Tell me more about your water consumption.
We understand how precious water is and are committed to the responsible use of this natural resource. We save huge amounts of water through the Cotton made in Africa programme, as crops are only grown using rainfed cultivation methods. This saves over 2000 litres of water for every kilo of cotton harvested.
There are three further pioneering projects aimed at saving water in the pipeline.
One of these projects is currently in its early stages. We’ve founded a company called CleanDye with our partners in Vietnam. In a revolutionary approach, garments will be dyed using CO₂ instead of water. This saves around 25 litres of water for every single T-shirt and 95% of the CO₂ can be recycled. It also eradicates the need for processing chemicals, making it an eco-friendly hat trick!
And it’s not just the technology that’s brand new. This is the first time we have invested in the supply chain directly. As joint partners of the new factory in Vietnam we have the opportunity to address our high demands and standards directly, and move change forward at a faster pace.
Do you try and limit the impact bonprix has on climate change?
We want to. And we have to.
Climate change is one of the biggest challenges our generation faces. And it affects the whole planet. That’s why doing business sustainably is one of our guiding principles. We all have a responsibility to to minimise the negative impact we have on the environment and the climate. How we transport our goods, manage our business sites and buildings, and use earth’s natural resources all require active measures to combat climate change. We’ve made a good start by slashing our site and transport-related emissions by 43% between 2006 and 2016.
What steps do you take to ensure your products reach me in a “greener” way?
Every year we ship some 30.5 million parcels in Europe alone. A figure that warrants close examination of our packaging processes and materials so we can identify and implement more sustainable solutions. And that’s exactly what we’ve done. Our shipping boxes are made with FSC® certified paper, and we’re also currently examining the use of recyclable mailing bags.
Parcels are shipped from our warehouses to our customers with the help of our logistics partners. Our most important partner in Germany is Hermes, another member of the Otto Group. It’s “WE DO” initiative has slashed transport and site-related CO₂ emissions by almost 30% since 2006. Low-emission vehicles, route optimisation using GPS technology, solar energy and a range of other eco-friendly ideas all contribute to sustainable, green logistics. A cooperation with Mercedes Benz means by 2020 we will be using 1,500 electric vehicles to deliver parcels to our customers. Just one more milestone in Hermes’ proud history of sustainability.
How do goods reach your warehouses?
Truly eco-friendly logistics start long before the shipping of our goods from their manufacturing countries to our warehouses in Europe. And shipping leads to CO₂ emissions that contribute to global warming. Some more than others depending whether goods are transported by air, road, rail or sea. That’s why our climate protection activities focus on shrinking our carbon footprint. We’ve slashed the majority of our CO₂ emissions by shipping more of our products by rail and sea. At present only 16% of our products are flown.
Reduction of CO₂ emissions by switching shipping methods
How do your suppliers pledge to reduce CO₂ emissions?
The CPI2 initiative is one step in the right direction.
The “Carbon Performance Improvement Initiative”, or CP12 for short, is a multi-company initiative geared at cutting suppliers’ emissions and promoting climate protection. The scheme was founded by the Otto Group in 2012 and provides factories with an online tool to evaluate and reduce their energy, water and chemical use. Over 1000 factories belonging to members in 35 different countries now use CPI2 and profit from this knowledge transfer. In 2016 alone, 63 factories that manufacture goods for bonprix followed the recommendations issued. The online tool is constantly updated.
How can you ensure responsible chemical use during the manufacture of your products?
Some steps of the textile production process, such as dying, washing and printing, require chemicals to be used. However, we believe using these chemicals should in no way harm people or the planet.
We work closely with our suppliers to establish chemical management processes that look for alternatives to reduce the impact of chemical use long-term. We believe one of the best ways of achieving this is by helping suppliers help themselves. We do this by offering self assessments (e.g. using the CPI2 chemical module) and comprehensive training in the safe and proper handling of chemicals, responsible disposal and reducing chemical levels in the future. Once finished, every product is examined thoroughly to ensure our strict requirements have been upheld.
As part of the Otto Group we also belong to the “Partnership for Sustainable Textiles and work closely with other members towards banning hazardous chemicals from the textile supply chain, or reducing levels to technically feasible limit values. These chemicals are detailed in the so-called “Manufacturing Restricted Substances List” (MRSL).
Due to the complexity of our supply chain this is a challenging issue we cannot resolve from one day to the next, meaning work is ongoing.