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UK brands working for sustainable future with Walpole

Feb '20
Pic: Walpole/Burberry
Pic: Walpole/Burberry
Fourty brands have signed up for the Walpole British Luxury Sustainability Manifesto 2020—a commitment in helping British luxury sector become a global sustainability leader. All the brands supporting the manifesto have committed to implement changes within their business that are driven towards a more sustainable future for the industry.

To build a sustainable ecosystem, the manifesto focuses on four key pillars—to lead the transition towards a circular economy, safeguard the environment and natural resources, guide partners and suppliers towards sustainable practices, and advocate equal and respectful working conditions.

British fashion label Burberry is a charter signatory to UK luxury lobby Walpole's Sustainability Manifesto to ensure sustainable practices throughout the organisation in response to consumer expectations. The company's VP-Sustainability Pam Batty said: “The luxury industry needs to collaborate and enact policies and programmes at scale to protect the environment, implement more sustainable practices and support workers in its supply chains. While there is no quick fix, we are hugely supportive of Walpole’s British Luxury Sustainability Manifesto which will bring together established and emerging UK brands to implement systemic change and build a more sustainable future for our industry.”

Explaining the rationale behind signing the manifesto, Kate Halfpenny, founder and designer, Halfpenny London, told Fibre2Fashion: "We were keen to join Walpole's sustainability manifesto because it's a topic which has been at the forefront of our minds for some time. Sustainability is incredibly important to us as a brand and I think businesses can make a big difference by considering the day-to-day impact of their decisions. Our conscious choices are evident in the fact that we’ve changed all our packaging to recyclable or eco-friendly materials, including the inks we use.  We’re designing with a conscience and try to minimise waste and repurpose off cuts of fabrics to create new garments or embellishments and, of course, one of the big things is that we make our bridalwear in England instead of shipping it in from overseas. Also, we already have the benefit that every bridal gown is made to order so there's no surplus stock. There is always more you can do but we're committed to pursuing a more sustainable future."

Addressing the 360-degree sustainability issue, Simon Cotton, chief executive, Johnston of Elgin said, “The concept of 'making things the right way' has been at the heart of our business for two hundred years and long before sustainability became a commonly used term. Weaving and knitting all our products in our mills means that we have total control of what goes into our products, the chemicals we use, the wages we pay, and the way we optimise the use of scarce raw materials. We have extended this to what we call 360-degree sustainability where we look at every aspect of the footprint which our products create, from the goats and sheep who produce our natural fibres through to what happens to our products at the end of their life. 

“We recognise that being truly sustainable requires continual effort and progress and the Walpole Sustainability Manifesto allows us to share best practice with other companies who share our values even when their businesses may be very different. British luxury brands, in particular, with their focus on craftsmanship, authenticity and provenance, are extremely well placed to lead the way in addressing the massive challenges we face as a planet. We are extremely pleased to be part of a group of companies which will allow us to share, encourage, inform and help each other on this journey.”

“At Oliver Burns we believe that luxury design should go beyond the aesthetic, reflecting deeper values and meaning. ‘Thoughtful Luxury’ goes beyond sustainability as a concept – it permeates everything we do and informs how we act as a brand; from the people we work with, to our environment and the wider society. From concept to completion, we ensure each project has been thoughtfully designed, thoughtfully built and thoughtfully finished. Therefore, we strongly believe our brand values align with the Walpole British Luxury Sustainability Manifesto and as such we have pledged our support to help the British luxury sector become a world leader in sustainability,” said Sharon Lillywhite, founding partner, Oliver Burns.

Talking about how Oliver Burns contributes towards the cause of sustainability, Lillywhite said: “Designing with longevity in mind is part of the bigger picture that needs to be considered when discussing sustainability. Quality and durability is key and therefore materials must be specified with this delicate balance in mind. Where possible, we responsibly source materials, manufactured from start to finish with processes that have low impacts on the environment and are produced in a responsible way. We also challenge and work with our suppliers to support circularity initiatives to extend the life of the products we design. By working with artisans such as Aiveen Daly, we can upcycle vintage pieces, giving it a new lease of life and delivering something entirely bespoke and unique to our clients. We choose to work with responsible, forward-thinking brands that understand the impact of the materials and products they supply and look to provide ethical alternatives that don’t compromise on quality or style.”

Vivien Sheriff, founder of her namesake British luxury millinery brand, said, "As a responsible business owner it is only right that we ensure we examine and regularly review our sustainability credentials in every area of our business. We are therefore proud to support the Walpole British Luxury Sustainability Manifesto which offers a shared framework to help our industry work in a cohesive partnership to achieve best practice.
"One of our first steps has been to include the entire Vivien Sheriff team in our sustainability audit, working together to brainstorm ideas and examine our entire supply chain. Our intention as a result of this audit is to draw up a long term strategy, appoint an internal sustainability officer and also to introduce some clear directives and changes that will help to improve our business practices."

The 40 brands that have pledged for a sustainable future are Harrods, Burberry, Dunhill, Johnstons of Elgin, Mulberry, The Savoy, Aiveen Daly, Asprey, Boodles, Cadogan Estate, Carrier, Chapel Down, Chivas Brothers, Church’s, Cookson Adventures, De Le Cuona, Dugdale Bros & Co, Elegantes, Freight Brokers, Fortnum & Mason, Halfpenny London, Henry Poole, House of Hackney, IDP Packaging, James Cropper, Jing Tea, Lisa Redman, Lock & Co., Miller Harris, Oliver Burns, Ormonde Jayne, Pureprint, Rachel Vosper, Rapport London, Stephen Einhorn, Turnbull & Asser, Trunk Clothiers, Vivien Sheriff, Votary, Winch Design.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (WE-DD)

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