From inception GANNI tapped into an existing system of global, complex and opaque supply chains in order to bring an exciting product offering at scale. It's become increasingly recognised that at times this supply chain can be exploitative. We know some of our biggest negative impacts lie in our supply chain - we were born bad. Our biggest challenge of all is trying to change this retrospectively. It's a huge task. The first step is to gain visibility
Currently we have strong relationships and 100% visibility of our Tier 1, cut and sew manufacturers, and visit them 4-6 times a year. This has enabled us to start conversations and take action on social and environmental issues. To push change past Tier 1, we need to address our lack of visibility further along the chain. This is why we have been working with the HIGG index, set up an internal working group, and extended our sustainability team to 4 with a team member dedicated to reaching our goal of full traceability on our Tier 1-3 suppliers by 2021.
The Fashion industry has embraced the ideas of the circular economy, as fundamentally it allows us to continue our current business model of making and selling new clothes. But, in practice the technology and infrastructure to truly increase reusing and recycling clothing is not where it needs to be to make this a sustainable solution. Which is why investment in garment collecting and fibre separating to turn old garments into new yarns needs to be prioritised by brands, governments and policy makers to make a circular industry and economy a reality. From 2020 we will be investing in recycling technology and infrastructure projects to help accelerate the transition to a circular fashion industry.
Moving toward a circular economy is not only about reusing and recycling garments, but also about considering the quality of the garments and fibres you’re circulating. We need to become less reliant on synthetic materials that are fossil fuel based and often contribute to microfibre shedding, including recycled polyester. We are in a position now where we are willing to pay a premium for better certified materials. However we still face barriers in price, quality and scalability for some more bio-based and innovative alternatives. If we really want to incorporate the most sustainable solutions in our collections we need to consider partnering and financially supporting these start-ups
Using virgin leather is another material that conflicts with our CO2 goals. Over 40% of our C02 emissions are derived from using leather, which is crazy. We’ve now made a decision to phase out the use of virgin leather in our collections. Currently, the alternative on the market is faux leather which is often made from Polyurethane (plastic) which is problematic and not the best solution either. The good news is we’re starting to see lots of exciting bio-based innovations like cactus, apple and pineapple based materials that can create a leather-like feel, so hopefully we will find an alternative soon.
We’ve never incinerated unsold stock or sent it to landfill, and we never want to be in that position. However, as a brand growing internationally we need to be realistic - unsold stock is an issue we may be faced with. Producing and selling new clothes is the business model we rely on, so we’re being proactive in exploring new business models such as rental and resale in order to evolve. In the interim we have partnerships with SOEX and I:CO who are sorting, recycling and reselling service providers. We know this is not enough, and so have set ourselves some ambitious targets to reduce any materials waste. You will be able to read more in our upcoming sustainability report, in April 2020.
We’re in a climate emergency and we care about reducing our CO2 emissions. In line with the UNFCCC we have committed to a 30% CO2 emissions reduction per kg of clothing by 2023. However, as a growing brand, we also have ambitious international expansion plans. This is a huge contradiction. We are 100% committed to meeting our Net Zero Emissions pledge, but we don’t know how we will get there yet. We feel this is achievable if we start asking ourselves some tough questions and make some bold decisions. We’ve also committed to reaching Net Zero CO2 emissions by 2050 in line with the Paris Agreement.
We acknowledge that the Paris Agreement target of 2050 could be revisited in light of recent scientific predictions, such as the latest IPCC report. This is a dilemma we find deeply alarming, so we’ve brought forward our UNFCCC commitment, of a 30% reduction of CO2 per kg of clothing, from 2030 to 2023.
We do what we do because ultimately, our ambition is to create a fashion collection that does no harm to the environment. No harm when it's produced, when it's consumed, or during its afterlife. This is super ambitious, highly complex and sometimes makes us look like we’re behind brands that simply switch all of their fabrics to organic alternatives overnight. You could argue that the sole fact we produce for consumption means that we are not responsible and we totally understand your point of view.
But we still believe that fashion can be a force for good, and a vehicle for change. We also don’t think fashion is ever going to go away. But instead of shutting down our business, we'd rather go to work every day and focus on creating a responsible fashion industry.