SUSTAINABIILTY

Measuring Our
Carbon Footprint

By Reed Nelson

We’ve explored the impact that legislation can have on making the fashion industry a less harmful force on the planet, and a more compassionate place for workers. But we can’t wait on legislative solutions alone. So, while we still believe legislation is the best way to create the kind of accountability structure that can spark industry-wide change (it is), we also are one of a growing group of brands seeking out these structures on their own, making promises to do the work ourselves, finding ways to keep those promises and trying to do better every day.

That’s where Climate Neutral comes in. Climate Neutral’s mission is to eliminate carbon emissions by making climate neutrality something that all businesses work toward, and for the past year, we’ve been working so hard to earn our Climate Neutral Certification — diligently measuring our carbon emissions, working to offset our footprint by investing in climate change solutions, and crafting a plan to reduce our emissions both this year and beyond. Well, we did it. We are officially Climate Neutral Certified!

SUSTAINABILITY

Measuring Our

Carbon Footprint

By Reed Nelson

 

We’ve explored the impact that legislation can have on making the fashion industry a less harmful force on the planet, and a more compassionate place for workers. But we can’t wait on legislative solutions alone. So, while we still believe legislation is the best way to create the kind of accountability structure that can spark industry-wide change (it is), we also are one of a growing group of brands seeking out these structures on their own, making promises to do the work ourselves, finding ways to keep those promises and trying to do better every day.

That’s where Climate Neutral comes in. Climate Neutral’s mission is to eliminate carbon emissions by making climate neutrality something that all businesses work toward, and for the past year, we’ve been working so hard to earn our Climate Neutral Certification — diligently measuring our carbon emissions, working to offset our footprint by investing in climate change solutions, and crafting a plan to reduce our emissions both this year and beyond. Well, we did it. We are officially Climate Neutral Certified!

It would be pretty much impossible to be more proud, and it wasn’t light work. In order to earn the certification, we needed to measure the greenhouse gas emissions we created when we make and deliver our goods and services, compensate for our entire footprint and cut our emissions by identifying and reporting on specific reduction actions and future targets. In other words, we needed to Measure, Offset, and Reduce our carbon footprint. And though it's not a light lift, we knew that if we could do it, other brands could start curbing their carbon emissions too. And after completing the certification, we can absolutely say it was worth it. Not only did we offset our emissions entirely, but we’re also using some incredible carbon credits, verified by the most reputable carbon registries in the world.

For those wondering why Now is the right time to go Climate Neutral, know this: the right time was yesterday. Or maybe a decade ago. Or maybe even longer, but that’s not the point. (It is, but it can’t be.) The point is that we all must do our best now if we have any chance of hitting the planet-saving goals of 2050. Globally, we’re already emitting almost 60 billion tonnes of greenhouse gasses every year, emissions that cause climate change and do damage to the planet that could become irreparable without intervention. Even worse, the clothing industry is responsible for anywhere between 2 and 10%* of these emissions, due to the resources required to make and deliver everything. But if we can all reach those emissions-cutting targets, we can avoid many of the devastating effects climate change will bring.

It would be pretty much impossible to be more proud, and it wasn’t light work. In order to earn the certification, we needed to measure the greenhouse gas emissions we created when we make and deliver our goods and services, compensate for our entire footprint and cut our emissions by identifying and reporting on specific reduction actions and future targets. In other words, we needed to Measure, Offset, and Reduce our carbon footprint. And though it's not a light lift, we knew that if we could do it, other brands could start curbing their carbon emissions too. And after completing the certification, we can absolutely say it was worth it. Not only did we offset our emissions entirely, but we’re also using some incredible carbon credits, verified by the most reputable carbon registries in the world.

For those wondering why Now is the right time to go Climate Neutral, know this: the right time was yesterday. Or maybe a decade ago. Or maybe even longer, but that’s not the point. (It is, but it can’t be.) The point is that we all must do our best now if we have any chance of hitting the planet-saving goals of 2050. Globally, we’re already emitting almost 60 billion tonnes of greenhouse gasses every year, emissions that cause climate change and do damage to the planet that could become irreparable without intervention. Even worse, the clothing industry is responsible for anywhere between 2 and 10%* of these emissions, due to the resources required to make and deliver everything. But if we can all reach those emissions-cutting targets, we can avoid many of the devastating effects climate change will bring.

That’s because scientifically-vetted solutions to climate change do exist, and they are accessible to brands across the world. As our Vice President of Sustainability, Dana Davis, puts it, “Climate Neutral once felt like a long stretch for us but here we are. After years we now have data to help better inform our efforts to reduce our impact. This was a company-wide effort and would not have come together without collaboration. Each department at Mara Hoffman is dedicated to our sustainability efforts and it's in this spirit I am confident we will hit our annual reduction plans.”

In our case, our 2021 carbon footprint was measured at 4158 tonnes. To arrive at this number, we looked at all of the emissions created from making and delivering our products/services, including our supply chain emissions, employee commuting, business travel, and utility bills.

To help offset these emissions, we purchased two separate verified carbon credits, supporting the Guyuan Wuhuaping 49.5 MW Wind Power Project and the Agrocortex Redd Project. The Guyuan Wuhuaping 49.5 MW Wind Power Project compris es 33 sets of wind turbines, each with a capacity of 1,500 kW. The electricity generated by the Project is delivered to North China and, as a renewable energy source, reduces emissions by avoiding the types of CO2 emissions from traditional thermal power plants found in the region. The Agrocortex Redd Project was started to stop unplanned deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest, using private land to create a barrier against the advancement of deforestation.

And to complete our certification, we created Reduction Action Plans to lower our emissions over the next 24 months, focusing on two areas: upstream air freight shipping — using air freight to ship, in other words — and pushing our fiber-sourcing efforts when it comes to recycled materials and in our climate beneficial programs.

Looking forward, we will continue to dutifully measure our carbon footprint, doing everything we can to get accurate data in order to make more informed, sustainable decisions about how we operate the company. We also will continue to look for offsetting projects that are inline with our values, focusing on areas where we think we can have a great impact.

That’s because scientifically-vetted solutions to climate change do exist, and they are accessible to brands across the world. As our Vice President of Sustainability, Dana Davis, puts it, “Climate Neutral once felt like a long stretch for us but here we are. After years we now have data to help better inform our efforts to reduce our impact. This was a company-wide effort and would not have come together without collaboration. Each department at Mara Hoffman is dedicated to our sustainability efforts and it's in this spirit I am confident we will hit our annual reduction plans.”

In our case, our 2021 carbon footprint was measured at 4158 tonnes. To arrive at this number, we looked at all of the emissions created from making and delivering our products/services, including our supply chain emissions, employee commuting, business travel, and utility bills.

To help offset these emissions, we purchased two separate verified carbon credits, supporting the Guyuan Wuhuaping 49.5 MW Wind Power Project and the Agrocortex Redd Project. The Guyuan Wuhuaping 49.5 MW Wind Power Project compris es 33 sets of wind turbines, each with a capacity of 1,500 kW. The electricity generated by the Project is delivered to North China and, as a renewable energy source, reduces emissions by avoiding the types of CO2 emissions from traditional thermal power plants found in the region. The Agrocortex Redd Project was started to stop unplanned deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest, using private land to create a barrier against the advancement of deforestation.

And to complete our certification, we created Reduction Action Plans to lower our emissions over the next 24 months, focusing on two areas: upstream air freight shipping — using air freight to ship, in other words — and pushing our fiber-sourcing efforts when it comes to recycled materials and in our climate beneficial programs.

Looking forward, we will continue to dutifully measure our carbon footprint, doing everything we can to get accurate data in order to make more informed, sustainable decisions about how we operate the company. We also will continue to look for offsetting projects that are inline with our values, focusing on areas where we think we can have a great impact.

Finally, we do understand that offsetting is not a perfect solution to curbing carbon emissions, and that the most impactful, effective way to do that is simple: by just reducing emissions, at the source. But we also, unfortunately, can’t manage the entire supply chain, which means that we can absolutely reduce our energy consumption and emissions during the steps that we do. So that’s where we do think that offsets can come in, especially when we can apply them to make a difference in areas out of our control.

 

Becoming climate neutral isn’t easy, but it’s so important. Not only do we believe that our customers deserve transparency and accountability on our end, we also think that other brands could see what we’re doing and become inspired to take action on their own.

 

*According to the UN, World Resources Institute and the Apparel Impact Institute. And for those noting that this is a wide range, that is absolutely true and also part of the problem — one that becoming Climate Neutral hopes to address. In order to measure progress, we need to establish a baseline, and that requires accurate data. Wide ranges are anything but accurate, and undercut the harm being caused.

Finally, we do understand that offsetting is not a perfect solution to curbing carbon emissions, and that the most impactful, effective way to do that is simple: by just reducing emissions, at the source. But we also, unfortunately, can’t manage the entire supply chain, which means that we can absolutely reduce our energy consumption and emissions during the steps that we do. So that’s where we do think that offsets can come in, especially when we can apply them to make a difference in areas out of our control.

 

Becoming climate neutral isn’t easy, but it’s so important. Not only do we believe that our customers deserve transparency and accountability on our end, we also think that other brands could see what we’re doing and become inspired to take action on their own.

 

*According to the UN, World Resources Institute and the Apparel Impact Institute. And for those noting that this is a wide range, that is absolutely true and also part of the problem — one that becoming Climate Neutral hopes to address. In order to measure progress, we need to establish a baseline, and that requires accurate data. Wide ranges are anything but accurate, and undercut the harm being caused.