Ethical Trading Initiative
Superdry is a British fashion brand with a global presence. The brand is known for its combining of Western design with Japanese characters. The company publishes an annual report that includes its sustainability journey, but fails to report on the numbers that matter. This becomes painfully clear on the topic of climate action. The company pretends like it’s doing great and reduces its emissions on an annual basis. But when we zoom in on the topic, it becomes apparent that the company doesn’t include important elements, like material sourcing and emissions generated in its production facilities. These figures generally make up about at least more than half, but honestly closer to 90%, of total emissions that fashion companies generate. What’s even worse, there are no significant targets for improvement. This way of reporting is more rule than exception in Superdry’s communications. Material origins, including animal-derived materials, are almost completely unknown. Its supply chain map doesn’t lack interactive design, but we would’ve rather seen a simple spreadsheet that actually includes a factory-specific list. The list goes on. Nevertheless, the company has adopted a sustainability journey. The targets Superdry has set as part of this journey include 100% renewable electricity and organic cotton by 2040. Taking 20 years to achieve these, where most companies aim for 2030 latest, lacks serious ambition and doesn’t show any promise that this company will change for the better anytime soon. Organic cotton is currently at a mere 5.4% and has an intermediate target of 10% by 2025. Labor rights are worrisome as well. Social audits do happen, but Superdry doesn’t specify who conducts the audits, at what frequency they’re performed and what the results are. Conclusively, Superdry is a very unsustainable company that tries to make up for it by pretending to be more sustainable than it actually is. To find any relevant information in its reporting is a real chore and even seems deliberately misleading at times. The combination of this reporting style and the lack of ambition, action and transparency, doesn’t align with the public image that the company broadcasts and that’s very worrisome. When a brand doesn’t offer any information, there are several risks you take as a consumer. For example, the climate impact of that particular brand or product can be much higher compared to its industry peers. The company might use certain harmful chemicals or there might be animals or humans harmed for the manufacturing of its products. For these reasons, we believe that you should be aware of how products are produced and how a company as a whole operates in regard to our pillars. When there’s no transparency, you are at risk of supporting some or more of the previously mentioned harmful conditions.