Our Let’s Get Sustainable series spotlights Klarna retailers who are setting an example for the industry through incredible efforts to protect both people and the planet.
We sat down with Jelle de Jong, Head of Sustainability at Scotch & Soda, to learn more about the brand’s commitment to reducing its environmental impact, consumer demand for more responsible fibers, and the significance behind our joint partnership supporting global reforestation efforts with Trees For All.
What does being a sustainable brand mean to you?
We are challenging ourselves every day to make decisions that reduce our environmental impact and embrace change. We need to take better care of the ecosystems that support us all—it is a priority of ours.
Klarna is excited to partner with Scotch & Soda on our global campaign with Trees for All, supporting global reforestation efforts. Why did you choose to partner with us on this campaign?
Addressing sustainability is at the core of Scotch & Soda’s approach to creating responsible collections. As a brand, we challenge ourselves to improve our practices, sourcing better materials and reducing our environmental impact through monitoring and lowering our water, chemical, and energy use. Klarna is the perfect partner for us with the launch of the Trees for All initiative, as the company shares our values, as shown by the launch of your global GiveOne.com platform earlier this year, pledging to support initiatives protecting the environment.
Through our partnership with Klarna, we want to support the Trees for All foundation in its mission to plant new forests worldwide and restore existing ones. We’ve joined forces to plant trees on behalf of our customers, offering them an easy way to do good and contribute, no matter where they are.
Tell us about Scotch & Soda’s other sustainability efforts.
Our goal is to make a positive contribution to climate protection. Therefore we are committed to reducing our environmental impact, recognizing the growing importance of circularity for the protection of biodiversity—starting with a focus on materials.
Our internal sourcing policies are based on a selection of preferred fibers we consider better for the environment. When a minimum of 50% of these preferred fibers are used within the main material of a garment, we consider this to be a responsible style. We set a goal to have 70% of styles meeting our materials standard by 2024.
For us to do better, we need to understand the actual impact of our value chain. We are currently measuring the environmental impact of our direct and indirect operations across the entire value chain. This should result in an annual environmental profit & loss, to be published for the first time by our financial year 2021-22. According to these results, we will set out a framework with measurable targets to be monitored and achieved within a certain time frame.
What drove the decision to make sustainability such a big part of your mission?
The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries on the planet. And sustainability sits at the heart of what Scotch & Soda does. One of our top priorities is to run our business with greater sensitivity to our planet by making more responsible choices every day that reduce our environmental impact. This is more important than ever—we all have a responsibility to do better.
What is the biggest challenge your business has faced in becoming more sustainable? How did you overcome it?
Becoming a more responsible brand is a challenge we face every day, and it’s a journey that will never finish. For a fashion brand, operating more responsibly starts with understanding your supply chain, knowing under what circumstances your products are made and what their impact is socially and environmentally. We are continuously mapping and tracing the origin of our products down the line. We currently have full transparency across our Tier 1 (garment assembly) and Tier 2 (garment processing) factories and are working hard to achieve full transparency across Tier 3 (fabric processing) and Tier 4 (raw material) factories within the next 12 months.
Shoppers today are more value-driven than ever before. What response do you get from your consumers with regard to your sustainability mission?
This value-driven attitude clearly shows in the shopping behavior of our customers. Over the past few seasons, we have acknowledged a shift with a clear preference for products that are made using more responsible fibers and shoppers have paid attention.
What are your customers demanding more of and how has this changed over the past year?
One important trend in sustainability is the longevity of a product. Keeping products in use for as long as possible will decrease their environmental footprint and reduce the need for new products. We are currently looking into several circular business models facilitating keeping products in use for as long as possible.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to retailers (big or small) interested in tackling sustainability but don’t know where to start?
Start by understanding your supply chain, and by measuring and assessing what your social and environmental impact is today. This will enable you to put a roadmap in place as well as allow you to formulate measurable goals. Another important asset is to build long-term relationships in your supply chain with shared values and objectives.