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We've always cared about more than selling clothes. For years, we've used better materials like organic cotton, Fairtrade Sourced Cotton and EcoVero viscose. And we're proud of our achievements. But we know that it's not enough just to do what we've always done.
That's why, over the past year, we've been looking at things again. We've mapped our clothing supply chains, our processes, and our fabric sourcing. We've measured the carbon output of our whole business (including our fibre carbon footprint) and made sure all our more sustainable materials are certified by the relevant independent bodies. You can read more about that work here.
We're also being honest with ourselves about where we're missing the mark. And we want to be honest with you, to have transparency around what goes into turning a sketch on a designer's notepad into a dress that ends up in your wardrobe. So you know about the good stuff and the better stuff (and the needs-to-be-better stuff too.)
All our organic cotton is fully certified by either the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) or the Organic Blended Content Standard (OCS). Organic production is based on a system of farming that maintains and replenishes soil fertility without the use of toxic, persistent pesticides or synthetic fertilisers. It also prohibits the use of genetically modified organisms. We publish clear fabric composition percentages for all our products, but if you see something that is labelled organic, or has the word in its name, you can be sure it's made from at least 70% organic material. And if we say "organic blend", that means at least 50% of the fabric is organic.
According to Fairtrade, White Stuff is currently the UK’s biggest fashion retailer of Fairtrade Sourced Cotton. Fairtrade sourcing supports the people at the beginning of the supply chain, so that the farmers who sow, grow and harvest the raw cotton have decent and safe working conditions. It means they earn at least the Fairtrade Minimum Price for their crop (to protect against market fluctuations). They also earn the Fairtrade Premium -- additional funds that farmers’ cooperatives spend on things like schools for their children, better irrigation systems, better access to doctors and better quality seeds.
Lenzing™ EcoVero™ viscose is made out of wood pulp from responsibly managed forests. It is dissolved in a nontoxic organic solvent before being turned into fabric. Calculated using the Higgs Material Sustainability Index, the production process for EcoVero™ viscose fibres generates up to 50% less emissions, and uses 50% less water, compared to conventional viscose fibres. The non-profit environmental protection organization Canopy has consistently ranked Lenzing among the top viscose producers worldwide for its sustainable wood and pulp sourcing practices. All of our EcoVero™ viscose is certified and traceable across its full supply chain.
We use a recycled cotton blend in our jeans, and recycled synthetics like polyester and nylon in our knitwear, outerwear and accessories. All of our fabrics featuring recycled materials are certified by the Textile Exchange's Global Recycled Standard (GRS) or Recycled Claim Standard (RCS). Producers of certified recycled materials must take the required measures to maintain the identity and integrity of the input material across the entire supply chain, from the raw materials to the final product. The textile must be made with a minimum percentage of certified recycled content (20% for GRS certification and 5% for RCS).
REPREVE™ fibres are made from 100% recycled materials, including post-consumer plastic bottles and pre-consumer waste. They are certified and traceable. We use REPREVE™ nylon in all our women's swimwear. REPREVE™ nylon yarn is created from scrap nylon waste from production lines, which is collected and reformulated into new yarns. We also use REPREVE™ polyester created from used plastic bottles which are broken down, melted and made into yarns.
We are working to ensure all our wool is certified by the Textile Exchange's Responsible Wool Standard (RWS). RWS certification ensures that sheep are treated well and allowed the Five Freedoms of animal welfare. The standard also has requirements around responsible land management to protect soil health and biodiversity. It ensures the materials are fully traceable across the sourcing and production process.
Linen is a natural fibre derived from flax and we use lots of it in our collections. According to the Alliance for European Flax-Linen & Hemp, flax grown in the rich soil and rainy climate of Northern Europe requires almost no irrigation and very few pesticides, herbicides or fertilisers. It also produces no waste and retains carbon in the soil.