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.

 

 

 

Circular: Reducing, Reselling and Recycling Waste

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 FY19 we have increased our sell through targets, while improving our buying and forecasting processes. These improvements resulted in 26% fewer garments being purchased in FY20 vs. FY19 (33.4m vs. 45.1m) garments.
  • We have managed to reduce over overall stock position by 9% despite challenging trading at the end of FY20.

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

  1. Digital showrooms
  2. Swatch cards to reduce sampling, across multiple colours of the same garment. Our target is to reduce sampling requirement by 20% (40,000 units annually).
  3. Increasing resale. We currently resell to colleagues through our staff shop and looking to increase the proportion of these garments being sold through multiple routes.

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.

 

Faulty Returns:

We have minimised our faulty returns to a market leading position of less than 1% from all sales channels.

By continuing to micro track our returns, we are able to identify improvement areas and bring our rate down even further.

Our retail estate and distribution centres are where we have the best opportunity to implement changes to reduce faulty waste, so from early 2021 we will begin a trial to provide staff at these sites with ‘garment care kits’. These will aim to remove any shop or transit soiling or refresh a garment so that it can be resold rather than processed as faulty.

Since establishing our partnership in 2016, all faulty returns across UK and Europe have been donated to Newlife (a charity for disabled children). Newlife pick the garments up from Store or our Warehouse, assess and grade them maximise their lifecycle and financial value. Out of the 94 tonnes of garments donated to Newlife in FY20: -

  • 50% were resold in Newlife Stores.
  • 50% were recycled for either raw material reclamation or downcycling into the upholstery industry.
  • None were incinerated or sent to landfill.

This donation generated more than £560,000 to their revenue helping fund Newlife’s critical work.

This partnership is another example of Superdry’s commitment to championing garment circularity that makes maximum use of the embedded energy and water consumed during the manufacturing process.

 

Fabric Recycling:

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 are spinning facility.

During 2020, Else processed 373 tonnes of fabric waste from our factories – producing 427 tonnes of yarn - enough to make the equivalent of around 1.3m Superdry T-Shirts.

Recycled yarns produced from Superdry waste in 2020 use 90% less energy to produce, and saved and estimate 6,000 Tonnes CO2e and 3 billion litres of water compared to conventional virgin materials.

Our aim is to bring more Turkish factories on board with this process in 2021, and then to create similar partnerships in India and China to help further improve the circularity of our garments across our supply base.

We are also working to introduce this yarn into our range in 2021.

 

 

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. To encourage the continual reuse of our garments between customers through resale we have partnered with reGAIN to encourage our customers to pass on our garments once they are done with them, keeping them out of landfill, extending their life and maximising their sustainable value.

By boxing up unwanted clothes (of any brand) and shipping them to reGAIN, consumers can earn a 15% discount voucher to use in Superdry’s online and Retail stores.

The unwanted garments are then be sent to the British Red Cross where they are resold, and the income supports the charity’s important work.

Since starting our partnership from the launch of the app in 2018 we have encouraged around 100,000 garments, weighing 30 tonnes, to be donated and reused rather than being disposed.

 

 

Durable: Keeping our garments in use for longer

On average consumers wear clothes 36% less often than they did 15 years ago. By building our garments to last, we aim to reduce their overall carbon and water footprint.

 

To do this, we employ rigorous quality testing by independent labs – going above industry base test standards. By implements these rigorous additional test, we can significantly reduce common faults.

Buttons: Our buttons are attached using specialist “button whipping” machines to keep them in place for the lifetime of the garment.

Care labels: care labels provide garment care instructions that allows the user to extend the life and reduce the environmental impact of their Superdry product (e.g. washing at cooler temperatures to reduce energy and reduce fabric wear).

 

 

Sustainable: Using 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.

 

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