Through looking after nature and becoming climate positive, we’re aiming to do more than just minimise our impact. We want to leave the world in a better place.
At Nobody’s Child, we believe that sustainability is more than a buzzword – it’s imperative. Each garment we create is a testament to our commitment to reduce our environmental footprint. Through meticulous sourcing of sustainable fabrics, and adherence to responsible manufacturing practices, we’re not just making clothes, we’re shaping a more conscious future.
Textile production is the world’s second most polluting industry after oil. The total greenhouse gas emissions from textile production currently stands at 1.2 billion tonnes annually and accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions. Consuming fossil fuel-based electricity, the primary source of energy in the apparel production process, causes huge greenhouse gas emissions.
Measuring carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is complex. Many businesses only include the operations in the country they operate, rather than those that are generated from their supply chains or the use of their products. The latter is where the most emissions usually occur.
To start our journey in this area, we worked with an independent carbon consultancy over five months to gather important data that allowed us to map our entire emissions, both direct and indirect, and set our baseline year (2020). This included our environmental impact, covering four main stages:
- Raw materials
- In use/disposal
We measured the resources, energy and waste involved in producing, transporting and using our clothing as well as its disposal. We’re in the process of updating our carbon footprint before initially offsetting our entire emissions (Scope 1, 2 and 3) for 2021/22 and 2022/23. We’ll then collaborate with experts to identify key areas in which we can reduce absolute emissions and set reduction targets in each area based on Science Based Targets (SBTI).
What we learned
Our total emissions for 2020 (baseline) were 2,050 tCO2e. That’s the equivalent of:
- 1,266 flights from London to New York or
- 34.4 million smart phone charges
- 88% of our carbon footprint is attributed to sourcing our products, from the raw materials through to sewing and then transporting our goods to the UK
- 10% comes from our customers using our products (mainly washing and drying)
- 2% comes from the storage and distribution of our goods
The fashion industry is a significant contributor to the loss of biodiversity on the planet. Supply chains are directly linked to soil degradation, conversion of natural ecosystems and the pollution of our waterways.
Here are four ways we’re supporting the planet and its biodiversity:
1. Certified fabrics
Using organic and transitional cotton instead of conventional cotton means we can help restrict the use of harmful pesticides and create healthy soil that locks in carbon. Wood-based natural fibres such as viscose are involved in the logging of more than 150 million trees a year, up to 30% of which come from endangered and primary forests. We use responsible viscose from regenerative and certified sources.
The production of clothing can overexploit freshwater resources and contaminate waterways through chemical runoff and non-biodegradable liquid waste. We choose fabrics such as organic cotton that uses up to 91% less water compared to conventional cotton. Of the 1,900 chemicals used in clothing production, the European Union classifies 165 as hazardous to the health or the environment. The material certification we use for our fabrics restricts the use of these chemicals in our products.
Around 700,000 fibres are released in a standard laundry load. Half a million tons of microfibres end up in oceans every year. This is an industry-wide challenge that requires further research to find out which fabrics release the most fibres and what clothing companies can do to prevent them from entering the water system. Over 70% of our dresses are made from LENZING™ ECOVERO™, which is biodegradable and doesn’t contribute to marine litter or microplastic pollution.
4. Textile waste
73% of textile waste is incinerated or ends up in landfill. This releases pollutants into the surroundings and contributes to habitat loss. We encourage our customers to utilise repair services and use take back schemes like Re-Fashion to help donate their clothes, keeping them in circulation for longer.
- Update our carbon footprint for 2021/22 and 2022/23 so we have the latest information on all our emissions throughout our supply chain
- Offset our entire emissions for 2021/22 and 2022/23 to become carbon neutral (the balance between the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere)
- Work with EcoAct, a specialist carbon consultancy to produce a reduction strategy and review hotspots where we can immediately reduce our emissions
- Set science-based targets (SBTis) to achieve these reductions
- Continue to grow our responsible fibre mix towards our target of 100% as this has the largest overall positive impact on our carbon emissions, water usage and biodiversity