This is our first pillar for our reason. The overarching aim of our business is to ensure that everyone who touches it benefits from it.
We source our whole production supply chain from inside Europe. Labour laws under the European Commission ensure safe working conditions, high-quality production of goods and fair pay.
Location Supply Chain Information:
- Cut & Sew Primary Production – Portugal
- Material Finishing Factory – Italy
- Polymer Conversion Facility – Germany
- Caster Bean Oil Growth - India*
- New product R&D – Spain
- Manufacturing Facility, Socks Only – Lviv, Ukraine
*Plant growth on non-arable land, creating agricultural jobs in a region that typically cannot grow crops - read more here.
When considering the environmental impacts of our product we can devise this into our material sourcing, production, and distribution.
From material sourcing perspective we consider:
- Source derivation impact – For example, where is it from? What plant/crop is it from? How does this impact other food crop growth? How does this impact biodiversity and soil health? What chemicals are used (if any)? How resource intensive is the crop?
For this, our criteria are clear:
Produce a quantifiable low impact product from a plant based renewable material. Why? Our products are then not derived from highly polluting, finite resources such as petroleum. Therefore, the crop must have no/minimal effect on the human crop supply chain, use zero fertilisers/chemicals and must not damage soil health (key elements monitored).
Our current principle material for our clean apparel range (excl. socks) location supply chain information:
Evidently, our locational supply chain does have a significant amount of international travel movement. We are currently working on methods of obtaining an accurate data of this footprint so that we can firstly try to reduce it and secondly, offset it.
- Regarding biodiversity, there is no hiding the impact of monoculture crop growth on biodiversity. We as a business are responsible for measuring the species richness in these areas of crop growth and hence the biodiversity index; in response to these data, we can then invest capital into projects which improve biodiversity in that community to offset the impact of our crop growth. This is a long-term project and something that will take many years to get an understanding. For our Indian grown caster bean, the plant has no effect on the human crop supply chain as no other crops can grow in the location due to the land being non arable; we see the positives of this as creating farming jobs for those in that local community who wouldn't have been able to farm before.
- Microplastics associated with material – are currently very difficult to measure; however, as data improves and our understanding of what can be done to reduce the impact of microplastics, we will ensure this is communicated to customers and that our sourcing represents the best current innovations in this space.
- Key output measurements – measuring the levels of carbon dioxide emitted, natural water and chemical usage are key criteria when considering the material usage is pivotal to understanding the success of an innovation and whether it is taking us in the right direction.
Our product lasts a lifetime. It is designed with quality, long-lasting materials that combine a performance design. Our product material is currently all from Europe with our production being in a high-quality factory in Portugal.
We understand the demands within performance sport from a product functionality standpoint and the constant evolution of performance sportswear; our products must therefore reach that demand to keep up with our competition and provide a truly circular alternative to the current market options.
Our principal value and brand mission is to accelerate the transition to circular performance sportswear. This pillar in our sourcing is pivotal to our business.
In this step, we need our customers to return their used product to us so we can control exactly where it goes. In return, we provide them with a % discount off their next purchase as gratitude for buying into our vision.
Our current post-use design options:
- Repair/clean and resale – use a specialist 3rd party to clean (using specialist micro-plastic filters) and repair any minor issues that we can then re-sell second hand at a decreased price or distribute into disadvantaged communities, in turn empowering and encouraging the 2nd hand market through channels such as Depop and eBay.
- Biofuel – we use this as a last resort when the product is not repairable and has outlived its useful lifetime. We can safely convert our product into biofuel at a refinery capturing all methane as a source of useful energy.
The issue of sending products to biodegrade in landfill:
As soon as a product goes to a landfill, we lose control of it. At many landfill sites, the waste is not separated into bio-degradable/non-biodegradable products; these products are often combined and hermetically sealed so they cannot degrade.
Additionally, biodegradable matter releases the most amount of methane out of any material that goes to landfills. Methane is the most potent greenhouse gas. Despite huge efforts to capture methane and use it as a powerful energy source, landfill sites account for 22% of the UK methane emissions (0.46Mt) SOURCE.
We, therefore, believe it is more important to keep our products in our value chain; if we do use this option of biodegrading, we use a specialist facility, not a landfill site. However, the risk of not receiving the product back is high in this case so having a financial reward to the customer for return is critical for probable success
Underpinning the overall success of each of our other pillars in our sourcing is the quality and availability of data. Unlike most brands, we go further into our supply chain to explore the issues they face and how we can improve this with data.
From the launch of our products and supply chain, we will begin to put infrastructure in place to improve these data, potentially working with 3rd party organisations such as universities and data collection organisations. This is an ever-evolving development for the business; we will gradually add more and more data points where we can afford and practically do across the supply chain.
We are currently at a point where our suppliers are providing the data they have available to them, and we are working with them to establish the biggest areas that they lack these data and measures we can put in place within the next three years to improve them.
Why is the data so important?
To understand the impact of innovation and ensure we are heading in the right direction, we must be led by data to provide quantifiable points along our journey.