We did it! After months of calculating the carbon footprint of every move we make (from the linings of our bags to the electricity we use at our studio in East London) and comparing it to the high-street, the results are in…
It wasn’t easy (countless hours, lengthy spreadsheets and complex carbon calculators), but we were determined to see if our work at BEEN London, dedicated to using 100% recycled fabrics and saving materials from landfill really was better for the environment. Theoretically, yes of course we are providing a more sustainable option by not taking anything from the planet, but I wanted to see the cold hard data for myself. We had no idea whether making everything by hand in London would have an impact, the fact that we ship all our materials by sea (it takes forever!) would make a significant difference and whether using carbon neutral transport within London would actually prove to be environmentally beneficial.
We analysed our bestselling Columbia Crossbody bag which is hand-made in London from recycled leather and recycled cotton and compared it to a high-street equivalent made from virgin materials. The results are pretty astonishing. We now know that a BEEN London bag’s carbon footprint is a mere fraction of a high street equivalent, almost 1/10th or 87% less to be precise!
The Cradle to Gate analysis carried out by our partners at Terra Neutra looked at the full Life Cycle of our Columbia crossbody bag, starting at the raw materials stage and finishing at Mailout in Camden, our packaging and postage team training Londoners with learning disabilities. And what the results say is that it all matters. And it really is making a measurable difference.
I have to say, I'm proud. I'm proud of the fact that being a small independent brand can prove it's possible to challenge the status quo of the fashion industry and do things differently to help our planet. After digesting all the numbers, we realised our Columbia crossbody has the carbon footprint equivalent to just one Margarita pizza. And by choosing it over a high street leather equivalent you reduce your CO2 emissions by the equivalent of leaving the lights on for almost a year!
But what I'm mostly excited about is the fact that the guys at Terra Neutra have built us an innovative tool allowing us to calculate the CO2 emissions of any new materials we might introduce in the future. Helping us to become even more sustainable as we grow. My geeky side is having a little dance right now.