RESPONSIBILITY REPORT 2021
We have considered ourselves an ‘ethical’ and ’sustainable’ brand since we have launched, April 1st, 2021. We made these claims based on several factors, which include the fact we are made-to-order, the suppliers we have decided to work with and our contributions to reforestation. Upon evolving and learning as a brand, we understand this is not enough to make such claims. Sustainability is so much more complex than our efforts thus far.
We are constantly working towards becoming a more responsible version of ourselves, therefore, going forward, we will no longer claim to be a 100% sustainable brand because we recognize the contradiction between fashion and sustainability. We are a fashion brand and essentially we thrive off newness and consumption to some degree. What we can say, is that we are 100% focused on making responsible decisions throughout our business model to minimize our environmental and social impact. Working towards sustainability is a never ending journey. Going forward we will refer to ourselves as an ‘ethical’ and ‘responsible’ brand. We are working towards becoming as impact free as possible.
We understand that it is our duty to be transparent about our efforts and supply chain. If you submit an inquiry we will provide detailed information about our supply chain and we plan to communicate our shortcomings and progress/efforts efficiently going forward.
We welcome you all to join the conversation.
WHAT WE ARE CURRENTLY DOING:
Currently, our products are handmade to order. This ensures we will not sit on inventory that might not sell, therefore reducing our carbon footprint and eliminating the waste of excess inventory. We have chosen to work with a trustworthy network of responsible suppliers who utilize the highest quality and ethically sourced materials.
Our preferred suppliers provide ECO PASSPORT by OEKO-TEX© certified ink and STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX© certified material as well as certifications from SGS Printing, and FSC packaging made from 100% recycled materials.
When it comes to ethics, we can assure you that we are following strict guidelines to ensure our operations are as ethical as possible. This includes safe working conditions, occupational health standards, cruelty-free production, charging premiums for fair trade and ethical pay for labor. Our employees come from all ethnic backgrounds and races and we are proudly an equal opportunity employer.
WHAT WE PLAN TO DO:
As we evolve and learn more about the massive spectrum of sustainability, we have decided to limit or stop our use of certain materials and fibers. We will limit our use of polyester products. We will incorporate more natural fibers such as cotton, organic cotton and wool. We will stop using acrylic. We will only use elastane or spandex if it falls within 5-10% of the garment.
THE MATERIALS AND FIBERS WE WILL USE
POLYESTER (LIMITED USE)
There is much bias on whether or not recycled polyester is “sustainable”. According to the Higg Index, polyester is better than cotton in some ways, and worse in others. It has a lower negative impact when it comes to water pollution, water scarcity, and chemistry. It has a higher negative impact when it comes to global warming and fossil fuel usage, but not by much. And for global warming specifically, it looks better than almost every other natural fabric. In short, polyester is just average when it comes to environmental impacts during its production, and it depends a lot on how it’s made, rather than the polyester itself.
The pros of polyester:
Using polyester gives a second life to a material that’s not biodegradable and would otherwise end up in landfill or the ocean. According to the NGO Ocean Conservancy, 8 million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean every single year. Some polyester textiles shed barely any microfibers. Polyester has often been considered more sustainable from a consumer care standpoint and polyester garments last a really long time and require less water, energy and heat for washing.
The cons of polyester:
Polyester is not biodegradable, but the idea of producing clothing with polyester is that it is very durable and it will last a very long time. Although polyester can’t be truly recycled yet, there is promising technology that could melt polyester out of blends for recycling. As of now, unfortunately, almost all polyester and polyester-blend scraps used fashion are going into the landfill, being incinerated, or washing into the ocean. Even if we do start collecting and recycling polyester, because PET degrades a little more during each life cycle loop, it cannot be recycled forever.
Polyester has come a long way. It has been refined and it is a very durable material. Believe it or not, it is used by many high-end “eco-friendly” brands. It is also used in cheap, tacky, toxic clothing from dubious brands. Polyester comes in so many forms, prices and uses, it can be hard to avoid. Using polyester fibers made of plastic bottles reduces CO2 emissions by 59%. Although there are pros to using polyester, we feel as though we need to migrate towards more natural fibers such as cotton, organic cotton and wool.
We will drastically reduce our use of polyester going forward.
Cotton/organic cotton is renewable, sustainable and biodegradable. It is an excellent choice as an environmentally-friendly fiber throughout its life cycle. As a fiber, cotton is considered plant-based. Some say that it takes a large number of pesticides to grow cotton, but with further research, this amount has dropped dramatically in the United States with the use of new technology according to the U.S Department of Agriculture. The new technology includes insect-resistant and drought-resistant varieties that continue to reduce the need for pesticides and water. Globally, only 8.5% of all pesticides applied to crops are used to grow cotton. And if the cotton is organic, there is no use of pesticides. Studies show that there are no pesticide residues on the raw cotton fiber used to manufacture clothing, organic or not. Cotton is also very drought and heat tolerant, therefore it does not require excessive amounts of water to grow. It actually uses less water than many major crops produced in this country. U.S. farmers are now using 45% less irrigation water when growing one pound of cotton. Conservation tillage practices have also increased dramatically, which has led to less erosion and runoff. These practices alone have said to reduce the amount of CO2 emissions equivalent to removing over 27,000 cars from the road.
We will incorporate as much cotton and organic cotton as possible.
Wool is a protein that grows from the skin of sheep, goats, and other similar animals. Wool is renewable, recyclable and natural. It doesn't shed microplastics. It is one of the most sustainable sources of clothing.
We will incorporate as much wool as possible.
Hemp is an extremely sustainable crop that can be used to produce a vast array of biodegradable materials. It is also naturally pest-resistant and does not need toxic chemicals to grow. It is easy to grow, it can renew up to 3 times per year and it is extremely durable for the most natural fiber. Hemp crops even give back by returning nutrients to the soil and sequestering carbon dioxide.
We will incorporate as much hemp as possible.
The Higg Index rates elastane's environmental impact the same as polyester. Much of its impact comes from the use of fossil fuels, contributing to global warming, and the chemicals used in its production. It is said that if a garment is made with natural fibers such as cotton, hemp or wool and only 5%-10% elastane then it is still compostable. A small portion of our products contain 3% elastane.
In addition to the way polyurethane is used, companies are taking note of the other factors they can control to be more sustainable overall. The production of elastane is energy intensive, so factories are taking measures to reduce their energy consumption. Lowering water usage and carbon emissions are among the highest priorities.
MATERIALS WE WILL NOT USE
Acrylic is not biodegradable and it may take up to 200 years for such synthetic textiles to decompose. Acrylic production is relatively destructive, energy intensive, micro-fibers wash off, it's non-recyclable and toxic chemicals are required. We will not use any acrylic moving forward.
Although, we mentioned we will use 3% elastane in some of our products, we will not sell any products that are made predominantly made with spandex alone. We will only use spandex if it’s less than 5-10% in a natural fiber blend. Full spandex is mostly petroleum based. It requires lots of energy to produce and is not biodegradable. It takes a large toll on the environment. Although, there is hope, until we see less of an impact from this fiber, we will discontinue its use.
Thank you for taking the time to read this report.
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out. Or if you would like more information regarding our supply chain, we would be more than happy to share this information with you!
Please email: email@example.com
And thank you so much for being here on this journey with us and supporting our grand mission as an international brand.
-Michelle, CEO of B&G