Natural Capital Evaluation

The responsible use of natural resources is gaining in importance. In order to develop efficient sustainable business strategies, companies are increasingly required to build up fact-based knowledge in the area of their environmental impact. The concept of the environmental footprint is well established when it comes to the measurement of environmental impacts along the life cycle of a product: from raw material sourcing, production, distribution to use and end-of-life. Since 2009, HUGO BOSS has conducted these life cycle assessments (LCA) for a range of products (such as t-shirts, shirts and leather shoes), in order to measure the environmental impact. 

Similar to other companies in the apparel sector, the lack of reliable data presents a challenge for HUGO BOSS in applying LCAs as a basis for the calculation of an environmental footprint.

For this reason, HUGO BOSS and the life cycle assessment consultancy firm Quantis, as well as other partners, founded the World Apparel & Footwear Life Cycle Assessment Database (WALDB) in order to provide robust and reliable high quality data for environmental impact assessments. This data provides the basis for the creation of life cycle assessments and the representation of associated environmental influences, such as CO2 emissions or the use of water or land. However, due to the use of different units of measurement (such as kgCO2 or m3), a direct comparison and subsequent prioritization remains a challenge.

Therefore, HUGO BOSS started to apply the Natural Capital Protocol provided by the multi-stakeholder forum “Natural Capital Coalition”, which is a framework that includes guidelines for harmonizing approaches to natural capital evaluations. The application of the Natural Capital Protocol allows HUGO BOSS to translate environmental impacts identified in previously conducted Life Cycle Assessments into monetary values. HUGO BOSS is now able to compare and contrast impacts and consequently identify key environmental hot spots. For example, when analyzing the supply chain of a cotton t-shirt, the largest effects on the environment result from processes of cotton cultivation and its chemical refinement. This knowledge enables HUGO BOSS to define appropriate mitigation strategies. The Company has collected the research done on natural capital and made it publicly available in two White Papers (see downloads). 

In collaboration with other partners, HUGO BOSS has also started to implement social and economic impact measurements, in order to achieve a triple bottom line impact evaluation. HUGO BOSS is actively seeking opportunities to collaborate with partners from the apparel industry, as well as others, in order to further develop the approach taken thus far.

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