Global emissions from the fashion industry are estimated at 2.1 Gigatonnes CO2e each year (4% of the global total*). Last year, our emissions from our own operations (global retail store and offices) and our third-party logistics and distribution operations were 73.6 Kilotonnes CO2e.
To play our part in the fight against climate change, we have challenged ourselves to reduce to become Net Zero by 2030. This means we will have no net impact on the planet from our carbon emissions.
Our approach is firstly to reduce our consumption as much as possible, then convert what we use to renewable wherever possible, and finally offset the remaining unavoidable emissions.
We are also really pleased to have signed up to the British Retail Consortium’s Climate Roadmap, so that we can collaborate with and support the wider retail and fashion industry on its journey to reach Net Zero.
Where are we now?
Over the last 6 years, we have focused on our own operations, we are proud to have reduced our carbon footprint by 97%, mostly through converting to 100% renewable electricity. This has saved us 7.4 Kilotonnes CO2e or the equivalent carbon emitted by >2,500 UK households a year.
As part of this journey, we have also reduced our global electricity consumption by 38%, by automating the control of our heating and lighting systems as well as converting to LED lighting.
Distribution Centres - We have 16 Distribution Centres (DCs) and Consolidation Centres (CCs) globally. Our two largest DCs have already converted to 100% renewable electricity – “The Duke” based in Burton upon Trent, UK also generates 14% of its own electricity needs through a rooftop Solar PV array.
We plan to convert our remaining DCs and CCs to Renewable Electricity by 2025.
Sea and Road - This is the unknown bit as we do not own these operations – we are starting to explore opportunities to reduce and convert our freight partners (inbound and outbound) to more efficient and renewable ways to move our products from factory to customer. To support this journey, we are moving a higher percentage of our production closer to consumer origins. This will mean that we can significantly reduce the distance our garments travel.
We plan to start by mapping and engaging with these partners – setting targets and working with companies leading in this area.
What else do we need to do?
Offsetting - To get to Net Zero emissions, we will need to offset what we can’t reduce or convert. I.e. logistics emissions where there is currently no fully renewable solution for moving products around the world – our total absolute emissions will not be Zero based on today’s technology.
When it comes to offsetting, our plan is to ensure we invest in initiatives that have a direct and tangible impact on supporting our planet and communities. We aim to find the best partners over the next few years to ensure we make the maximum positive impact.
We are already working with other businesses and charities that support carbon removal projects. In Scotland, we charge 5p for our paper carrier bags and donate that money to ‘Trees for Life’. Since 2015 we have supported the planting of nearly 12,500 trees, which will remove over 6,000 Tonnes CO2e in their lifetime.