“When it comes to setting sustainability goals within a business, I believe one of the most important things is to be realistic. You can never expect such a fundamental change to happen overnight – any changes and innovations need to be carefully researched, tested, and their success measured to understand whether they actually do what they are supposed to do.
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“At Weird Fish, we view every year as a ‘leap year’ and focus our attention on reaching challenging but obtainable targets. In 2019, we introduced our The Only Way Is Ethics sustainability programme, which focuses on changing our business practices and really thinking about the impacts of what we do. We became the first retailer in the UK to replace plastic carriers with bags made from grass pulp, which use a fraction of the water used to produce paper bags. We then set and achieved a goal to make 20% of our products from sustainable fabrics in factories with more ethical practices, followed by 40% in 2020. Our progress has already exceeded our targets and now, our original 2023 goal of making 80% of our products sustainable has been brought forwards to 2022.
“It’s been crucial for us to introduce different sustainable materials into our ranges and phase out some traditionally sourced products. This has led us to work more closely with suppliers and understand their issues. Organic and sustainable materials are often more expensive than their standard counterparts. For a brand that always tries to offer good value, finding the balance between driving the sustainability agenda, whilst maintaining good value for customers is part of the challenge.
“Over the past two years, we’ve swapped out standard cotton with organic cotton yarns whenever possible, as well as widened the range of bamboo and Tencel™ fabrics. We are starting to use vegetable-based dyes in our new collections and have moved the bulk of the production of our iconic Macaroni sweat tops to a platinum rated green factory.
“Our bamboo fabric ranges have become increasingly popular, with 30 times more sales of bamboo products in 2020 compared to 2019 – equating to a +2,781% uplift.
“We don’t claim to be a 100% sustainable brand, and we’re transparent about that on our website. But by making small steps and constantly adapting along the way, I believe we’re making realistic changes that will last long-term and help make a difference. Our customers and colleagues are certainly on board, and we’re proud to be doing our bit for planet earth.”