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 will measure and report the total impacts of the clothes we sell in the UK on an annual basis.
This year over 50 of our employees received training in the SCAP objectives. The training was delivered by Made By, a not-for-profit organisation that acts to improve environmental and social conditions within the fashion industry, and received high levels of positive feedback.
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 in use 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.
BETTER COTTON INITIATIVE
Last year saw us sign up as a learning member of the BCI. With that one-year agreement coming to an end, we have upgraded to a full-membership.
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.
Currently we have identified three cotton suppliers, including a denim supplier, to work with us on this project.
Arcadia is committed to ensuring that fabrics used in the manufacture of its clothing do not come from the world’s remaining ancient and endangered forests.
We have signed a commitment with Canopy, a charity that addresses sustainability in products made from wood pulp (cellulose), joining a wider collective of retailers and brands to ensure the impact of fabric sourcing on forests is understood and addressed.
Cellulose is the raw material for a number of widely used fashion fabrics, including viscose and rayon. The collective aim is to ensure that the supply chain is free from wood sourced from endangered and ancient forests by 2017.
As part of our commitment we will:
- Assess our existing use of cellulose-sourced fabrics and work towards eliminating the sourcing of fabrics made from pulp from ancient and endangered forests;
- Work to eliminate the sourcing of fabric made from pulp obtained by logging forests illegally;
- Support suppliers that show commitment towards the conservation of ancient and endangered forests;
- Request fabrics sourced from forests are certified to the Forest Stewardship Council;
- Engage with suppliers to change practices or review relationships, if fibres from endangered forest are found in the supply chain; and
- Encourage suppliers to work in accordance with the United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights, particularly the right of indigenous people and rural communities to give or withhold their free, prior and informed consent (FPIC);
- Encourage suppliers to develop fabrics made from recycled materials and agricultural residues.
Our menswear brands are currently trialling the use of recycled wool in some coats and sweaters for the Autumn/Winter 2015 season.
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.
We are looking to increase our quantities of recycled wool. 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 are inspired to challenge textile waste across our product areas, whilst still creating versatile designs that are wardrobe essentials for our customers.
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 all our buying team members have received updates and detailed sessions have been run for 60 members of our technology teams, partnering them with external industry experts in the field.
Meanwhile, our legal requirements and Restricted Substances List is continually reviewed, ensuring it is aligned with industry best practice, and re-communicated to suppliers.
Images courtesy of SOEX