Witchery MD Simon Schofield discusses the importance of corporate social responsiblity.
Witchery has a number of CSR initiatives, from sustainable and ethical sourcing to the White Shirt campaign. What have been some highlights this year?
2019 Marks our eleventh White Shirt Campaign in partnership with the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation. The Campaign hinges on the power and importance of vital research needed to ensure that women everywhere, are free from the threat of ovarian cancer.
To date, we’ve raised over $12.1 million with 100% of the gross proceeds from every shirt sold going directly to the OCRF to fund vital research into developing an early detection test for Ovarian Cancer.
Beyond the White Shirt Campaign, Witchery is committed to designing each collection with sustainability in mind. A big focus for our summer offering was organic linen, which was received really well by the customer.
We have also been focused on introducing stronger messaging and storytelling, including a series of “Know Your Clothes” swing ticketing, which talked to the story behind the fabric selected, as well as introducing an online guide for caring for your garments.
What are some of the ways the company is evolving in that space?
We are on a Good Business Journey and work closely with our suppliers and partners to drive positive social and environmental change across eight key focus areas: ethical trade, sustainable farming and sourcing of raw materials, energy efficiency, waste reduction, water stewardship, social development, health and wellness, and people and transformation.
Our commitment includes working with suppliers to maintain high ethical and social standards in the supply chain and using responsibly sourced fabrics in our collections. Our goal is for every product to be more sustainable by 2020.
What are the most common fabrics used and are there any you avoid?
We offer a range of fabrics within our collections including cotton, viscose, wool and leather, however, we choose not to use real fur in our ranges.
We are committed to improving traceability in our supply chain and sourcing all our key fabrics responsibly, and are well on our way in partnering with Canopy to eliminate the use of cellulose fibres that come from ancient or endangered forests.
We are working with our suppliers towards ensuring that all our leather products support tanneries that are accredited to the Leather Working Group environmental standard. We are also members of the Better Cotton Initiative and are working to transform cotton production globally.
The Better Cotton Initiative helps farmers grow cotton in a way that protects the environment and improves the livelihoods of farming communities.
Do you have any CSR initiatives currently in the pipeline?
We are continuously looking for ways to innovate for sustainability, partnering with global experts who can assist us on this journey.
We are currently exploring various opportunities to support the evolution of a circular fashion system and looking at how we can make it easier for our customers to donate and recycle their pre-loved clothing.
How do you think the fashion industry is approaching better CSR, sustainability and ethics?
In the past year, there has definitely been an increased focus on the social and environmental impacts of the fashion industry. Whilst we are dealing with complex issues that cannot be solved by one brand alone, they provide a great opportunity for us to innovate and collaborate with the broader industry. Sustainability is only going to become increasingly vital for our business and customers going forward.