Ethical Trading Initiative
Next is a British multinational fashion retailer with about 700 stores, which are mainly based in the United Kingdom. The company publishes a yearly sustainability report which covers all major topics and shows that Next has adopted measures and targets for improvement. With the implementation of a Responsible Sourcing Strategy the company launched in 2018, it set out on a mission towards more sustainable sourcing. The company has taken the first steps to improve its material sourcing and has mapped and published most of its supply chain. It states that 19% of its products are sourced according to its responsible sourcing criteria and 13% of its cotton is sourced in accordance with the Better Cotton Initiative. It has also joined the ZDHC Programme, which aims to eliminate chemicals in its production process. Use of mohair has been banned and only RDS certified feather and down is allowed. However, the company does still use materials, like leather, from unknown sources and can generally be more transparent about specific origins. The company hasn’t yet fully mapped its supply chain emissions since it reports scope 3 emissions but doesn’t include emissions generated by its factories and sourcing policies. Nevertheless, it has set targets to reduce emissions, which include a 35% reduction target for scope 1 and 2 by 2030. In terms of renewable resources, Next became a member of the RE100 initiative, which commits them to using 100% renewable electricity by 2030. It currently uses renewable energy in its owned facilities for a large percentage, but doesn’t provide information about these percentages in its supply chain. The gaps in transparency concerning its supply chain become a pattern in its reporting and somewhat take away from what Next does well in its own facilities. The company has to catch up a lot in terms of packaging. It still uses harmful chemicals like PVC, which contain mainly unrecyclable plastics and only 30% is FSC certified. Next is a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative and is involved with ACT in Cambodia to advance living wages. It has a Code of Conduct in place and states that it has audited 99% of facilities during the previous year. While ETI does conduct external audits, the exact number of audits, who conducted them and audit results are not known, which implies that there is room for improvement for labor in Next’s supply chain. Next has a lot of targets in place and has started to look ahead, but more disclosure and transparency about its materials, carbon footprint and labor conditions are needed.