Esprit is driving the transition to circular fashion. We seek to manage the full life-cycle of our products, from design to finished product and beyond, in a responsible and environmentally-friendly way. We are taking steps to reduce our environmental footprint and to empower suppliers as well as customers to join us in this journey.
We at Esprit consider the impact our design and product development choices have on the planet. We aim to make responsible decisions that reduce our footprint. This begins with choosing materials that are produced in more sustainable and ethical ways, from cotton and cellulose to animal-derived materials such as down and leather.
We signed the 2020 commitment to Circular Fashion proposed by the Global Fashion Agenda and have begun to change processes in our supply chain to become more sustainable and reuse our resources. These are our commitments:
Action Point 1
By 2020, everyone in our product teams will have gone through training in circular design.
By 2020, we will establish a strategic plan to scale the cyclablity of our product lines.
Action Point 2
By 2020, Esprit will in collaboration with Packmee collect 50.000 kg via an e-tail garment collection program, with donation of 50% of the turnover to charity.
Action Point 3
By 2020, Esprit will increase the amount of garments resold by 40,000kg.
Action Point 4
By 2020, Esprit will produce at least 150,000 pieces of garments including at least 20% recycled post-consumer textile fibres.
More sustainable Materials
We have started increasing our use of recycled cotton and recycled polyester, made from used plastic bottles. We are looking for further ways to use recycled plastic from our own industry. With regard to cotton we critically consider the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. In 2017, more than 13% of our cotton came from more sustainable sources and we continuously work on increasing this proportion. Our target is that by the end of 2018, 25% or more of our cotton will be sourced from more sustainable sources.
Additionally, we are working on a more sustainable synthetic leather, which uses less chemicals. Please learn more here.
To avoid that cutting scraps from production end up in landfill, we started a pilot with one of our fabric suppliers. Cutting scraps made from 100% cotton are fully recycled and spun into new yarn that is used again for our products.
We also have an ongoing program for selected denim garments which are made from recycled cuttings from our suppliers own production. This program is a good step in our continuous efforts to close the loop in our production cycle.
To give our customers the possibility to recycle their old garments, we have started a program with PACKMEE in our stores. The PACKMEE program extends the life-span of old garments by allowing consumer to donate usable clothing and shoes Over half of the proceeds from the program are donated to the German Red Cross. You can find more information here.
More sustainable production
An important step towards circular fashion is to use less chemicals in production. Esprit has therefore signed a Detox commitment, which aims to eliminate harmful chemicals from the production of our garments by using more sustainable alternatives. For this reason we joined the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals Group (ZDHC) which brings brands together to work jointly to make our production more environmentally friendly. Every six months, we conduct wastewater tests in wet process mills in our supply chain. We also support suppliers with training and guidelines to make their production more sustainable and compliant with the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines and national requirements. We ask our suppliers to use the Higg Index, which is a tool to evaluate their environmental impact during production. By using the Higg Index, our suppliers can identify potential possibilities to improve their environmental footprint by reducing carbon emissions, having a solid chemical and water management system and using more sustainable chemicals.
For our denim range, we are working with our suppliers to develop more sustainable denim. These suppliers are using new techniques, such as laser, ozone and nano bubbles technology, to reduce the use of water, chemicals and energy during production. The products are evaluated by the Environmental Impact Monitoring software (EIM) which has been developed by Jeanologia. The software assesses water consumption, energy consumption, chemical use and worker health in the production process. It also helps us to identify more sustainable washes and to create a more sustainable denim range.