemicals? They're persistent, bio-accumulative, toxic, carcinogenic, mutagenic, endocrine disruptive or toxic to reproduction. Yeah, that's a long list of things we don't want near our clothes!
When washing, dyeing and printing our clothes, our suppliers must meet our chemical requirements. These are often stricter than the regulations set by the industry, and our bottom line is that hazardous chemicals shouldn't be used by us or found in any of our products. We were one of the first fashion companies to establish a Chemical Restrictions List in 1995. Since then, this list has been continuously updated. We perform regular tests (like, thousands per year) to ensure our suppliers comply.
To make sure we choose the best possible chemicals, we've adopted a method called Screened Chemistry. With this method we aim to limit hazardous substances at the design stage.
Not a fan of plastic bags? Nor are we. If you step into one of our stores, you won't find any plastic bags because we've replaced them all with paper ones. We also have cute, reusable shopping bags in organic cotton or recycled polyester. Plastic packaging is still used for our online orders and to transport clothes from production to our stores - but we're working on this! Paper bags are already rolled out for online purchases in several of our markets, such as the United Kingdom, India, and China. Our goal is for every online order to be delivered in paper packaging by the end of 2022.
Transport only stands for about 2-3% of all our emissions, but it's still something we can improve. To transport our products in the most sustainable way we can, we've joined two interesting collaborations and coalitions.
Maersk is one of the biggest transport companies in the world and they've invented something called the carbon neutral ocean product. It's a biofuel blend (for instance, from wasted cooking oil) that can replace fossil fuel and reduce emissions from ocean shipping. As we rely heavily on sea transport, this is very exciting news.
In The Pathways Coalition, we've joined forces with Scania, E.ON and Siemens to work towards fossil-free commercial transport by 2050. Together, we've published a report that concludes that this is possible! The report will help us decrease our own carbon emissions and, hopefully, influence politicians and other businesses to take action. Some of the solutions to get there are smarter logistics, electrification of vehicles and biofuels. Just by improving routing and load management, CO2 emissions from road transport can be reduced by 20%.
Did you know?
We've entered a global commitment with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's New Plastics Economy Initiative. Their vision is - among other things - to eliminate all unnecessary plastic packaging and never let plastic become waste.
Did you know?
In about 30 Dutch cities, our customers can now get their online purchases delivered by bicycle.
Did you know?
We support Canopy's Pack4Good initiative, which helps us eliminate paper from endangered and ancient forests from our packaging. Whenever we use paper, we want to do so responsibly – and preferably with a high recycled content. Through this initiative, we're getting there!