Superdry has always designed and crafted garments to the highest quality, with longevity of material and style in mind to ensure we meet the needs of our consumers.
Our garments are made not just to be worn, but worn out.
To start closing the loop, we’re going beyond extending the life of our garments, by implementing other initiatives to lower our impact.
Buying what we need
We continue to reduce our annual stock holdings to minimise the environmental impact of existing stock; whereby it is better to sell out than to be recycled – and to utilise what we have in the business instead of buying more.
Since 2019 we have increased our sell through targets, while improving our buying and forecasting processes.
Where stock does not sell in our Full Price outlets, we have additional routes to minimise the need for disposal. This includes outlet stores, staff shops, clearance partners and charity partners.
A critical part of the process in making durable, sustainable garments is our sampling system; ensuring the garments meet our quality and technical needs, as well providing real visuals for our brand marketing and sales team to use to help our customers have the best experience with our products.
To reduce our overall sampling footprint, we are establishing
Once the samples have served their initial purpose, we ensure the most sustainable route is taken such as restocking the item in our warehouse, selling through outlet stores and staff shops, and donating to our charity partner.
No faulty products are sent to landfill
Despite the fact that our faulty returns are market leading at 0.6% of sales (versus an estimated industry average of over 3%), we will continue to challenge ourselves to limit waste in any form through better tracking, and by making continued improvements in quality.
If we cannot sell a product, we either donate it to our charity partner or recycle it. 68 tonnes of faulty returns from across our sales channels in the UK and EU have been collected by children’s charity Newlife (a charity for disabled children), of which 60% was resold, generating £247k for the charity.
We started a pilot this year to send pressing and spot cleaning packages to our distribution centres and stores, aiming to increase resalable returns. Targets will be set in this area following completion in FY22.
Up to 15% of the fabric used to produce garments is usually wasted during production, from either the cutting process (i.e. the space needed to cut out patterns in fabric) or due to defects identified in production that cannot be resolved. Taking our full raw materials footprint into account we estimate that our factories generated up to 2.2k MT of fabric waste in FY20.
We see this as a great opportunity to partner with local firms to reuse as rags or recycling into new yarn, such as Else, located outside of Istanbul in Turkey.
This partnership, means that Superdry factories now can collect, sort and sell this waste so it can be converted into recycled yarn for use in new fabrics.
Commonly, factories incinerate or send waste to landfill. We are working with our factories to understand where this may still be happening in order to encourage them to cease the use of incineration and landfill.
In January 2020, Superdry partnered with The Else Group and two of our largest factories in Turkey (producing T-Shirts, Polos and Sweatshirts) to test this alternative route for pre-consumer cotton and polyester cut waste.
The factories initially segregate the waste by colour and composition. Else then pick it up and transport it to their state-of-the-art facility just outside of Istanbul where they shred it and blend it into 100% recycled fibres.
As recycled fibres are mechanically shredded, they are typically shorter in length, Else therefore combine the recycled fibres with a small amount (about 30%) polyester to help strengthen them.
Else then spin theses fibres into coloured yarns in their state of the art spinning facility.
Our new fully recycled range, launched in September 2021 has been produced using these yarns, saving 95% in each garment's water footprint, and 25% in carbon.
End of Life
Our garments are designed to last, and therefore once one person is done with that garment does not mean it needs to be disposed of.
In September 2021, Superdry launched our partnership with Oxfam, providing an instore 'Give Back' Scheme.
22 Pilot Superdry stores were twinned with their local Oxfam shop who then collect all clothes to be resold, reused, or recycled, in order to support the complete lifecycle of the item and its revival for resale.
This partnership will not only help us to reduce our waste, but also provides an effective way to engage with a new generation of conscious consumers and encourage them to shop more sustainably.
By twinning with our local Oxfam shops, we will minimise the distance the clothes travel to reach their new home, as well as supporting the communities they operate in.
We use recycled & low impact materials at scale across our range
In addition to moving to 100% Organic Cotton by 2030, we will continue to drive the use of sustainable alternative materials at scale across our range, our target is that 80% of our non-cotton ranges will be converted to lower Impact by 2030.
You can read about our use of Organic Cotton, Recycled Polyester, Tencel, Linen, Vegan and Responsible Down here.