Since 2010, TWOTHIRDS has had sustainability woven into our DNA - as well as our clothing. This comes from our love affair with the ocean: that bluest of habitats that brings us so much joy! Unfortunately, it is taking a huge hit from human activities and not only from waterway pollution and plastic. As much as 1/3 of all the CO2 humans have produced has been soaked up by the ocean. 22 million tonnes is absorbed through its surface waters. Every single day.
To a point, this “carbon sink” is a good thing: it helps to soften the effects of global warming. But it can only take so much. When carbon dioxide dissolves in the ocean it creates carbonic acid - the substance that turns water acidic, causing corals to bleach and entire ecosystems to crumble. If we’re to truly stand up and face this, we need to stop burning fossil fuels and start to remove what is already in the atmosphere. As a brand, we’re now involved in both!
That’s because this year, we have become Climate Neutral. Put simply, this means that what we emit is equal to what we take out from the atmosphere. We fully subscribe to the idea that this should be an environmental baseline for brands and not an endgame. That’s why we want to be completely transparent about what we've done, and where we’re heading next.
We can break it down into three simple actions - that also apply for the future.
We picked not one but two companies to calculate our carbon emissions. These were ClimatePartner and Plan A. They helped us to work out the two sides of our carbon footprint: company and product. It’s important to be clear about which is which, so here’s a simple guide.
The Company Footprint is everything connected to our office in Barcelona: electricity, heating, staff commuting, business travel, office supply, and computing.
Meanwhile the Product Footprint creates the larger indent and is responsible for the majority of any fashion company’s emissions. That’s:
- Raw material cultivation and extraction
- Cutting and sewing
It accounts for absolutely everything involved in the lifecycle of our garments! In numbers that means:
Our Company activities produce 99.6 tonnes of CO2
Our Product activities produce 2,998 tonnes of CO2
The total: 3,097.6 tonnes of CO2
These figures actually account for all of our greenhouse gas emissions, not only carbon dioxide. The official term is CO2 equivalent.
Monitoring our emissions in detail helps us to work out where and how we can lower them. Which leads us to the next stage.
We’ve been working on this for a long, long time. And it shows: our entire carbon footprint is already 31% smaller than that of a similar sized company (source: PlanA and TWOTHIRDS calculations). Here’s how we’ve done it.
Fashion is carbon intensive, but the materials don’t have to be. Our first limited collection was a great example: crafted entirely from pre-made deadstock fabrics, the garments required no water, energy or CO2 to produce. Meanwhile 95% of the materials we use - from organic cotton to TENCEL™ lyocell - are renewable. Speaking of which...
In 2020 we installed solar panels on the roof of our office. They now generate more electricity than we can use! We’ve also lobbied factories along the supply chain to install them too, pushing for wider change within the industry.
The pre-order system
Allows us to sell close to 100% of the clothing we produce. On average up to 30% of pre-produced clothing never sells (that’s a huge hidden environmental footprint).
We have our own electric vehicles, which we charge at our office. This helps with transport emissions and of course, for company expeditions - such as shoots.
But this is just the beginning. Reduction needs to be a continual process of chipping away at emissions, impacts and cleaning up the industry.
We then compensate for the emissions that we have left. It helps that there are outstanding Carbon Removal projects which truly align with our values and meet the highest International Standards.
Take the Rimba Raya biodiversity reserve in Indonesia: a 65,000 hectare tropical peat swamp forest that protects a diverse range of wildlife - from orangutans to critically endangered sunbears. Peat forests are one of the most efficient ecosystems for storing carbon, while 200,000 mangrove seedlings have been planted close to the project area. These beautiful trees have an enormous capacity to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. Which means they support a healthy ocean - and can alleviate the pressures being put on it by greenhouse gases. InfiniteEARTH, the organisation that manages the carbon offsetting project, actively works to nurture such trees, stop deforestation for palm oil production and revive degraded areas close to the sea. They combine this with community development, improving the economic status of women and meeting all 17 of the UN’s sustainable development goals.
We’re delighted to say that by purchasing carbon credits through this project in 2021, we have offset 3,097.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide recorded by ClimatePartner to cover BOTH our product and company footprint. That means TWOTHIRDS and our products are certifiably carbon neutral!
Cooling the intensity.
Our goal for the near future is to become less and less carbon intensive, which we can achieve in a number of ways: through materials with yet lower impacts, by collaborating with suppliers and even by using more sustainable shipping options. Climate Neutrality is just another step in a long - and exciting - journey!