Stella McCartney has released its Impact Report 2021, and identified among the scopes the brand aims to reach the goal to Net-Zero carbon in its direct operations and across its entire supply chain (Scopes 1, 2 and 3), by 2040.
In addition to the company's impacts, the report also outlines many of Stella McCartney's ongoing and future initiatives including its goals to achieve net-zero, circular business model ambitions and improvements across packaging, global stores and offices, and water stewardship.
Since 2013, the brand has used natural capital accounting methods to measure its total environmental impacts and assign a monetary value to them – from growing and extracting raw materials to the manufacturing of products to the running of stores and offices. That amount for 2021 accounted for €3.1 million, a lower figure than in 2020, when it was €5.3 million, though not entirely comparable because of a completely different situation mostly occurred because of COVID, although already a significant achievement.
Following the end of its partnership with the Kering Group in 2018, Stella McCartney has refined its natural capital accounting methodologies to incorporate more data from supply chain partners to better reflect its material use, sourcing and manufacturing. This trend continued with the Impact Report 2021 and the latest results also show that greenhouse gases have overtaken land use as the brand's leading environmental impact group, with most impacts driven by raw materials' extraction.
Among the targets the company is setting out to achieve there are Net-Zero carbon in its direct operations and across its entire supply chain (Scopes 1, 2 and 3), by 2040, as per our commitment to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and in line with the latest climate science and the Paris Agreement.
In order to avoid and reduce its emissions, the company is involved in various measures include supporting REDD+ projects around the world, including Southern Cardamom project, conserving 497,000 hectares of critical tropical rainforests and mangroves, as well as carbon offsetting its fashion shows and business travel through verified programs.
Out of its direct operations for 2021, 83.6% of the impact came from the transportation of goods from warehouses to retail spaces, wholesalers and customers, by road, rail and air.
Stella McCartney aims to optimise transportation through specialised management systems and supply chain network engagement. Emissions will be reduced throughout the supply chain via better planning to identify and plan the most energy-efficient routes for land, air and sea transportation.
This will include better planning of product lead times to minimise the requirement for transportation via air due to short delivery timescales, as well as better consolidation of goods around the world – specifically in terms of returns logistics to reduce the number of shipments required, and they will create a preferential transportation policy internally to encourage lower-impact options, both within their supply chain but also within business travel.
A matter of materials
“We carefully select all of our raw materials, from addressing their production systems, through to how they are processed and manufactured into finished products. We prefer certified materials, replacing conventional with certified organic, recycled or responsibly sourced materials, both covering textiles and packaging,” the report explains.
As cotton was Stella McCartney's most-used material in 2021, with 78% of it coming from organic sources that have a lower environmental impact, they are currently investing in regeneratively grown cotton and regeneratively farmed wool projects like, for instance, Nativa and ZQ.
Other top textiles are polyester and polyurethane, forest-friendly viscose and brass.
Stella McCartney will continue investing in circular, nature-based and regenerative solutions, including its SOKTAS regenerative cotton project in Turkey - a project it has led since 2019, in partnership with LVMH.
They continue investment in material innovation and have already onboarded new low-impact materials like Mylo mycelium-based leather alternative – a significantly lower-impact alternative to both animal leather and 100% synthetic alternatives – and will introduce other lower-impact material innovations over the coming years.
A circular approach
Adopting circular business models is central to reducing raw material usage, as well as sourcing materials and producing products more consciously. For these reasons the brand relies upon a series of strategies meant to extend the product lifecycle by focusing on the collection’s design for longevity and, at consumer level, providing repair service in store, as through their Clever Care labelling system providing information about correct care instructions specifically relating to washing, temperature control, drying, ironing and dry cleaning. Along with that, they also encourage resale through a partnership with The RealReal, offering a luxury resale service in the US, facilitating multiple lifecycles for our garments and accessories.
The company is also working to reduce and optimise the use of packaging across operations, such as the removal of pallets and reducing plastic over wraps.
It is collaborating with partners to develop cleverly designed alternatives, using innovative new materials that replace single use packaging and plastics. This ambition is supported by its involvement in the Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize and commitment to Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Plastics Pact - projects that aim to find disruptive, innovative alternative solutions to single-use plastics and packaging.
Socially sustainable counts
The Impact Report 2021 additionally outlines its approach and recent activities supporting the people in its supply chain, ensuring every worker is respected, valued and heard.
Acting together for a global change
Stella McCartney believes it is crucial that a company measures, discloses and takes action to not just reduce, but reverse environmental degradation. Each company's impact results can be useful to inform sourcing decisions, design and innovation research and make change happen.