Natural Capital Evaluation

Facts as the basis for sustainability decisions
HUGO BOSS is aware of its responsibility to people and the environment. The natural capital evaluation identifies the places in the value chain where the greatest environmental impacts arise – and helps to develop strategies aimed at minimizing them.

What is a natural capital evaluation?

Along the entire value chain at HUGO BOSS, important natural resources are used, along with chemical and energy inputs – from the extraction of raw materials and production to shipment of finished products. This has an impact on our climate, the quality of ecosystems and biodiversity, as well as and human health, among other factors.

To live up to our responsibility, it is important to know about these impacts in detail. Fact-based knowledge is needed to set strategic priorities, make well-founded decisions, and develop sensible, sustainable innovations.

That’s why HUGO BOSS has conducted life cycle assessments since 2009, to examine the environmental impacts of the individual product categories. Findings by partners and scientific studies are also included to support and validate the study. But environmental impacts – such as water consumption, land requirements, and CO2 emissions, for example – are not directly comparable, because they are measured in different units such as kilograms and liters. A further intermediate step is needed to render the different environmental impacts comparable. This is why HUGO BOSS began using the Natural Capital Protocol by the Capitals Coalition in 2016. It renders the results comparable by translating them into standardized monetary values.

In short, the natural capital evaluation identifies the steps in the value chain that cause the greatest environmental impacts. These findings form the foundation for HUGO BOSS to implement targeted measures to achieve more environmentally-friendly production and distribution of its products.

Results of the natural capital evaluation

Impacts along the value chain

The greatest weight among the environmental impacts of the value chain arise during the production steps: raw materials extraction and wet and dry processes. That’s why HUGO BOSS has set special targets in these areas and become involved in relevant initiatives, such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) or the  Leather Working Group (LWG).

For other steps in the value chain that are not directly related to products (logistics, administration, and store operation), we also aim to implement measures to reduce environmental impacts. For more information, see the PLANET section.

Impact by damage category

The different work steps along the value chain can be categorized by their corresponding ecological effects. Some of the work steps have a greater impact on climate change, for example, while others affect human health. This creates hot spots where more precise analysis and suitable measures can be employed to improve the overall environmental balance.

The largest hot spots identified in the raw materials stage are water consumption and the impact on ecosystem quality, while the wet processes have their greatest impact on climate change and human health.

Raw material wet processes dry processes logistics adminis­tration retail packaging
Climate Change

Climate change (wet process)

By 2025: 100% of leather from tanneries certified by the LWG or comparable standards. They have energy reduction requirements.
Commitment within the framework of the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action.

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Human Health

Human health (wet process)

Member of the ZDHC Roadmap to Zero Program.
A list of substances which must be avoided in production, is an important component of our supplier partnerships.

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Ecosystem quality

Quality of the ecosystem (raw materials)

By 2025: 100% of cotton from sustainable sources. Use of more sustainable farmed cotton, for which only natural fertilizers and pesticides are used. which supports soil health and reduces the use of fresh water, for example by watering with collected rainwater or special irrigation techniques.

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water withdrawal

Water consumption (raw materials)

By 2030, we will use 100% natural materials from regenerative agriculture, or which come from closed-loop recycling. By focusing on regenerative agriculture, we are also promoting more sustainable water management.

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State May 2018: Based on data collected in 2016 (please see 2nd edition of the White Papers) and data updates in 2018

  • Water consumption (raw materials)
    Main drivers of environmental impacts

    Conventional cotton cultivation has a high water consumption compared to the production of other materials. At the same time, large amounts of this material are used in the fashion industry. Cotton also plays an important role at HUGO BOSS due to its characteristics as a material: it accounts for  59% of all input materials, making it the most-used raw material at HUGO BOSS.


    HUGO BOSS strives to use 100% natural materials from regenerative farming or closed loop recycling by 2030. When procuring cotton, we take into account the criteria of the HUGO BOSS Cotton Commitment. These criteria include the responsible use of water. To achieve this goal, for example, HUGO BOSS is actively working with RADDIS© Cotton and SEKEM, initiatives that practise regenerative farming.

  • Ecosystem quality (raw materials)
    Main drivers of environmental impacts

    For conventional cotton cultivation, agricultural chemicals are used, such as pesticides to protect the crop against pests and fertilizers to boost its growth. However, the use of these chemicals results in water pollution and acidification of the soil and may also pose risks to native species.


    Firstly, the optimization of water consumption already helps to support the quality of the ecosystem. Secondly, as defined in the HUGO BOSS Cotton Commitment, sustainable cotton cultivation also entails responsible soil management and the protection of biodiversity. That’s why the company also uses regenerative farmed cotton and organic cotton. The production of organic cotton involves only natural fertilizers and natural means of pest control. Soil health and therewith also the preservation of biodiversity is the top priority in regenerative agriculture.

  • Climate change (wet processes)
    Main drivers of environmental impacts

    In the wet processes, it is primarily the energy required for procedures such as dyeing, finishing, and tanning that has an impact on climate change.


    Leather tanning, in particular, requires large amounts of energy. That’s why HUGO BOSS has joined the Leather Working Group (LWG), to ensure increasing use of sustainable leather. The LWG audits and certifies leather producers with a low environmental impact. Statistics from the LWG show that a leather producer’s energy consumption can be reduced by 30-35% over the course of four audits, depending on the certification category. HUGO BOSS strives to increase the share of leather sourced from tanneries that are certified in accordance with LWG or comparable standards to 100 % by 2025.

    HUGO BOSS also became active in the Global Climate Action for Fashion working group of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2018. In this group, brands, manufacturers, and organizations discuss targets and measures for climate protection along the entire textile value chain, which can contribute to the goals of the Paris Agreement.

  • Human health (wet processes)
    Main drivers of environmental impacts

    Tanning, dyeing, and finishing require the use of numerous chemicals, some of which have potentially negative impacts on human health.


    HUGO BOSS is working on increasing the share of leather it sources from LWG-certified tanneries. In addition, the company joined the ZDHC Roadmap to Zero Programme in 2017, whose goal is to eliminate dangerous chemicals in textile, leather, and apparel production. A list of substances to avoid has been compiled by the program. This ZDHC Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (ZDHC MRSL) is now a component of all contracts with HUGO BOSS partners. You can find out more about environmental aspects in the supply chain here.


Three white papers document research efforts by HUGO BOSS in the area of natural capital evaluation. The detailed method is described in the first version (white paper 2016). All three publications contain results for the individual product groups. In addition, the third white paper, published in 2018, describes the impacts of the HUGO BOSS value chain on climate change in greater detail.

White Paper - Environmental Impact Valuation - 3rd Edition (May 31, 2018)

White Paper - Environmental Impact Valuation - 2nd Edition (June 27, 2017)

White Paper - Environmental Impact Valuation - 1st Edition (October 07, 2016)