Kathmandu CEO Reuben Casey details how the business achieved carbon neutrality four years early, plus how others can begin their sustainability mission.
How did Kathmandu reduced its carbon emissions – what did it change to achieve carbon neutrality?
Kathmandu has been tracking its carbon emissions for close to a decade.
Even through periods of strong global growth, we have managed to reduce our emissions total by 9%, and 34% per store on 2012 levels through energy efficiency projects, Green Star buildings and installing solar power.
Whilst this process was large-scale in both time and investment, it was important to identify the biggest carbon impact areas of the business, which is currently energy used across our Australian store network.
Monitoring this data helped accelerate initiatives to reduce our carbon footprint and costs, including the installation of solar power, LED and motion sensors.
We also developed Green Star buildings and energy efficient projects across our store network.
This was supported by our investment in Gold Standard Foundation certified carbon credits.
We also worked with Toitu Envirocare, a carbon certification company who verify our carbon measurements to achieve carbon neutrality.
This process also helps us review existing systems to identify additional avenues to reduce emissions.
What other milestones has Kathmandu achieved so far in its sustainability mission?
In 2019, as part of our 2025 Sustainability goals, we became a certified B Corp.
This means we meet the highest verified standards of social and environmental performance.
B Corps work toward reduced inequality, lowering levels of poverty, healthier environment, stronger communities and the creation of high-quality jobs with dignity and purpose.
A recent milestone for Kathmandu was the launch of Primaloft Biofleece.
Our first product releases this autumn and it plays a part in tackling the growing global plastic waste problem.
Made from 100% post-consumer plastic bottles, Biofleece is a step forward in Kathmandu’s journey to re-thinking how it deals with plastic waste.
Unlike standard recycled polyester which remains almost completely intact, the fibres in the Biofleece fabric have been optimised in specific conditions to return to natural elements such as water, carbon dioxide, methane, biomass and humus over time, which are all common soil components.
What goals does the business want to achieve next?
Reaching Carbon zero four years ahead of schedule is something the team worked steadily towards for many years, an ambitious goal that we’re proud to have achieved.
However, our overarching goal for 2025 is achieving net zero environmental harm.
This will be achieved through removing waste from our supply chains and setting progressive Science Based Targets for carbon reduction.
As we move towards a more sustainable future, we’re committed to providing consumers with product 100% designed, manufactured and developed using elements of circularity principals.
We understand that these goals cannot be achieved overnight, but with sustainability embedded into Kathmandu’s DNA, the company is well on its way to achieving the 2025 targets.
What advice would you give to other fashion retailers who want to start or further their sustainability efforts?
We've seen a significant trend in customers asking where we make our products, the origin of materials used, and how Kathmandu is proactively caring and supporting those in its supply chain.
This is particularly evident across younger demographics, who demonstrate care about social purpose and want to make a change in the world.
Consumers care about brands that have higher purpose, asking questions and demanding transparency. Have a clear understanding of your brand mission and ensure this aligns with the values of your consumer.
If ethics, sustainability and transparency are foundations of your brand, then prioritising and investing in practices best for the world should remain at the forefront of all business decisions.