Sustainable Clothing Action Plan
We remain committed to SCAP and its 2020 targets. SCAP’s ambition is to improve the sustainability of clothing across its lifecycle. It brings together the clothing industry, government and other stakeholders to take action to reduce their carbon, water and waste footprint, along with providing support, tools and guidance.
SCAP’s 2020 Commitment will see us measure and reduce our overall carbon, water and waste footprints across all our brands. Using SCAP’s footprint calculator, we measure and report the total impacts of the clothes we sell in the UK on an annual basis. We are already making good progress towards our 2020 targets.
We are active contributors to the SCAP Metric Working Group, as well as the SCAP Steering Group. We continue to train technical and buying teams on our SCAP targets and associated initiatives – providing ongoing training year-round.
SCAP signatories are committed to a seven-point action plan:
- Use a common assessment tool to measure baseline position and track changes in footprint over time.
- Reduce the environmental footprint of clothing through fibre and fabric selection.
- Over the longer term, work with our supply-chain partners to reduce the environmental footprint of their processes.
- Extend the useful life of clothes and reduce the environmental impact of clothing through our product design and services.
- Develop effective messaging to influence consumer behaviours, which will reduce the environmental footprint of clothing.
- Increase re-use and recycling to recover maximum value from used clothing.
- Develop actions that help keep clothes out of landfill.
Sustainable Clothing Framework
We are currently collaborating with a third party sustainability consultancy to create a blueprint for sustainable sourcing at Arcadia, which will be known as the Sustainable Clothing Framework.
We look to trial this framework with one of our brands in 2017. If successful, we will roll it out across our brands shortly after the pilot. This will introduce new sustainability methodologies and sustainable alternatives to traditional sourcing practices and fibres.
Better Cotton Initiative
BCI exists to make global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in and better for the industry’s future by developing Better Cotton as a sustainable mainstream commodity.
BCI’s traceability system helps retailers and brands buy Better Cotton, driving credibility around volumes while exerting minimal pressure on suppliers. The aim is to increase the flow of Better Cotton over conventional cotton, tracing the fibre through the production process.
In November 2015 Arcadia became a full member of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), following on from the previous years’ experience gained as a learning member. During this time we trained over 100 employees on the social and environmental benefits of Better Cotton, with a target of sourcing 5% BCI across Group in our first year.
Five of our brands are now sourcing Better Cotton and have helped us surpass our first year’s target by almost double.
Every year, 120 million trees are logged for fabrics including rayon, viscose, modal and other trademarked textiles. That number is projected to double by 2025 and many of those trees originate from the world’s ancient and endangered forests or controversial sources. At a time when keeping carbon rich forests standing is a key strategy in mitigating the growing impacts of climate change, the Arcadia Group has joined forces with international not-for-profit environmental organisation, Canopy, to address this rapidly emerging threat to forest ecosystems.
We joined the CanopyStyle campaign last year. CanopyStyle’s 65 brand partners represent over $100 billion in annual revenue. In three short years, all 65 brands have made robust public commitments to eliminate ancient and endangered forest fibre from their clothing by 2017.
As a result of our joint efforts, CanopyStyle is already seeing concrete changes in the rayon-viscose supply chain. Producers that represent 75% of global rayon production now have formal endangered forest policies in place and are starting to eliminate their use of endangered forest and controversial sources. We look forward to securing viscose fabrics that are free of endangered forests and to supporting Canopy’s work to secure large-scale forest conservation and catalyse the next generation of fabrics, using recycled textiles and straw as feedstock.
Our menswear brands have been leading the way on recycled wool. As part of a programme to look at sourcing opportunities with more sustainable fibres, they have been utilising recycled wool for outerwear and knitted garments.
The fibres used come from offcuts of other clothing production. Sweaters, for instance, allow for up to 50% of the garment fibre mix to come from these sustainable sources.
There are clear benefits to reducing the impact of wool production, which requires vast amounts of land for grazing sheep as well as energy, water and chemicals to create yarn and fabrics.
TOPSHOP RECLAIM is a standalone collection made entirely from sustainable, surplus material and production off-cuts.
Using TOPSHOP’s existing stock of jersey, cotton and denim, the capsule collection gives a new lease of life to fabric remnants and off-cuts, whilst keeping a strong design element, through upcycling disregarded material.
We continue to challenge textile waste across our product areas, whilst still creating versatile designs that are wardrobe essentials for our customers.
World chemical compliance
We have an on-going programme among our product teams to refresh awareness of the EU’s REACH Regulations (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of hazardous Chemicals) and develop their understanding of global chemical compliance requirements.
REACH was introduced in 2007 as an umbrella regulation, bringing together all previous directives on the use of chemicals. It is essential that our teams have an understanding of the regulation and its impact on product development and sourcing decisions.
During the year, Chemical Compliance training and refresher sessions were delivered to 85 buying and merchandising team members, as well as 15 members of our technical teams.
Our legal requirements and Restricted Substances list is continually reviewed, ensuring it is aligned with industry best practice, and re-communicated to suppliers.
Meanwhile, we have responded to the specific requirements of the US, which has its own legislation on chemical usage. Our presence there through TOPSHOP TOPMAN prompted us to create an international training programme of in-country training this year in China, India, Spain and Turkey for suppliers to ensure their sourcing is compliant.
Complexity is one of the biggest challenges we face in this area. We are involved in multiple initiatives to ensure our supply chain is transparent, well managed and compliant with our code of conduct. We recognise this complexity, which has prompted us to create our Sustainable Clothing Framework.
We await an update on the future of the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP), which may see a withdrawal of Government funding this year.
Establish a blueprint for our Sustainable Clothing Framework and trial within one of our brands in 2017
Continue to work with our suppliers to establish robust Management Systems within their factories, with a particular focus on worker welfare
Work with industry partners to ensure our Animal Welfare Policy is progressive and comprehensive