BETTER FROM THE VERY BEGINNING OF THE SUPPLY CHAIN
Since we started JACK & JONES, the quality and sustainability of the materials we use and the way we source them has been central to who we are as a brand.
Cotton is the #1 material we use, which makes it our biggest focus. In 2022, we expect to reach our target to source 100% of our cotton from more sustainable alternatives. From sourcing through the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) to upping our use of organic and recycled cotton, we are focusing on initiatives that will keep our sustainability ambitions on track — improving traceability and transparency in the process.
It does not stop there though. Polyester is our second most-used material, so it is also a high priority. By 2025, we will source 50% of our polyester from recycled polyester or other more sustainable sources. Last year alone, we repurposed 14 million plastic bottles into outwear lining for our jackets. We are moving away from virgin polyester and investing in pre and post consumer recycled fibers like REPREVE®.
We respect the welfare of animals, so we follow strict guidelines that cover the sourcing of natural fibers like wool and down. Today, 58% of our wool is recycled and 100% of our down is sourced from farms that uphold animal welfare best practices.
Looking to the not-so-distant future, we are initiating the creation and use of innovative fibers, partnering with material pioneers like LENZING™ and Renewcell to push ourselves — and the industry — forward. With their tech and our expertise, we are able to experiment with trial projects that can be rolled out at scale. It is not going to be easy, but hard work has never stopped us from doing what is right — we just look good doing it.
IT ALL STARTS WITH COTTON
As a denim-focused brand, cotton is the material we work with most so, naturally, we have spent a lot of time working out how to do it better. In 2022, we expect to reach our target to source 100% of our cotton from more sustainable alternatives. We are proud members of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) and very close to sourcing 100% of our cotton (that is not organic or recycled) through them. To help increase our uptake of organic and recycled cotton, we are finding and investing in more certified, traceable sources and stepping up our role in forward-thinking projects like the direct-to-farm initiative. For our efforts, we have been acknowledged by the Sustainable Cotton Ranking as a company that is ‘Leading the Way’ — an achievement that makes us even more determined to keep moving forward.
Here is a snapshot of our current cotton use:
● Our organic cotton supply is third party certified organic cotton. That means the cotton has a positive effect on soil health, helps to protect biodiversity and is free from artificial pesticides and fertilizers and genetic modification And let us not forget the climate impact; switching from conventional cotton to organic cotton reduced our CO2 emissions by 48% in 2020 alone in the raw material stage*.
● We constantly work on increasing our sourcing of organic cotton, traceable organic cotton and recycled cotton. For example from pre-consumer recycled cotton, some of it sourced through an innovative collaboration with CYCLO® and one of our top manufacturers GMS (more on that below). We source traceable cotton through the direct-to-farm initiative. We source also in-conversion cotton through the direct-to-farm project. The transition to get the organic certification takes an average of three years as the soil needs to recover from pesticides and synthetic fertilizers commonly used in conventional cotton farming. In this time period harvested cotton is called in-conversion cotton. By sourcing this cotton we support the farmers to get their organic cotton certification. Next year we also add recycled organic cotton to the mix.
● The rest is sourced through Better Cotton. This means it has been grown in compliance with BCI’s seven principles, including minimizing the harmful impact of crop protection practices, caring for the health of the soil and the promotion of decent work. We have been members of BCI since 2012 and, as we use a lot of cotton, the fact we expect to hit our target of sourcing 100% Better cotton (for any that is non-organic and non-recycled) has a pretty big impact. Better Cotton is sourced through a mass balance system and is not physically traceable to end products. Nonetheless, when you consider Better Cotton sourcing across the BESTSELLER group, you are looking at an estimated 15.9 billion liters of water saved, 10,300 kilograms of pesticides avoided and 7.3 million EUR of additional farmer profitability — just in 2020.** More than that, as members of the Better Cotton Growth and Innovation Fund, we invest in projects that support and train local farmers to help increase the volume of Better Cotton overall.
Right now, we are focused on upping our use of organic cotton, with a goal to source at least 30% organic cotton by 2025. However, currently less than 1% of cotton available on the market is organic, and tracing and verifying cotton’s organic credentials can be challenging. That is why we are proud to play a leading role in an initiative run by our parent company BESTSELLER called direct-to-farm. The project is helping us secure a supply of organic cotton while giving us traceability right down to the farm where the cotton was grown and the farmer who grew it. Together with our suppliers, we are working to improve the organic cotton industry as a whole, building a model that is both scalable and transparent to ensure the environment is protected, farmers get a fair wage and profits do not fall into the wrong hands.
Despite their name, our ‘leftover cotton scraps’ are not being left behind. Together with CYCLO® and one of our top manufacturers GMS, we have developed a closed-loop recycling system to turn any excess fabric into recycled cotton yarn. In 2022 we will be launching eight styles incorporating this fiber and hope to roll out more in the following months. You can learn more about that project here.
Bestseller's efforts to source our cotton more sustainably have been recognized by industry bodies like the Sustainable Cotton Ranking (SCR), organizations that analyzes the policies, uptake of sustainable cotton and level of transparency. They have given our parent company BESTSELLER ‘Leading the Way’ status for improvements made between 2017-2020 and we are one of 11 companies who have been awarded SCR’s top classification ranking. Textile Exchange has also given our cotton sourcing strategy a ‘Leading’ score of 4 in its 2020 Material Change Index. While we are not in it for the praise, it is nice to know we are on the right track.
*Based on Higg 3.1.1. Data at Higg.org. Percentage reductions apply to the raw material phase.
** Farmers experience profit increases for a variety of reasons, most commonly due to increased yields and/or optimised use of inputs (such as irrigation water, pesticides or synthetic fertiliser)
TURNING PLASTIC BOTTLES INTO POLYESTER
At JACK & JONES, we have got a solid plan to source 50% of our polyester from recycled polyester or other more sustainable alternatives by 2025. Because why use new materials when we can make use of what is already there? We are partnering with our suppliers to incorporate recycled polyester made from pre and post consumer plastic into our clothes and investing in some seriously cool next-generation approaches too.
Polyester is lightweight, hard-to-crease and long-lasting. But its creation and use comes with challenges — it is made from petroleum and sheds microplastics. One solution we are exploring and investing in is the use of recycled polyester made from pre and post consumer plastic — like water bottles. This saves plastic waste from landfills, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and avoids the use of non-renewable resources.
Here are some of our recent projects that incorporate recycled polyester:
● In 2020, we partnered with suppliers BC-TEX and Hairun to turn 14 million plastic bottles into recycled polyester outerwear lining for our jackets. This allowed us to save the equivalent of 76% CO2 emissions compared to using virgin polyester*.
● Our Recycled Puffer Jacket and Vest are made entirely from recycled polyester made from plastic bottles, in partnership with mills BC-TEX, Hairun and Global Thai. From the main fabric and padding to the trims and even the thread — everything apart from the metal puller on the zipper (but that is something we are working on). You can read more about these products here.
● We also use REPREVE® recycled polyester, made from plastic bottles that are sorted, melted and spun into a high-performance thread, in some of our best-selling jeans.
Traceability is also important, which is why the recycled polyester we use is third party certified.
*Based on Higg 3.1.1. Data at Higg.org. Percentage reductions pertain to the raw material phase.
RESPECTING ANIMAL WELFARE
Our commitment to responsible sourcing includes animal-based fibers like wool, down and leather, which make up less than 1% of the materials we use every year. We respect our two and four-legged friends and take every step to make sure they are treated right by following the strict Animal Welfare policy set by our parent company BESTSELLER. In addition to being proud members of the Fur Free Alliance, we are taking additional action within our wool and down supply chains.
About 58% of the wool we use is recycled. We have also banned wool from sheep exposed to a painful process called mulesing. By 2025, 100% of our wool will either be recycled or organic.
Many of our puffer jackets use down feathers from ducks and geese to keep you warm. We have committed to sourcing 100% of our down and feathers more responsibly, to ensure that the animals are treated humanely and do not experience unnecessary harm. We get our down from farms that provide enough space for ducks and geese to run around and do not engage in inhumane practices like force-feeding or live-plucking.
INNOVATING TOWARD THE NEXT GENERATION OF MATERIALS
We have made a pretty good start on our Better Materials journey, but pretty good does not cut it. Where we want to go is next level, so we are investing in the next generation of material pioneers. Working closely with the Fashion FWD Lab, we have partnered with companies at the forefront of carbon-neutral and biodegradable material innovation like LENZING™,Cradle to Cradle Certified® and Renewcell. From initial experiments to market-ready products, we are playing a lead role in the development of circular fibers, better production methods, new business models and smarter ways of manufacturing.
Here are some of the innovations we have introduced so far:
● Carbon-Zero TENCEL™. In 2021, we launched jeans made with LENZING™’s Carbon-Zero TENCEL™, which is certified CarbonNeutral® thanks to a combination of high-tech, low energy manufacturing methods and carbon offsets. You can learn more about this project here. We also use TENCEL™ Lyocell and Modal, both of which are biodegradable, use less water, less dyes and are made from the wood pulp of sustainably managed forests.
● Recycled elastane. For some of our styles in our Low Impact Denim range, we use recycled elastane — the material that gives our jeans their bend and flex — from three sources: ROICA™ (the world’s first gold-level Cradle to Cradle Certified® yarn), LYCRA® T400® EcoMade (made from a mix of recycled plastic and plant-based materials) and creora® regen (the first 100% recycled elastane made from reclaimed waste).
● Cradle to Cradle Certified®. We have also developed jeans that are gold-level Cradle to Cradle Certified®. That means they are 1) designed to be recycled and 2) top-scorers across assessment categories including material health, material reuse, water stewardship, social fairness and renewable energy and carbon management. Get the low-down on this initiative, which launches in stores in 2022, here.
With a lot of projects in progress, we know some will be successful and some will not. But that is part of the deal, right? Here are some of the innovations we are still experimenting with:
● Circulose® by Renewcell. We have joined up with other BESTSELLER brands to partner with Swedish innovator Renewcell on Circulose® — a natural biodegradable cellulose fiber made from 100% discarded cotton textile waste.
● Circular Systems. Together with regenerative material scientists Circular Systems, we are exploring ways to incorporate their ‘waste-to-fiber’ technology into our products. Texloop™ comes from a closed-loop system that recycles pre and post consumer waste into a new fiber that has the same quality as the virgin material. We are also trialing their Agraloop BIOFIBRE™ technology, a natural fiber that is made from crops like oilseed hemp and food leftovers like banana skins and pineapple leafs. More info coming soon.
In our work toward A/BETTER WORLD, we are going to keep trying and failing and trying again in our push to make our materials the best they can be — glad to have you along for the ride.
“JACK & JONES is a part of several important pilots running in BESTSELLER’s Fashion FWD Lab. With JACK & JONES we move from idea to reality by working actively with testing and integrating new innovative solutions. They make sure that we can implement great innovations into our sourcing structure and ultimately into products that consumers can buy.” - Camilla Skjønning Jørgensen, Materials & Innovation Manager, BESTSELLER SUSTAINABILITY