“Go for the easiest and most efficient victories”

Shaun Packe, Global Director of Sourcing and Sustainability at Superdry, Jeroen Jacobs, Commercial Director of Textiles at Eastman, and Dov Brachfeld, Global Head of Sustainability at Treadler, who is teaming up with the H&M Group on its reduction strategy carbon emissions, highlighted some of the challenges – and solutions – for fashion brands and retailers in measuring and reducing Scope 3 emissions.

Scope 1 covers direct emissions from owned or controlled sources. Scope 2 covers indirect emissions from the production of purchased electricity, steam, heating and cooling consumed by the reporting company. Scope 3 includes all other indirect emissions that occur in a company’s value chain.

Packe said Superdry had just completed its first Scope 3 external report and described it as “revealing”. He said the retailer won an award 12 months ago from Sunday time for achieving the biggest reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions: “We were celebrating and thought we were ahead of the game. Then we got our Scope 3 and realized that the application 1 and 2 represent 1% to 2% of our total emissions, so there is a lot of work to be done.”

All three described key areas and challenges in identifying and quantifying Scope 3 emissions, and described how they approached them.

Packe said trying to reduce Scope 3 emissions could be “overwhelming”. His solution was for Superdry to go with the “easiest and most effective wins”: materials. “Cotton represents 60% of our materials and we wanted to switch 100% of our cotton to organic by 2025.

“And we wanted to make sure we got the money and the transparency down to the farmer level. We currently have 12,000 sponsored farmers in India, and we want to change the lives and communities where they operate. It’s not just about carbon – it has to be linked to water and chemicals if we want to save the planet. We will pass this to 20,000 farmers, which covers all our raw material needs. »

“Then we looked at how to move our clothes. It’s a big impact – the amount of sea freight, road freight and air freight. Three years ago, we airlifted 11% of our clothing. I was told the average was 18%. We are committed to halving that every year. This year it has fallen to 2%, and next year we will challenge ourselves to reach 1%. Everyone in this room can make a target of it quite easily. This is a huge carbon opportunity.

“The first year we reduced our airfreight we saved £4m – we can reinvest that. Pay it forward.

“Remember those huge orange bags from Superdry? We had them in China – they were built so you could carry bricks in them. We wondered why we were doing this. Now we make them in Wales, halved the weight, removed carbon fillers and saved £1million.

“Link your carbon savings and your costs. We spend a lot of money buying clothes that go on sale. Change your purchases and your expectations. Sometimes out of stock – wow!

“Then there are our suppliers. I’ve never had a bad conversation with a supplier about investing in sustainability initiatives. Many of our suppliers have solar panels and are turning to renewable energy. And we helped them reduce their carbon by about 15%. We need to live and breathe partnership – not just say it.

“Every vendor we work with, we give a 12-month forecast and monitor it monthly. You can have those conversations with vendors who have confidence in the longevity to make those changes.

In the spirit of collaboration, Packe has made repeated offers to share Superdry’s experience, expertise and contacts on the ground to help other retailers reduce their Scope 3 emissions.

He concluded: “Why is Scope 3 so complicated? Clothes are tangible – you can smell and touch them. But you can’t see or touch the carbon. We know organic is so positive – you can see the difference it makes in communities. We know organic is good for water and chemicals, but we can’t measure carbon.

“Our Scope 3 includes consumer clothing, which is the number of times a garment is worn and washed. We want our clothes to be worn 100 times – some people have a goal of 10 times. We want our clothes to be worn and washed 100 times – but that gives you more carbon emissions.

Jacobs said Eastman, as a raw materials supplier, has found fabric dyeing and finishing to be responsible for a lot of emissions and “there are a lot of gains to be made” in these areas. He added: “The textile value chain is very complicated, with many players at different stages in many parts of the world.

“Materials are shipped, in different forms, maybe partially processed or fully processed multiple times from different regions in the work, so there are a lot of emissions. The biggest challenge is making sure that all the different actors across the value chain are really working together to solve this problem. A single player cannot solve this problem alone.

Jacobs said Eastman is moving its suppliers away from fossil fuels, replacing that component with “end-of-life consumer waste – carpet, automotive waste and performance apparel waste.” He was also investing in renewable energy.

Brachfeld said Treadler provides services to achieve science-based goals for companies in the H&M Group’s supply chain.

He said the biggest challenge was supply chain visibility: “Who makes our clothes? Do you also have the type of relationship with your suppliers to help them invest in these changes? »