Can Fashion & eCommerce really be sustainable?
In a nutshell and if we were to be scientific about it, no.
The scientists would say that we simply don’t need to produce any more clothing & that all production should stop immediately. Since we know that this is simply not going to happen, we need to look at ways that we can improve, both as individuals and collectively as an industry.
The eCommerce part and the ‘last mile’ in delivering goods to a unique location in particular is also not good and definitely not environmentally friendly. While there are eco-friendly delivery options available, they simply don’t have enough coverage or availability yet to be truly effective.
So what can we do? And how do we approach this?
First off, we should say that we are not sustainability experts. But it is something that we are extremely passionate about and we are constantly working to increase our knowledge and make changes for the better, for our people and our planet.
We do our very best to be open, up-front and honest about our approach and how we do things. These are just some of the things we do now. We’re constantly evolving, making updates and learning as we go.
1. Design for Circularity
The eco-system of ‘Create, Use & Dispose’ is outdated and cannot continue. We are depleting the earths natural resources at an unprecedented rate and this has to stop.
We design for circularity. By creating products that are durable and designed to last we ensure they have a long life. At the end of their life cycle, they can be redirected to another home or reused via our ‘Make Another One’ initiative.
2. Design for de-construction
For us, everything starts with our product design. Did you know that if the raw materials on a garment are mixed (for example: 20% cotton + 80% silk), this makes it impossible to separate the materials at the end of a products life cycle for re-use?
From the outset we design for de-construction meaning we only use whole blends of raw materials so they can be deconstructed and repurposed at the end of their lifecycle. For example, we sell 100% organic cotton tees, 100% silk tops and more, all made with one material blend only. This ensures that at the end of the products life, the raw material can be recycled and re-used.
If we ever do use a mix of raw materials, we will only do this on different elements of the product where they can be easily separated for reuse. For example, a top might have a body that is made from 100% organic cotton and sleeves that are made from 100% silk. This way, the different parts of the product could easily be separated so the raw materials could be reused.
Note: this type of blended material product doesn’t actually exist in our business but it’s a thought for how we could potentially handle this in the future if we did want to have different materials in one product.
3. Offsetting where reduction is not possible
Firstly, we believe we have a duty to reduce our emissions as much as possible. Then and only then, for emissions that are unavoidable, we believe offsetting is an appropriate action. We’re committed to becoming a fully circular business by 2025 and we want to contribute more to the planet than the resources we take. We are therefore planning to make additional voluntary contributions to take us beyond carbon neutral and to ensure our circular status. We will only work with certified approved offsetting initiatives. We haven’t yet agreed the partnerships and initiatives we will support but as soon as we do, we’ll add them here. You can also follow us on Social Media for regular updates.
4. Measure current levels and take actions to improve
This is an area that is currently underway and a ‘work in progress’ at The Suss Edit. We have decided to work with an independent external partner who is an expert in this field (we can announce this soon). They will help us to scientifically measure, interrogate and take action to reduce our carbon emissions.
For full transparency we will publish the results in a yearly report and identify the actions we have taken. We will also include a roadmap for how we will reach the status of a circular business by 2025.
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