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.
Change in approach to only order what we intend to sell, this has been achieved by increasing sell through targets and reducing speculative buys.
The result is that 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.
We have reduced our stock order quantities by 30% in 2020 vs 2019. This has meant that we have continued to reduce our overall stock quantities despite the impact of Covid-19.
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.
All garments across UK and Europe that we cannot sell, we donate to Newlife (a charity for disabled children) and have done so since 2016. Newlife will assess and grade these garments into three categories that extends the life and value of the garment as much as possible (Resale, Recycling or Destruction) avoiding a common route of sending it all directly to landfill or incineration.
In our 2020 financial year, we donated stock to Newlife that contributed more than £560,000 to their revenue helping fund their critical work.
50% of these garments were reprocessed and resold in Newlife’S UK based charity network, whilst 50% were recycled for either raw material reclamation or downcycling into the upholstery industry.
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.
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.
Our new partnership with Else, 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.
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 1.3m Superdry T-Shirts.
Recycled yarns produced from Superdry waste in 2020 use 90% less energy to produce, saved 5,974 Tonnes CO2e and 2987million 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 (reGAIN):
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 old items are then be sent to the British Heart Foundation where they are resold, and the income supports the charity’s important work.
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.