Stella McCartney is a sustainable, ethically minded luxury brand that plays on modern femininity and sharp tailoring while raising awareness about eco-consciousness. The business’ commitment to sustainability is evident throughout all their collections. It is part of the brand’s ethos to being a responsible, honest, and modern company. The brand operates 51 freestanding stores in locations including Manhattan, London, LA and Tokyo.
The company believes that advocating human rights starts with ensuring everyone in the supply chain receives fair wages and safe and encouraging working conditions. Italy is one of their biggest sourcing countries with 76% of all manufacturing and material suppliers. Other key sourcing countries include Hungary, Spain, Portugal, China and India*. They use different types of audits either by the Kering audit team or carefully selected specialist third-party auditors (including unannounced audits). This helps to understand how their manufacturing suppliers work and identify potential risk areas.
With their EP&L report, they decided to go for reengineered cashmere, as virgin cashmere accounted for 42% of their total environmental impact at the raw material stage. They are known for using recycled polyester, as it has a 75% lower carbon footprint than virgin polyester and uses up to 90% less water. They even use viscose fibres sourced carefully to protect ancient forests and the inhabitant species. Their ‘fur-free-fur’ is made from recycled acrylic, polyester, wool or mohair. They encourage customers to take care of and not throw away as they are aware the faux-fur products are non-biodegradable. Other fibres and fabrics they use are organic cotton, silk, recycled nylon and polyester, wool and vegetarian leather made from alter-Nappa, recycled polyester and potentially lab-grown leather. For metal trims, they invest in low-impact, recycled or recyclable metals.
All of the wood used in their shoes, bags, jewellery and paper in products, as well as their stores and offices come from sustainably certified sources. They attain sustainable forestry certifications to protect forests for the future. Their packaging and paper are either FSC certified or from recycled sources, with at least 50% post-consumer waste paper in all of their stores. The brand also stopped using PVC in 2010. Stella McCartney has pledged the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastic Economy Global Commitment to reduce plastic use and to use recycled, recyclable or compostable plastics in place of virgin. Stella McCartney uses TIPA packaging, which is based on fully compostable polymers and bioplastics. In other words, you can dispose of TIPA packaging along with food waste with no harmful impact on the environment.
With the EP&L, Stella McCartney has been able to reduce their environmental impact and save ‘natural capital’. They are committed to meeting all forestry standards when sourcing natural fibres such as viscose, acetate and modal. They source from an FSC-certified forest in Sweden, which is neither ancient nor endangered. Their fibres are traceable from start to finish, to ensure no direct or indirect destruction of forests. They have eliminated harmful chemicals from their supply chain, as well as implemented energy-efficient power plants running on gas. They use a biological wastewater treatment plant, and their only manufacturing byproducts are Glauber salt and cellulose yarn residues. Different industries can then use these later to create a more circular system. Their stores and offices use Energy-efficient LED lighting.
Stella McCartney believes each decision they make is a symbol of their commitment to defining the future of fashion. Therefore, the brand refuses to use leather or fur. The company also focuses on pioneering new alternative materials and utilising cutting edge technologies to push towards circularity. They protect ancient and endangered forests and measure their impact with the decision-making tool called Environmental Profit and Loss (EP&L), developed by Kering. The brand also believes in moving towards circular fashion to eliminate the concept of waste.