The production of clothes impacts the environment in many ways. To protect the environment, and the communities living in it, we need to work sustainably with nature. We do this by focusing on materials, sustainable use of chemicals, water and energy and our own operations and logistics.
We prefer to use more sustainable materials in our clothing and aim to rapidly increase our use in the next years. To accomplish this, we set the goal that by 2030 90% of our collections will be made from more sustainable materials.
Organic cotton is cotton that is produced without the use of pesticides, fertilizer or modified seeds. It does not damage the soil, has less impact on the air, and uses less water and energy. Besides the environmental benefits, it also benefits the farmers who produce organic cotton. They are not exposed to toxic chemicals in the field or through their food and water supply. Organic cotton growth also stimulates the farmers to grow more than one crop which supplements their food and income.
FGS is a proud Member of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI). BCI exists to make global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in and better for the sector’s future. We are committed to sourcing 25% of our cotton as ‘more sustainable cotton’ by 2020. ‘More sustainable cotton’ includes Better Cotton, recycled cotton and organic cotton. We partner with the Better Cotton Initiative to improve cotton farming globally. The Better Cotton Initiative trains farmers to use water efficiently, to care for the health of the soil and natural habitats, to reduce use of the most harmful chemicals and on the principles of decent work.
The Better Cotton Initiative does this through a chain of custody called Mass Balance, which encourages us to buy and use more Better Cotton in a cost efficient manner. This system is similar to renewable energy. When you purchase renewable energy, you do not directly receive this energy yourself. The credits you purchase are proof that a certain amount of renewable energy has been added to the existing power grid. This energy might not be powering the lights in your house, but nonetheless, your purchase ensures that greener energy is added to and pulled from the power grid. How this system works exactly is explained here. In recent years, the Better Cotton Initiative licensed over 1.5 million farmers from 21 countries on five continents. Together, these farmers produced 11.9% of the world’s cotton. The production of Better Cotton has tangible economic, social and ecological benefits. You don’t have to take our word for it, the farmers and workers are happy to tell you all about it: Read the stories here.
Tencel™ fibers are made out of the renewable raw material wood, created by photosynthesis. The certified biobased fibers are manufactured using an environmentally responsible production process. TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers are known for their environmentally responsible closed loop production process, which efficiently transforms wood pulp into cellulosic fibers with a low environmental impact. This solvent-spinning process recycles process water and reuses the solvent at a recovery rate of more than 99%. The fibers are certified as compostable and biodegradable, and thus can fully revert back to nature. All TENCEL™ fibers are FSC® or PEFC™ certified.
Our products are not allowed to contain any animal fur. Our fashion brands are listed on the Fur Free Retailers list. The use of feathers is only acceptable with a certificate of origin. The origin of the material and confirmation that the material was obtained in an animal friendly manner should be certified.
Our fashion brands are listed as Angora Free Retailer at the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Foundation. The PETA Foundation is a UK-based charity dedicated to establishing and protecting the rights of all animals.
Our brands exclusively use down with the “Responsible Down Standard” certificate. This means that any removal of down and feathers from live birds (live-plucking or molt-harvesting) is prohibited and force feeding is prohibited.
SUSTAINABLE USE OF CHEMICALS, WATER & ENERGY
The production of clothes uses a lot of chemicals, energy and water. We are committed to use more sustainable production processes, to ensure a healthy environment. The use of PVC is prohibited for all brands. To ensure this, we test our products to confirm the absence of these chemicals. Restricted Substitute List (RSL) and Manufacturing Restricted Substance List (MRSL) To ensure that our suppliers use chemicals properly, our brands make use of the Restricted Substances List (RSL) and the Manufacturing Restricted Substance List (MRSL). These lists show an overview of restricted chemicals and the maximum quantities of accepted chemicals. All our products and packaging must meet the requirements for the use o chemicals, as stated in our RSL and MRSL. Our products are tested during development.
As a consumer you can also contribute to a healthier environment yourself. You can reduce the use of water and energy for washing and drying your garments. This will benefit both the environment and your clothing. The care label attached to your clothing provides information on how to clean your clothes. In addition we recommend to visit the Clevercare website, where tips are given on how to save water and energy, while also extending the lifetime of your products. You can wash more sustainably by following these steps:
Washing: Don’t wash your clothes too often. By reducing the number of times you wash your garments you can actively reduce your carbon footprint.
Temperature: Lower the washing-temperature. This way energy will be saved.
Drying: Choose air drying over tumble drying, it saves energy.
Ironing: Iron your clothes only when necessary. Hang dry clothes as soon as the wash cycle has finished to minimise creasing.
Chemical cleaning: If an item requires professional cleaning, do not remove the care label. This way, the professional cleaner can take better care of your garment and choose the right cleaning process.
LOW IMPACT JEANS BY AMERICA TODAY
America Today works on more sustainable use of chemicals, water and energy in one of their most important product groups: jeans. The brand joined the Alliance for Responsible Denim (ARD) in 2016. This alliance brings denim brands together to collectively take steps towards improving the ecological sustainability impact of denim production. As a result of this project, America Today developed a low impact never out of stock jeans. Since then, the brand has collaborated with their suppliers to produce more of their jeans sustainably. The impact of the jeans is measured with Environmental Impact Measurement software.
Our own operations & logistics
Many of our (potential) adverse impacts are related to our supply chain, but we also commit to work more sustainably in our own operations; in our daily work in our offices, stores and distribution center.
We are working on structurally decreasing our energy consumption and CO2 emissions in each of our stores. For example, this is done by applying energy-efficient LED lights and smart meters in our stores. An external party then assesses the energy consumption in our stores. This gives us a clear view of our consumption and helps us further reduce energy consumption.
At our head office you will find a lot of re-used materials. For example, the doors and rugs are secondhand. This contributes to the unique character at our office. In addition, our office has the label “energy class A” and our energy consumption is monitored by an external party that helps us to reduce our energy use. Our canteen is catered by OSP catering, a caterer who aims to be the best and greenest caterer of the Netherlands. Sustainable entrepreneurship and organic products are high on their agenda. We see and taste this daily, for example in our lunch that includes many regional, seasonal and organic products or when we collect coffee grounds that are re-used to grow mushrooms.