Here at Ted, we’re committed to producing beautiful clothing whilst reducing our environmental impact. High on the list of Ted’s priorities is finding ways to reduce our carbon, water and waste footprint. Fibre and fabric selection and the way we use materials has a huge role to play. Accordingly, we’ve set some ambitious targets to set us on the path towards continuous improvement in the years to come.
Amongst the ambitious targets set for the years ahead, Ted Baker pledges to ensure 100% of our collections will be made from more sustainable materials by 2030. But what do we mean by more sustainable? Well that’s a tricky one, but we’re glad you asked. Given the often wasteful and resource-intensive nature of the fashion industry, being ‘totally sustainable’ is not yet possible.
Instead, we use the term more sustainable. This means finding a fibre or material which has a reduced environmental impact and using it to replace a more conventional material or process. In choosing alternative materials and processes, Ted has set out to use less water, less energy and fewer chemicals and resources. One important thing to note is that all sustainability claims need to be backed up with certification. This is currently the only way to prove something is truly more sustainable.
To reach our target, we’ve identified the materials we hope to replace with more sustainable alternatives. This is an ongoing discussion, with these commitments and targets being helped along by life cycle-assessment data and reports.
Some of Ted’s most used materials include cotton, wool, polyester, leather and regenerated cellulosics – a fancy name for fibres like viscose and lyocell. To meet our targets, we’ve set our sights on sourcing leather from Leather Working Group (LWG) certified tanneries and switching our cotton to organic, recycled or Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) cotton. We also pledge to source recycled polyester as well as organic, recycled or responsible wool. But what does it all mean? The following section should help with that.
Better Cotton Initiative (BCI)
The aim of BCI is to make global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment and better for the future of the cotton industry. Through education and training, farmers learn more about sustainable production methods, helping them to reduce their environmental impact, use less water and fewer harmful pesticides, and increase their yields and profits.
Better Cotton is not physically traceable to the end product. However, BCI Farmers benefit from the demand for Better Cotton in equivalent volumes to those we source.
Unlike conventional cotton, the organic cotton farming process does not use synthetic pesticides, insecticides or fertilisers. The crops are predominantly rain fed too, which means the negative environmental impacts of growing cotton are minimised.
Recycled cotton can either be sourced from pre-consumer or post-consumer textile waste. By using recycled cotton, we’re able to eliminate the farming, harvesting and ginning processes. In turn, this helps to reduce the use of raw materials, water, chemicals and energy.
Alternatives to Conventional Regenerated Cellulosics (Viscose & Lyocell)
Conventional viscose and lyocell are made with wood pulp, which has been linked to deforestation. The pulp is treated with solvents and therefore has associations with chemical pollution. By choosing alternative fibres sourced from sustainably managed forests (e.g. FSC certified) and processed in more sustainable way, these impacts can be reduced and eliminated.
Recycled Polyester and Polyamide (Nylon)
Virgin polyester and polyamide are made from crude oil. Large amounts of energy and water are required to convert it into a fibre. By using recycled alternatives, the raw materials and energy needed to produce the fibre are reduced.
Leather Working Group (LWG) Tanneries
LWG is a multi-stakeholder group working towards promoting more sustainable practices within the leather industry. This involves working with tanneries to improve their chemical usage, water treatment and the traceability of hides they use. Ted aims to only source leather from LWG certified tanneries by 2025.
Wool can be certified as organic if the sheep are farmed in humane conditions and not exposed to synthetic chemicals. With organic wool, the process of turning fleece into yarn uses fewer chemicals than conventional wool, meaning the overall environmental impact is decreased.
Wool production requires land for grazing sheep, as well as energy, water and chemicals to convert the wool into a finished and useable fibre. By using pre-consumer or post-consumer wool waste, we can eliminate these processes and minimise the environmental impact along the way.
Some of Ted’s targets for the next few years include making sure:
• 100% of our cotton is organic, recycled or BCI Cotton by 2024.
• 100% of our leather is to come from LWG or equivalent certified tanneries by 2025.
• 100% of our regenerated cellulosics will come from FSC or PEFC Certified forests, with a further 50% produced through sustainable production methods by 2025.
As the industry evolves, we will continuously review these targets to make sure they stay as ambitious as can be.
To keep things on track, Ted’s signed up to be a member of SCAP, BCI and the Textile Exchange. Since 2012, Ted has been a signatory of the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) and is part of an industry-wide initiative to bring about positive change within the sector. Together, with over seventy UK based fashion brands, Ted is working to reduce the carbon, water and waste footprint of clothing sold in the UK. The most significant impact we can make on our footprint, as outlined above, is through choosing more sustainable fibres.
Read about the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan here
Ted knows that the responsibility doesn’t stop with the raw materials that make our products; it extends into the manufacturing processes too. We keep a close eye on how our products are processed, which includes things like dying, printing, tanning and washing. Rethinking our manufacturing processes can also help reduce our carbon, water and chemical impact.
One way we do this is by using digital printing instead of other methods of printing. Digital printing creates beautifully vivid images and use less water and ink to do so.
Use and Durability: Taking Care of Ted
Fashion, even high-end fashion, has an increasingly short shelf-life these days. With more seasons than ever before, there’s a growing pressure to keep up with the latest trends and collections. But Ted’s wares are built to last.
We believe your clothes should be enjoyed for as long as possible. Which is why Ted’s put together a product care toolkit to help prolong the lifespan of your wardrobe. This will help protect valuable resources and even save you some money along the way.
We call it ‘Taking Care of Ted, and you can read it here