Corporate Responsibility

Environment

Over the coming years we have set ourselves tough targets to reduce our carbon (by 30%), water (by 15%) and waste (by 15%). In order to achieve our targets, we have partnered with national and international programmes that help us work more closely with our suppliers and other brands. The problems facing the fashion industry cannot be solved by a single company so these initiatives and partnerships are crucial for progress.

The environment

Customers

Race For Life

Our customers care about the environment which is why we make it easier for them to use our stores and car parks for recycling. Each year, customers recycle around 7,000 tons of clothing and 500 tons of footwear on our sites and recycle 100 tons of clothing through our donation appeal events in store. We also hold customer donation events for our customer, where they can donate their clothing to stores and receive a voucher to spend on F&F products. By donating unwanted clothes to our stores, our customers also helped raise £840,000 for Cancer Research UK in 2012 and 2013. We would also recommend taking a look at the Love Your Clothes website to find out how you could reduce your environmental impact at home while saving money: http://loveyourclothes.org.uk

Our stores

Race For Life

Reducing our environmental impact is an important way in which we run our stores. In the UK we recycle our clothes hangers (by using them again or having them converted into other products) which meant that in 2014, we prevented 966 tonnes of plastic going to UK landfill. The formal uniforms worn by our store colleagues are all made from 100% recycled polyester.

Head office and hub offices

Race For Life

Our buyers and commercial teams have been trained to buy cotton from more sustainable sources that we have identified through third parties such as the Better Cotton Initiative. Twenty percent of our cotton in Spring-Summer 2015 was sourced through programmes that benefit the farmers who are growing cotton and reduce their environmental impact. We are now training our colleagues and suppliers on our zero deforestation commitment, ensuring cellulosic fibres such as modal, Tencel® and viscose are sourced responsibly.

Our suppliers

Race For Life

Without the help of our suppliers we cannot meet our environmental targets, or reduce our impact, so we are committed to supporting them in making their own reductions. In Bangladesh, for example, we have invested $200,000 into the Partnership for Cleaner Textiles Program. This aims to reduce the large amounts of water, energy and chemicals used in dyeing and finishing in the textile industry. Four of our mills have completed the programme and as a result, between them saved almost 130,000 cubic metres of water a year and just under 4,000 tonnes of carbon. A further seven mills have now joined the programme.

Collaboration

We cannot make the changes we want to make alone, that is why we are active members of the following initiatives:

F&F committed to zero discharge of hazardous chemicals

Wherever in the world our products are made, we want to ensure they are manufactured in a way that protects the workers in our supply chains and safeguards the environment. As part of this, F&F supports the ‘precautionary principle’ whereby a substance may harm the environment but the type or magnitude of harm are not yet known. This means making sure that the chemicals we use during the manufacturing process is not having an adverse effect on fresh water bodies like rivers and lakes.

F&F acknowledges and understands the seriousness of hazardous chemicals and has committed to the goal of zero discharge of hazardous chemicals across the entire product life-cycle by 2020.

The scale and complexity of the issue means that this is not something we can achieve on our own, so we are working collaboratively with stakeholders in the industry to have a significant impact across our supply chain and to address systemic challenges. F&F is now a signatory member of Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals ZDHC, we agree to the content, actions and timelines outlined in the Joint Roadmap.

What have we done to make this commitment a reality?

F&F will continue phasing out hazardous chemicals in our supply chain and we will accelerate the phase out of the highest priority hazardous chemicals. We started improving the transparency of our supply chains, mapping them back to the mill. We have issued an updated Restricted Substances in Textiles Policy by incorporating the ZDHC Manufacturing Restricted Substances List into our existing list for suppliers to follow.

Next we began raising awareness about the new policy which is about implementing a robust chemical management system in general. We support our supply base by holding workshops and elearning modules. Currently, all our strategic partner suppliers, including direct vendors, mills and nominated trims vendors, have been through our training programme and we will continue to roll this out over the next year.

Embedding new policies into our manufacturing processes then required new testing programmes and auditing protocols to ensure compliance. We have started piloting waste water testing programme at our core wet processing units in different regions and implementing improvement programs. We will also start to integrate the ZDHC audit protocols to audit our supply base to assess mills against our new requirements.

What comes next?

F&F will continue to work with industry and other key stakeholders to affect systemic change across the industry. If we are to deliver lasting solutions, our actions must be guided by transparency, factbased decision-making and based on a precautionary and integrate approach to chemical management. We will continue to guide our suppliers towards chemical management best practices and to phase out hazardous chemicals from the manufacturing process towards 2020 goal.

Bangladesh Water PaCT

Textile washing, dyeing, and finishing currently use large amounts of water, energy, and chemicals which we are committed to reducing. F&F have invested $200,000 into the Partnership for Cleaner Textiles Program in Bangladesh. Run by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) our goal is to establish a world class water, energy and chemical management practice in Bangladesh that will benefit everyone. Four of our mills have in process of completion and another seven have joined in the programme. So far those four mills have save annually 128,942 cubic meters of water and 3904 tonnes of carbonGHG. This is an average reduction of 22% water per mill.

Better Cotton Initiative

Cotton is the biggest raw material we use which affects thousands of cotton farmers around the world. To help those cotton farmers, we are working towards ensuring that 100% of our cotton is more sustainable (i.e. it has a minimal impact on the environment and the people producing it get a better deal). We have joined the Better Cotton Fast Track Program (http://bettercotton.org/).

This is part of our commitment to ensure that by 2020, 30% of the global cotton market is produced in a more sustainable way.

Sustainable Clothing Action Plan

We are a member of the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan group (SCAP), funded by the UK Government, which sets out agreed actions from the UK clothing and fashion industry to improve the sustainability of UK clothing. Overall, clothing contributes around 5% of the UK's carbon footprint and between 6-8% of the water footprint, and accounts for more than 1 million tonnes of wasted materials. To combat this, F&F are members of SCAP, working with other retailers and brands to quantify the total global impacts of the clothes we make and sell in a consistent way.

Using SCAP's " footprint calculator ", we can measure our carbon, water and waste footprint and take action to reduce these and measure year-on-year improvements.

Companies representing more than a third of the UK clothing sales have signed up to the SCAP 2020 commitment to take collective action to measure and report the environmental 'footprint' of clothing through its life, and to take action to reduce their impact. Find out more

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