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#FORTHEFUTURE

We’re on a journey to a more sustainable future. We know the problems. We’re putting into action the solutions. We aim to educate and inspire change to reduce the impact of fashion.

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Journey of our clothes & the impacts

Fibre Production

If you look at the care label you can see the materials your clothes are made from.

We use lots of different fibres, but the ones you will see most of are polyester, cotton and viscose.

Every fibre has a different environmental impact.

Environmental impacts

For example, standard polyester comes from fossil fuels. Conventional cotton requires a lot of water and fertiliser during its growth phase. Viscose is made of wood pulp that comes from trees and lots of chemicals are used in its production.

Clothing Production

Fibres are spun and then either knit or woven to make the material we use.

They can be dyed either before or afterwards.

Then our suppliers cut, sew and finish the garments.

Energy is used in the production of materials and in the manufacture of clothes.

Environmental Impact

The dying process can be chemically intensive and uses a lot of water. Wastewater needs to be treated to make sure it does not pollute waterways when it is released back into the environment.

Textile waste is produced when garments are cut.

Transportation & Selling

Our supplier send the clothes to our warehouses in Burnley and Manchester.

We take great photos of them in our studio and put them on our website where our customers buy them.

Environmental Impact

Clothes can be transported by road, rail, sea and air.

Carbon emissions are produced through all these modes of transport, but air freight is obviously the most energy intensive.

Wearing & Washing

Customers receive their clothes and either return them to us, or keep them.

Wear them and wash them, wear them and wash them etc.

Environmental Impact

There’s a carbon impact in returning products and in washing garments.

Water and chemicals found in laundry detergent are used during washing. Microfibres are also released during the washing process.

After Use

When customers don’t want them anymore they look for different ways to pass them on.

Environmental Impact

Clothes can be donated, swapped, downcycled or re-sold, but many garments end up in landfill or being incinerated to make energy.

WHAT WE'RE DOING TO REDUCE OUR IMPACT

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CLICK THE ICONS TO FIND OUT MORE

We believe fashion is for all, at accessible prices. However there is no denying the impact fashion has on the planet. We’re taking serious steps to becoming more sustainable.

Our sustainability range explained

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How do we make our clothes?

As a business we are growing rapidly. We rely on strong relationships with our suppliers to provide our customers with on trend products at a great price. We’ve been building our team who work with our suppliers in the UK and further afield to make sure that we all have a clear map of all the factories producing our clothes and that our standards are followed to protect the workers in those factories and the quality of the clothes they produce.

On the 15th September, we ran our first meet the makers event, opening the doors to three of our suppliers in leicester. We welcomed members of the public, local government officials, journalists and members of our boohoo family to see behind the scenes and witness the great work we are doing.

We use a test and repeat approach. Production runs are small and we only order more of the products our customers like. This means that we don’t over order or hold excess stock which helps to reduces our waste.

Take a look at what happened during the tours.

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What is Polyester?

What is it?

Polyester is made from a synthetic plastic fibre made from PET (the most common plastic in the world!). It’s the most widely used fibre in the clothing industry because it is really versatile, doesn’t wrinkle much and dries quickly - it is also very good value. It’s produced by melting the plastic and pushing it through tiny holes. The polyester threads are spun and woven into a material.

What are the problems with polyester?

Polyester is derived from crude oil and relies on a lot of energy to produce it. While it requires less water to make than most natural fibres, it does require water for cooling. The other concern with polyester is the end of life, because it is derived from plastic it takes many many years to break down. There are also concerns with microfibre release.

What we are doing?

We’ve started replacing conventional polyester with certified recycled polyester. This is usually produced from recycled plastic bottles. This certainly isn’t perfect, but it has a lower environmental impact. Some recycled polyester manufacturers are making their fibres from ocean plastics. This is something we want to work with our suppliers on. We are members of the microfibre consortium and are collaborating with other brands and retailers with the aim to provide solutions to microfibre release.

Find out more about more materials goals here.

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What is Cotton?

What is it?

Cotton is a natural fibre derived from cotton plants. The fluffy fibre is picked and spun into thread. Once woven into material, it is light, breathable, easy to work, and easy to wear. This is why it’s so popular.

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What are the problems with cotton production?

Traditional cotton production takes up a lot of land, uses a lot of water and is often grown in countries that are facing severe water stress. Farmers often use chemically intensive insecticides and artificial fertilisers that pollute the land and nearby waterbodies.

What are we doing?

Alternatives to traditional cotton are organic cotton, better cotton initiative cotton, recycled cotton and REEL (Responsible Environment Enhanced Livelihoods) cotton. Our buying teams are working with suppliers to use these alternatives.

We’re proud to announce our partnership with CottonConnect to produce more sustainable cotton and good business practices. The CottonConnect partnership will allow us to produce REEL cotton:
• Responsible
• Environment
• Enhanced
• Livelihoods

We will be working alongside farmers to educate them about the benefits of more sustainable production methods.

Find out more about more materials goals here.

What’s the deal with denim?

A staple in everybody’s wardrobe, you will struggle to find someone without at least one pair of jeans. Unfortunately, this fashion essential has a damaging impact on the planet.

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What are we doing?

Just one pair of jeans can require up to 10,850 litres of water to produce, including growing the cotton and the intensive dyeing and treatment processes.

By 2025 all of our cotton and polyester will be more sustainably sourced through the likes of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) and through our partnership with Cotton Connect.

Why do we use plastic packaging?

Packaging is really important to get our products to our customers in the best condition and ultimately keep products in use for longer. However, we’re aware packaging is a big concern for customers due to the plastic consumption.

What are we doing?

Like many areas of sustainability, there isn’t a simple answer. Most of our brands use plastic packaging, because it is light, flexible and requires less energy to transport. Our dispatch bags use a minimum of 80% recycled content and we will be updating our swing tags by reducing the size and removing non-recyclable finishes, saving 13,824 trees per year.

Our target is that by 2023 all our packaging will be reusable, recyclable or compostable and will contain over 50% recycled content. In addition to that, our new packaging team are looking at ways to optimise our packaging to use less material – which is of course the most sustainable option from a packaging and labelling perspective.

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Why is the carbon impact of fashion so high?

Educate

Human induced climate change is the increase in average world temperatures caused by humans using oil, gas and coal for their homes, factories and transport. Burning of these fuels releases greenhouse gases. The most common one is carbon dioxide. We’re already seeing the impact of climate change with droughts, floods, tropical storms and wildfires happening more and more frequently.

Evaluate

Carbon dioxide is emitted at every step of the clothing journey including fabric production, garment manufacture, transport, washing garments and at the end of their life. The more clothes that are produced the more emissions are released.

Execute

We have set ourselves science based targets which mean that we are committed to reduce the emissions relative to our growth in line with what the scientists say we need to do to stop catastrophic and long-term effects.

In our own operations we have taken great strides like moving to renewable energy contracts in all our offices and distribution centres and even installing solar panels to produce our own electricity. But we are not stopping there...

Our biggest emissions across what is known as our ‘value chain’ come from the production of our clothes, the transport of our clothes and the energy used in marketing. These are known as hotspots and where we are focusing our efforts.

Switching the materials we use for our clothes is an important step we are taking. We’re also working with our top suppliers to understand their energy use and see how this can be reduced and switched to renewable.

What you can do to help

Check out our sustainable highlight on Instagram for hacks and more inspiring content.

Coming Soon

There is so much work to be done with the fashion world and sustainability. We’re going to be open, upfront, and frank on the progress we are making with transparency throughout the journey.

We know there are problems and we are actively looking for solutions, but we want to ensure we approach these with all the knowledge, resources and information needed to enact change in the right way.

We’ll keep you in the know along the way - stay tuned for more about what we are doing.

Shop the range.

Join us on the journey, it’s a work in progress.