Every garment has a story. A cost, and an impact - on people and planet. A fact, easily forgotten when faced with enticing green marketing. From here on, we’re leaving no stone unturned - and no number in the dark. It’s time we - as companies and individuals - acknowledge our environmental debt: the true cost of making the clothing we otherwise take for granted. Every ounce of CO2, every drop of water, every spark of energy is now accounted for.
The fashion industry is based on constant renewal. Convincing us to buy more, when really what we need is less. In a bid to meet our growing consciousness, “sustainable” initiatives and products are flooding the shelves. While many initiatives are great, the approach is flawed. They aren’t addressing the root cause of climate change, pollution and workforce exploitation: Overconsumption. Instead, they’re geared at maintaining status quo, boasting garments or practices as green to lure us into consuming more.
The reality is that every garment has an impact. No matter how well made (or marketed) it is. Rather than continuing - or even increasing - consumption of “better” made goods, we need to face the fact that we can’t shop our way to sustainability. If that were the case, we could have offset our way back to pre-industrial revolution climate and pollution levels years ago.
Knowledge is key. We need to realize and understand the impact of our clothing, before we can meaningfully address and reduce it. So we decided to invest 2 years in partnership with RiSE (Research Institute Sweden), to use the knowledge of our traced supply chain to produce the true cost of creating our clothing: its CO2 emissions, water and energy consumption.
Skip “sustainability”. Try “responsibility” for a change. Faced with these facts, we’re sharing them back to you. Because you deserve to know the true cost of the clothing you wear on your skin. Just like we wouldn’t put something in our mouth unknowing where it came from, we shouldn’t with our clothing. It’s not responsible. The Impact Receipt represents not just a transaction, but an agreement when investing in ASKET goods.
Know your impact. Buy less. Keep it longer.
Among our first four garments to feature Full Transparency - including The Impact Receipt - is The T-Shirt. Not only of symbolic value, it’s also our most sold garment, and therefore represents a large share of our impact. While its CO2 impact is lower than the industry average (2-2,5kg), the proof of the pudding isn’t in its impact. But how long it lasts: A minimum of 183 wears according to a study with 1140 ASKET customers. That’s 6x the milage of an average Swedish T-Shirt (Mistra Future Fashion, RiSE). So for every six average tees you buy, you’ll only need one ASKET Tee.
The total amount of C02 equivalent emissions throughout the production of the t-shirt, from farm to final garment, to your door.
Water consumption of the t-shirt production, measured relatively to the water scarcity in each production location.
The combined use of renewable and non-renewable energy to farm, mill, manufacture and transport the t-shirt to your door.
The minimum lifetime of an ASKET T-Shirt as established by a 2019 survey of 1140 ASKET customers with T-Shirts since 2016.
We like ambitious deadlines. Collaborating with RiSE between 2019-2020 we produced the CO2 equivalent emissions, water and energy consumption of our four most sold garments The T-Shirt, The Oxford Shirt, The Merino Sweater and The Chino. In 2021 we were able to calculate these figures for our remaining merino wool garments. These garments are no longer just labeled with their traceability and cost breakdown here at asket.com, but also with their impact. Unfortunately, our goal to have all of our 40-something garments assessed and labeled with their impact numbers by summer 2021 was overly ambitious. We’re now aiming to complete our calculations and launch the impact receipt by end of 2022 instead.
Between 2019-2020 we conducted a life cycle impact assessment (LICA) in collaboration with The Research Institute of Sweden (RiSE) to calculate the Climate Impact (kg CO2-equivalents), Water Scarcity (m3 world equivalent based on water limitation in the region) and primary energy (MJ non renewable and renewable), associated with a garment’s entire production (from fibre sourcing for both main material, trims and packaging; textile processing; transports in production; warehousing and packaging) as well as distribution to customers (including returns and exchanges) and the use phase (washing, drying, ironing and detergents) as well as end of life (recycling, landfill or incineration). The initial LCA was done on The T-Shirt (medium regular, weight 170g), The Oxford shirt (medium regular, weight 310g), The Chinos (size 32/32, weight 500g) and The Merino Wool Sweater (medium regular 329g) - across six key markets. Data sources used to calculate a garment’s total impact combine both primary and generic data. Primary data is based on direct information from ASKET’s traced supply chain.
Where primary data could not be obtained or supplier data was insufficient, generic data from LCA databases Ecoinvent and GaBi, were integrated. While the initial LCIA includes the longevity of our garments and their use phase and end of life impact based on a 2019 study of 1140 customers across multiple countries, we decided not to include use phase or end of life impact in The Impact receipt due to its variance depending on individual laundry behaviour and country specific energy and end of life scenarios. Instead The Impact Receipt focuses solely on the impact of creating the garment and getting it in the hands of the customer. We will however communicate average use phase impact numbers in our Garment Care section to emphasize the impact of the individual in terms of laundry behaviour. Based on this initial model, a tool is currently in development, to allow for the standardized life cycle assessment of our entire permanent collection, with project completion slated for mid-2021.
For more information on benchmarks used, please refer to the research by Mistra Future Fashion, lead by Rise.