The concept of environmental footprints is well established when it comes to the measurement of impacts on the environment along the life cycle of a product – from raw material sourcing, production, distribution to use and end-of-life. In order to measure the impact of its products on the environment, HUGO BOSS has been conducting Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) for a range of product categories – such as t-shirts, shirts and leather shoes – since 2009.
When applying LCAs as a basis for the calculation of environmental footprints, HUGO BOSS faced the same challenges as other companies in the apparel sector: The lack of data availability.
For this reason, HUGO BOSS, Life Cycle Assessment consultancy firm Quantis as well as other partners started to develop the online tool EcoLogTex, which allows the collection of supplier-specific production data. Although a systematization of LCAs was now possible, the environmental impacts derived from EcoLogTex (e.g. CO2-emissions, water and resource depletion) are usually calculated in different units (such as kgCO2 or m3), making them difficult to compare and prioritize.
Therefore, HUGO BOSS started to apply the Natural Capital Protocol - a framework including guidelines for harmonizing approaches to natural capital evaluations - provided by the multi stakeholder forum of the so-called “Natural Capital Coalition”.
The application of the Natural Capital Protocol allows HUGO BOSS to translate the environmental impacts that were detected in the previously conducted Life Cycle Assessments into monetary values. We are now able to compare the impacts against one another and to identify the major environmental hot spots of the analyzed supply chains. When taking the supply chain of a cotton t-shirt as an example, the largest effects on the environment result from the process of cotton cultivation and its chemical refinement. This knowledges puts us in the position to define appropriate mitigation strategies in the future.
We are actively seeking the opportunity to join forces with other players in the sector and to further optimize the approach we have elaborated so far.
Please find details on the research conducted in the following article:
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