Textile sustainability and recycling are Outland Denim’s top wins for 2021 – Sourcing Journal


Outland Denim’s 2021 Impact Report highlights how transparency is part of its brand’s DNA.

This year, Outland Denim expanded its rigid jeans options, collaborated with another Australian brand Spell on a line of vintage-inspired denim basics, introduced ready-to-wear and celebrated a milestone in its traceability journey, marking the 100% traceability of its organic cotton. denim.

The B Corp certified company has also made progress on long-term projects and goals. It updated all black denim to denim dyed using Saveblack, a process that uses 85% less water compared to conventional dyeing. Outland has also tested jeans for 30 home laundries and performed 13 durability tests to meet the minimum test standard for jeans, verified by Outland Denim’s research and development engineer.

There is still work to be done, including managing the size diversity in its products and storytelling, and completing work on a water filtration system that has been delayed because the company has not was able to find local expertise to implement the upgraded system.

Social impact

Outland Denim was founded as a social enterprise to help lift people out of modern slavery and vulnerability by investing in training, life skills development, economic empowerment, and career advancement opportunities. career, and striving to maintain this mission.

“We believe that the global fashion industry has a crucial role to play not only in meeting the bare minimum of human rights, but also in raising the standard to what we believe to be the minimum for dignity. human, ”James Bartle, founding CEO of Outland Denim, noted in the report.

The report notes that 85 percent of employees surveyed fell into the moderate, high or extreme risk categories when they started their careers at Outland. The company’s hiring process typically involves word of mouth or a nonprofit referral. Employees who come to Outland through NGO partners have generally been victims of sexual exploitation and / or labor trafficking, while those who come by word of mouth have generally been victims. operating at their place of work.

After six months of employment and over time, employees are again surveyed to determine if the level of operational risk has been reduced during their employment with Outland Denim. The report states that 76 percent of employees surveyed have a reduced level of operating risk after six months or more of employment, education and opportunities with the company.

A living wage is a standard for its Cambodian staff. Outland is guided by the Anker methodology and data specific to its workforce to calculate a living wage for staff members in Cambodia.

In 2021, the company has halved its Cambodian team; 20% of new employees applied after suffering a job loss due to the coronavirus.

More than half of employees got pay increases this year because of skill progression or promotion. Of the employees surveyed, 51 percent said education and employment at Outland Denim helped them reduce their debt, while 80 percent said it helped improve their financial security.

In March, the company offered its first Khmer literacy course to employees in Cambodia, to enable them to acquire reading and writing skills in their own language.

Environmental impact

Oeko-Tex and GOTS certified raw materials are the basis of Outland’s collections, and the company’s own washing and finishing facility, powered by cutting-edge technology, is at the heart of its environmental savings.

Measured using third-party environmental impact measurement criteria, 97% of Outland Denim washes are classified as “low impact”. On average, clothes are made with 37% less energy, 75% less chemicals and 63% less water compared to conventional methods.

The company has said it is aiming for net zero emissions by 2030 through practices, policies and offsetting emissions that cannot be reduced. Outland’s total GHG emissions from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 were 1,348 tCO2e, of which 12% came from Scope 1 sources, 7% from Scope 2 and 81% from Scope 3, or indirect emissions.

The process of calculating Outland Denim’s first carbon footprint, however, identified areas for improvement. Improving data collection processes “for more precise calculations” and implementing informed emission reduction targets will be his next steps.

All surplus textile waste from Outland goes to textile recycling research, nonprofit social enterprises and NGOs for training and awareness projects. Investments in recycling textile waste are paying off, but the company is not ready to divulge details other than its team has developed in the lab a way to eradicate it.

“Now that the lab tests are complete, it’s time to take the next step: the first commercial test. We will be testing this technology with a range of textile compositions to better understand the scope of this technology and the fabrics it can break down, ”the company said.

And after

The brand’s objectives over two years consist in particular of being the subject of a case study evaluating the effects of water recycling on water and plastic pollution in the clothing sector, with particular emphasis on using Bluesign certified chemicals and creating a 100% carbon neutral product.

The company launched a system to track the number of items in need of repair, as well as the percentage it was able to repair for customers to further expand product repair options.

On the social front, Outland aims to establish charitable partnership programs in each of its major distribution regions and develop a mental health program for low-literate and educated employees who were exploited prior to their entry into the brand.

“We hope to be an encouragement for the fashion industry by moving towards a more environmentally sustainable business model with ethical practices that will benefit not only the environment, but also the very real lives of the many individuals and families that make up the communities most at risk. operation, ”the company said.


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