Our North Star commits us to becoming climate positive where we will remove more greenhouse gases (GHG) than we emit. Our approach is to track and reduce GHG emissions and progress towards our goals that have been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), the leading corporate collaboration organisation for climate change action. SBTi is focused on helping companies reduce their carbon emissions in line with the Paris Agreement.
Science-based targets (SBTs) are a set of goals developed by a business to provide it with a clear route to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A company’s targets can only be validated if they are in line with the SBTi's science-based criteria, which are based on the latest climate science and the goals of the Paris Agreement. BESTSELLER’s SBTs have been approved as aligned with a 1.5°C pathway, the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement.
According to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol – the most widely used international accounting tool – greenhouse gas emissions are categorised into three groups or Scopes.
Scope 1 covers direct emissions from owned or controlled sources.
Scope 2 covers indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heating and cooling consumed by the reporting company.
Scope 3 includes all other indirect emissions that occur in a company’s value chain.
Our SBTs are absolute targets and measured against a baseline year of 2018. Calculations show that BESTSELLER’s total climate footprint across all scopes reached approximately 2 million tonnes CO2e in base year 2018. We want to prioritise our efforts within scope 3 where we, by far, have our largest indirect footprint.
This is why our second target focuses exclusively on purchased goods and services, and upstream and downstream transportation. Consumer use impacts such as washing, drying and disposal of garments have been excluded in accordance with SBTi guidance. This means BESTSELLER’s adjusted baseline, which will define our progress, is 1.5 million tonnes CO2e.
To achieve our targets, we must decouple our growth from increasing GHG emissions.
Scope 1 & 2
By 2030, BESTSELLER commits to reducing absolute scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 50 percent from a 2018 base year.
By 2030, BESTSELLER commits to reducing absolute scope 3 GHG emissions from purchased goods and services, and upstream and downstream transportation by 30 percent from a 2018 base year.
Scope 1 & 2 include electricity use, heating and cooling of stores, offices and warehouses and use of BESTSELLER vehicles.
Since launching Fashion FWD, BESTSELLER has made significant inroads in terms of its direct GHG emissions in scope 1 and 2.
Amongst them is our commitment to renewable electricity, as well as overall energy reduction. While our direct carbon footprint only represents around five percent of BESTSELLER’s total 2018 baseline GHG emissions, our owned and operated buildings are symbolically significant due to their visibility.
BESTSELLER’s parent company, HEARTLAND, has established a 207 megawatt (MW) solar power plant in Denmark and, through a power purchase agreement (PPA), we are sourcing renewable electricity to cover our use in the European Union and European Economic Area in line with the RE100 market boundary criteria.
2021 GHG emissions
With powering our owned and operated buildings globally by 100 percent renewable electricity, we achieved our first SBT target in late 2021. In fact, renewable energy has been the primary driver for reaching an 82 percent GHG drop in scope 1 and 2.
Additionally, we will further reduce the climate impact of our own operations by continuing to implement the Stores FWD, Office FWD, and Logistic Location FWD programmes - our programmes to reduce electricity consumption in our stores, offices and logistic locations. Our brands have taken a strong lead in accelerating these initiatives in all our owned and operated stores.
Scope 3 includes raw material, yarn and fabric production, garment manufacturing, transport, packaging, use of sold product and the product’s end-of-life – the extended value chain.
Whilst already on its way to reduce emissions in scope 1 and 2 through renewable electricity and reduction in energy consumptions, BESTSELLER’s scope 1 and 2 only constitute five percent of the company’s total GHG emissions – exposing the great task at hand for scope 3.
The majority of our climate impact is coming from the production of raw materials and the processes required to turn them into yarn, fabric and garments. These processes account for over 50 percent of our total impact in scope 3.
2021 GHG emissions
In 2021 we saw an increase of nine percent in our scope 3 emissions compared to our baseline. This is mainly due to the growth of our business. 2021 has been a financially strong year and we have seen an increase on number of products sold. This means that material uptake has increased and a higher amount of materials have been being processed, produced into garments and transported to the warehouses. An increase in sold garments also results in a higher impact in the use phase and end-of-use impacts.
Although we see an increase of our total GHG emissions by nine percent, we at the same time see a decrease in GHG emissions per product and a decrease in GHG emissions per earnings. This shows that steps are taken to decouple GHG emissions from our financial growth and that the efforts to reduce our emissions had a significant impact even though our total GHG emissions have increased.
In 2021, we have seen significant reductions in transport related emissions. We signed a global agreement with Maersk to use their carbon-neutral biofuel, Maersk ECO Delivery, for the vast majority of our sea freight. Maersk ECO Delivery is manufactured from hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), a sustainable biomass. It is certified as a sustainable fuel by the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) body. We are currently focusing on solutions with lower impact (e.g. rail and sea) as air freight, according to DEFRA, produces over 60 times the amount of CO2e compared to sea freight and over 35 times compared to rail transport.
Our use of air freight is continuing a downward trend over the past four years. This reduction in the use of air freight as well as the use of biofuel for our sea freight, was a key factor in a drop of our overall transport emissions. Our e-commerce operations are a relatively small but growing contribution to our GHG emissions, and an important segment to influence emission reductions. To reduce our GHG emissions, we focus on shifting to more alternative fuels. One of our logistic partners for example, has been using biodiesel trucks powered by HVO to deliver from our e-commerce logistics facility in Poland to Belgium and The Netherlands.
We are continuing our efforts to transition to more certified and/or branded materials, which will reduce our climate impact. This includes our use of innovative materials, which are helping reframe what is possible in the fashion industry. For example, VERO MODA, JACK & JONES, SELECTED, OBJECT and MAMALICIOUS have been exploring and testing the capabilities of Lenzing’s carbon-zero TENCEL™ fibres, and we began to see styles featuring this new material in stores.
To achieve our goal of placing 75 percent of product orders with suppliers highly rated in our Sustainability Evaluation by 2025 and – by extension – reduce our scope 3 emissions, we are working with our supply chain partners to identify and track all sources of energy, so we can create a verifiable record of energy use, as well as develop action plans to instigate meaningful change.
In that regards BESTSELLER launched a programme called FWD>ENV in Bangladesh, which will equip key personnel at our tier 1 suppliers’ factories with the skills and confidence to improve their facilities’ environmental performance.
We estimate that we could reduce our emissions by 50 percent in tier 1, 2 and 3 by reducing the number of suppliers that we use, and work with those with a strong environmental record.
We’re also exploring opportunities to support tier 1 suppliers in sourcing countries to install onsite solar power, providing renewable energy directly to their production facilities.