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Stella McCartney shares latest environmental impact report

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Image: Stella McCartney; Mylo mushroom leather bag developed with Bolt Threads

Stella McCartney has revealed that its total valued impact on nature in 2021 was estimated at 3.1 million euros, mainly from greenhouse gas emissions, which counts for 72 percent of its overall impact, along with land use and water consumption.

The 2021 impact figure is down from 5.3 million euros in 2020, and 8.2 million euros in 2019. However, the luxury ethical brand noted that it is not possible to directly compare this year’s result with previous years. That is because, for this most recent environmental impact report, there were changes in scope and data availability, as well as the fact that the brand produced less due to the pandemic.

Commenting on the findings, Stella McCartney said in a statement: “When I launched Stella McCartney in 2001, I had a singular mission: to create beautiful, desirable clothing that people would love to wear, made from materials that do not harm our fellow creatures. My Impact Report 2021 outlines where we stand exactly 20 years on: a conscious fashion pioneer today, continuing to push towards solutions that will protect our better tomorrow.

“I am incredibly proud of the actions we have taken, the positive changes we have implemented and the innovations we are currently supporting, but there is so much more we can do. And we will.”

In 2021, Stella McCartney’s most-used material was cotton, with 78 percent of it coming from organic sources with a lower impact. Along with polyester and polyurethane, wool, including regenerative wool, forest-friendly viscose and brass.

Stella McCartney outlines environmental impacts and conscious solutions

The report also outlines many of the brand’s ongoing and future initiatives, including its goals to achieve net-zero, circular business ambitions and improvements across packaging, global stores and offices, and water stewardship.

This includes continuing to invest in circular, nature-based and regenerative solutions, including its SOKTAS regenerative cotton project in Turkey, a project it has led since 2019 in partnership with LVMH, which is a minority partner in the brand. In addition, it has also started to use new low-impact materials like Mylo, the mycelium-based leather alternative, which is a significantly lower-impact alternative to both animal leather and 100 percent synthetic alternatives.

Other 2021 highlights include using more recycled content in its bestselling Falabella bags, introducing regenerative fibres into the supply chain, partnering with Human Society International to end fur cruelty in the industry, and releasing a capsule collection to support Greenpeace’s campaign to stop deforestation in the Amazon.

Image: Stella McCartney; Dubai Design Week, Future of Fashion

Stella McCartney looking to extend product lifespan

When it comes to the “future of fashion,” the report shares that “this is humanity’s most consequential decade. The choices that we collectively make now until 2030 will determine what the future of life on our planet looks like”. Adding that collaboration is the key to creating widespread and impactful change, and that tackling climate change and the biodiversity crisis “needs the entire industry to work together”.

For its part, Stella McCartney notes that it is looking into embracing a more circular economy to extend the product lifecycle by committing to extending the use-phase of its products and preventing garments, offcuts, or unused fabrics from ending up as waste. It is also designing products with circularity in mind, increasing the input of post-consumer and pre-consumer recycled waste in its products, reducing its reliance on the planet’s finite resources, as well as designing for disassembly and favouring mono-material construction and using regeneratively-sourced materials.

Stella McCartney also offers a global repair scheme in its stores to extend the lifecycle of its products as well as adding CleverCare labelling on all garments that share solutions for customers to minimise environmental footprint and extend lifespan through care guidance and advice. It is also embracing resale in partnership with The RealReal in the US.

Concluding the report, the British brand states: “At Stella McCartney, we believe in a future where circular, regenerative and nature-positive solutions are common practice – setting a standard for the industry today that protects the planet for tomorrow. We want waste eradicated and materials kept in circulation, with individuals respected and protected at every level of supply chains.

“We are committed to investing in sustainability to safeguard the future of our planet, people and fellow creatures. We have come a long way since 2001, and together our industry has a big mountain still to climb. Collective responsibility needs to be taken, to protect and leave a habitable - moreover thriving - planet for future generations.”

Caring for the environment doesn’t come cheap

Stella McCartney also shows in the company’s most recent filings at Companies House that reducing fashion’s environmental impact isn’t cheap. In the 12 months to December 31, 2021, the company’s turnover rose 14 percent compared to 2020 to 32.5 million pounds, with a loss before tax of 32.7 million pounds.

Stella McCartney
Sustainable Fashion