Everlane wants to drive down its emissions and carbon footprint — and with greater transparency.
Using Science Based Targets, an initiative that emphasizes data and standardization in a company’s efforts to reduce their carbon footprint, Everlane is moving towards becoming a net zero company by 2050.
“It’s a globally recognized initiative designed to encourage change and reduce misinformation,” Michael Preysman, Executive Chair and Climate Activist of Everlane, says. “By no measure is carbon measurement a perfect science, but with SBTs we can be simple, clear and consistent.”
Through this new initiative, Everlane will take a three tiered approach: scope 1 and 2 focuses on their stores and headquarters with a goal to reduce absolute emissions by 46% by 2030; scope 3 looks at their products, with a target of reducing product emissions by 55% by 2030. By 2050, the company aims to fully reach net zero emissions.
“Everlane’s footprint from our own employees and stores is very small in the grand scheme of our total impact,” Preysman explains. “We’ve done tremendous work there to run stores on renewable energy, reduce travel and ensure our team is engaged, but ultimately our focus is on our manufacturing. The pieces we produce through factory partners and with materials from around the world, represent almost our entire impact.”
To be exact, the company states that 99% of their total greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) footprint comes from scope 3. In its manufacturing, Everlane earlier committed to transitioning to organic cotton and eliminating virgin plastic from their supply chain. They’re getting close to those goals, Preysman, who served earlier as Everlane’s CEO, says: “Today, we have transitioned 90% of apparel materials that contained virgin plastic to recycled materials made from plastic water bottles, fishing nets, and other items destined for the waste stream. The real work and focus now is solving for that final 10% – and Everlane can’t do it alone.”
He’s referring to the manufacturing and packaging industry, which he argues, has to innovate as well as the brands. That’s why some of these targets are further off: because it will require industry-wide change.
When asked why 2050 and not sooner, Preysman says, “2050 is the target set by the Science Based Targets initiative. I agree, it’s too far off. At the same time, the technology isn’t fully there to make it happen today. If we were to go to net zero, we’d be out of business. We’re on a fast pace to make change and I believe we can get there faster, but we want to make sure we keep our promises, so 2050 it is. For now.”
Till they get there, Everlane will make much of this data public: consumers can follow on everlane.com.carbon. A full impact report will be published in 2022.
“Consumers deserve to know how the products they buy are impacting the environment. Unfortunately too many companies aren’t doing enough,” he adds.
And instead of using terms to define their eco-attributes or achievements, Everlane professes to using data and facts.
“The word sustainability has been completely greenwashed,” Preysman notes. “There are zero regulations around its use and companies are applying it to products that have minimal efforts towards improving our planet. Nothing is sustainable. The definition of sustainability means ‘meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.’ Show me a fashion brand that claims it is sustainable, and I will show you a fashion brand that is not honest. One can be ‘more sustainable’ but nothing is truly sustainable.”
This week as COP26 takes off, the theme of climate change is on everyone’s minds, and fashion is one of the topics to be discussed. Preysman argues that while individual actions are needed and welcomed at the household level, they ought to be coupled with transformations in the most polluting industries: “It requires companies and governments to make change, and fast. We have to create a new form of capitalism, one that is lower impact and focused on longevity.”
This is Everlane’s attempt to be on that path as an apparel brand, and an influencer in the space.