For global internet retailers you would imagine that being eco-friendly can be more than a little bit difficult to achieve, what with making of goods on a large scale, transporting these products all around the world and having many bases in a number of different countries. But it is possible.
ASOS has grown from a small UK based online retailer to global fashion house in only 12 years. Such a whirlwind success story could have left ethical approaches and green issues behind to just concentrate on bringing in the money but sourcing fashion from suitable factories and ensuring that their carbon footprint is offset by other ventures has always been something that has been important to them.
So how do you stay green when you are this big?
To expand globally companies have to be able to deliver worldwide and this can cause massive amounts of pollution from transportation from manufacture, then to warehouse storage and finally to your door. ASOS have managed to completely offset their carbon emissions by supporting schemes such as reforestation projects in both Tanzania and the USA. Most of their products are produced in China and India so they are very keen to support initiatives in these countries such as a clean energy initiative in China and they also produce a lot of their cotton from a wind powered cotton mill in Northern India.
Measures have also been taken to reduce the amount of inbound airfreight to the company that causes masses of carbon emissions each year. Since 2008 the figure has dropped from 75% to 10%, which has cut their emissions drastically.
ASOS abide by the Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI) Base Code and were made official members in recognition of this in 2009, this code aims to give workers who grow and make consumer goods better working conditions and pay in exchange for their labour. In line with the code and their own stance on making fashion fair for everyone they also ensure that no child labour is used in the making of their merchandise and provide wages that are enough for the person to live on.
ASOS Greenroom is a dedicated group of products made up of all ethically made and/or eco-conscious items. This is where the eco-fashionista can go to find all their stylish yet green wares from dresses to jewellery. In 2010 ASOS launched ASOS Africa, a collection made in Kenya which aims to provide underprivileged communities with sustainable business through craftsmanship. The African influence is shown in the patterns and prints used in the pieces and there are also cute zebra, giraffe and rhino designs.
For those who love vintage fashion there is also ASOS Marketplace. This is where fashion lovers are encouraged to sell on their unloved items of clothing, therefore avoiding them being sent to landfill and helping look after our planet.
So now you really can be eco-friendly, ethical and fashionable all at the same time!
Guest Post by Laura Clarke, who is a keen fashion blogger currently working on behalf of ASOS.