In 2017 KnowledgeCotton Apparel launched its strategy to become carbon neutral. Now the Danish company has announced to have its mission fulfilled being a carbon neutral certified company. We asked Mette Mørup, head of sustainability at KnowledgeCotton Apparel, about the process.
What does it mean for a fashion company to be ”carbon neutral”?
It means that we have looked through all our actions inside the company–from how our employees get to work to how we ship out goods, our electricity consumption and how we travel. It is a very detailed process which includes our actions as a company and the footprint we make. Becoming aware of the figures that represent our impact, we can work actively to improve them. But we also know that we will always have a certain footprint, and to become carbon neutral we offset it through a rainforest program in Borneo.
KnowledgeCotton Apparel is now declared a ”carbon neutral certified” company. What is that all about?
Taking control over your data is key. We have worked with an English company called Natural Capital Partners in the process and their experts have guided us through each step in the controlled data collection process. Based on our data, we have taken the necessary means to become carbon neutral.
How long did it take for KnowledgeCotton Apparel to become carbon neutral (from the decision to reaching the goal)?
It took us about 1.5 years. Most of the time consisted of research on how to take on the task in the best possible way. Having identified the process we proceeded to gather all the necessary data and finally ensuring that the required actions were implemented in organization.
What were the main obstacles?
The biggest challenge was that some of our partner companies did not have valid data that we could use. I think, for me personally, that it was a surprise to find out that in many companies they had never been asked these questions before and didn’t have an approach to these questions. I believe that our questions have made some companies think about their future and what actions they need to take.
What was your role in the whole process?
I was responsible for running the process.
How would you advise other companies that want to follow your example? What do they need to consider when changing their processes?
They have to know that when doing this it means that it will be implemented into all actions in the company. In the daily actions in a company like ours, business travel has the greatest direct impact. But it also means it has to be considered in all decisions that are made. When we include a new partner we need to check out this side of them as well, and we need to know that we can get access to all the needed data. So it is really a big decision that everyone in the company has to fully understand and comply to.
Having reached this goal, what are the next steps for KnowledgeCotton Apparel in terms of sustainable production?
We are working hard to implement green energy into our entire supply chain as well. I believe this will prove a challenge to us, but the journey has already started and we are quite optimistic about the process.