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 are 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 hattrick!
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 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 42% between 2006 and 2017.
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. Our shipping boxes are made with FSC® certified cardboard. We’ve also recently secured a new partner that shares not only our highs expectation when it comes to quality and appearance, but also our belief in using sustainable options. From September 2018, up to 50% of our mailing bags will be made using at least 80% recycled plastic certified by Blue Angel (Blauer Engel, a German certificat).
Parcels are shipped from our warehouses to our customers by our logistics partners. Our most important partner in Germany is Hermes, another member of the Otto Group. Its “WE DO” initiative has slashed transport and site-related CO₂ emissions by almost 40% since 2006. Low-emission vehicles, route optimisation, new buildings in line with the strict criteria set by Germany’s Sustainable Building Council and a range of other eco-friendly ideas all contribute to sustainable, green logistics. As part of a cooperation with Mercedes Benz, 1500 electric vehicles are being rolled out to deliver parcels to our customers. Our aim is to offer zero-emission deliveries in all of Germany’s major cities by 2025.
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 1500 factories belonging to members in 37 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 dyeing, washing and printing, require chemicals to be used. However, the use of chemicals should in no way harm people or the planet. That’s why we want to continually reduce or completely eradicate all chemical substances in our production processes.
This not only includes chemicals used in the final product, be it a jumper or a pair of trousers, but also any chemical substances used during manufacturing. We work with a range of independent partners to carry out sample chemical analysis on our finished products. We’ve even developed a performance-based process that rates our suppliers’ level of compliance with the “Restricted Substances List”, or “RSL” for short. In addition to legal parameters, we also examine other substances that aren’t harmful to our customers, but may impact the environment negatively. If anything is flagged up, we investigate systematically and undertake everything we can to ensure the product is safe. When it comes to choosing partners, we look for close collaborations that safeguard the long-term supply of faultless products.
We also want to ban critical chemicals or reduce them to a technically feasible minimum in our manufacturing processes. Together with other Textile Alliance partners we’ve pledged to adhere to the ZDHC Foundation’s “Manufacturing Restricted Substances List” (MRSL).
The RSL and MRSL set clear benchmarks for our partners. We provide these specifications to all our suppliers and their own upstream partners. There are two more key areas of chemical management that are important to us. One is educating our partners (capacity building) and the other is checking our provisions are upheld (auditing and monitoring in the production process). Find out more by downloading this PDF.
Please find here our chemical management handbook.