Making high quality products is at the heart of our business. At the same time we are aware that creating products leaves behind a considerable environmental footprint. Because of this, a large part of our low impact efforts is geared towards developing strategies to reduce and minimise the impact in the design and production phases. Different product groups require different low impact strategies, and our efforts are divided between the ready-to-wear and jewellery categories.
READY TO WEAR
Approximately 70% of a garment’s environmental footprint takes place in the production phase, and it is also during this phase that the opportunity for reducing its footprint is the greatest. Based on this we have defined two main priorities for our ready-to-wear line; designing for longevity and accelerating the use of sustainably sourced materials.
We are committed to sourcing high quality materials with the lowest possible environmental impact, and in 2020 73% of our ready-to-wear products were made using sustainably sourced materials. Our goal is to increase this to 90% by 2023.
To track our progress we have established a tool for sourcing materials. We sought knowledge from industry standards, textile experts and best practices to create the Low Impact Material Index. The index is divided into four categories: recommended, satisfactory, discouraged, and avoid, and we define a material as low impact when placed in either the recommended or satisfactory column. This indicates that at least 80% of the main material composition is third-party certified or proven to have a lower environmental impact compared to its conventional counterparts.
Circular Initiatives: Deadstock Materials
We have introduced deadstock fabrics to our ready-to-wear collections as a means to reduce textile waste and to make sure already existing fabrics are being repurposed and kept out of landfill. We use carefully selected deadstock wool from a family-owned company in the recognized Biella province in Northern Italy, known for their superior quality yarns and spinning techniques.
LOW IMPACT DENIM
We are passionate about denim, but we are also aware of the large amount of natural resources that goes into making a single pair of jeans. We launched our first Low Impact Denim collection in 2020, and all our denim is produced in Italy using 100% certified organic cotton.
Through our Low Impact Denim collections we are investing in partnerships with innovators and factories who have the necessary technology and who share our desire to innovate and change. We work with jeans manufacturer Blueline, denim fabric suppliers Candiani and Evlox, and the finishing technology experts in Jeanologia to create our Low Impact Denim collections. The process of garment making is complex and below we highlight the most important ones for us.
|GOTS certified organic cotton
All our Low Impact Denim is made with 100% GOTS certified organic cotton. The GOTS certification ensures that our denim meets strict environmental and social standards from field to finished product.
No Harmful Chemicals
Water consumption is one of the biggest environmental issues related to the process of producing denim. By using different water saving techniques such as dry ozone treatment, handmade scrapings and stone washing with natural enzymes we are able to make high-quality garments with an authentic look and a lower environmental impact.
Low Impact packaging
Our Low Impact Denim are packaged in poly bags made out of 100% recycled plastic which uses fewer natural resources and less energy than traditional, non-recycled plastic.
Environmental Impact Measuring (EIM) – powered by Jeanologia ®
EIM is a measurement tool developed by the Spanish denim experts Jeanologia ®, that can assess the environmental impact of garment finishing processes by measuring key factors like water and energy consumption, the use of chemicals and the health and safety of workers. Based on these calculations, the garment is given a score of 0-100, 0-33 indicating low impact, 34-66 medium impact and 67-100 high impact. Tom Wood’s Low Impact Denim collection has received an EIM score of 0-33, indicating that the process of making the jeans has had a low impact on the environment. By measuring the current impact, it is easier for brands to identify areas of improvement, define actions and monitor them to become more sustainable.
LOW IMPACT JERSEY
Our Low Impact Jersey collections are made with 100% GOTS-certified cotton and manufactured in Portugal. The collections consist of classic wardrobe staples such as t-shirts, rib jersey, hoodies and sweatshirts.
Based on findings from the 2020 material baseline evaluation cotton was the most prevalent fibre in our collections, and traditional cotton production is known to be water and chemical intensive. In 2020 we made the transition to organic cotton for all our jersey, resulting in our low impact jersey collection being made with 100% GOTS-certified cotton.
Cultivating organic cotton requires less water and energy, but even more importantly it sustains the health of the soil, ecosystems and people by using natural processes rather than artificial ones. Organic farming does not allow the use of toxic chemicals or GMOs. Instead, it combines tradition and innovation to benefit the shared environment, thereby promoting a better quality of life for everyone involved.
All our jewellery is made with product longevity in mind, from design through prototyping, development and final production, and we aim for the best quality in everything we do. Our low impact strategy for jewellery is centered around two principles; accelerating the use of recycled materials and moving the process of product design and prototyping in-house.
We use natural materials and the highest quality of silver and gold in our jewellery. Recycling and repurposing metal is one way of reducing the environmental impact of jewellery production, both in terms of improving the lifespan of the metal as well as reducing water waste, and we use as much recycled gold and silver as possible while still securing a high quality product.
All our main jewellery suppliers have either obtained a Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) certificate or are in the process of becoming certified. The RJC Code of Practices is the only industry standard covering the entire jewellery and watch supply chain, and focusing on business ethics and responsible supply chains it is widely recognised as a global landmark standard. At the factories several efforts are made to make a difference. Water used in production is purified before being released back into nature, the electricity is solar powered and natural resources are not wasted. Metal scraps are being reused, and recycled metals are the main components in all casts. Every detail counts, and we have a continuous dialog with all our factories to ensure that they work towards lowering their environmental impact.
Handcrafting and lost-wax casting are the two techniques that historically have defined the art of traditional jewellery making.Both are time-consuming, require significant technical expertise, requires international shipping and there is potential for human error. With respect for these traditional techniques we also acknowledge that the jewellery industry is in need of innovative solutions in order to grow, become more efficient and reduce the environmental impact. In 2020 we built an in-house lab consisting of two 3D printers and a laser engraving machine in order to gain better control of the jewellery development process.
Having access to 3D design software and printers in-house enables rapid prototyping and increased supply chain efficiency. With a digital workflow, our jewellery development team can use CAD software to create digital designs and utilise our high-resolution 3D printers to produce samples. When the final sample is complete the process resumes to the traditional techniques for casting. Thanks to digital innovation, the need for time-intensive labour is reduced and the design itself is easily modified or recreated when needed.
Reduced Carbon Emissions
With traditional jewellery manufacturing, materials, parts and final products are often shipped long distances, creating significant levels of carbon emissions. Taking part of the jewellery development process in-house helps us reduce carbon emissions and our environmental impact.
Another significant benefit of 3D technology is the reduction of waste in comparison to traditional jewellery techniques, such as lost-wax casting. With 3D printing, rather than cutting away parts of a larger piece of material, the product is created by laying down material layer by layer. This results in little to no waste, thereby lowering the impact of our prototyping process
Traceability allows us to trace exactly where our products come from. We want to be able to answer who made our products at every level of the supply chain, from raw material to finished product. Our goal is to achieve full tier 1 and 2 traceability in 2021.
Tom Wood’s ready-to-wear collections are all produced by suppliers in Europe. We have identified Europe as a preferred region for clothing manufacturing because of its experience with high-end products and a high focus on social standards. A close proximity to our main offices in Oslo also makes it easier to control production and schedule regular supplier visits.
Our jewellery is produced in Bangkok, Thailand where we have long standing relationships with renowned suppliers.