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How sustainable is Scotch & Soda?

This screening has been done by Fairify on April 12th 2020

Scotch & Soda started as a menswear label in Amsterdam in 1985 and has grown into an international brand with over 247 stores worldwide. The Dutch brand states it’s a priority to run its business with more attention for the environment, animal welfare and safe working conditions, but needs to step up its game.

The company shows the first signs of improvement and willingness to change by publishing a factory list that gives us insight into its supply chain. But true transparency concerning the way it operates is lacking. Scotch & Soda doesn’t publish a yearly central sustainability report that covers all major topics accompanied by data to back up its claimed progression. Currently, the information the brand provides is spread out over its website and doesn’t go into depth on important elements like the carbon footprint the company generates with its operations. In order to measure this carbon footprint, the company needs to monitor its supply chain including things like energy and water consumption, transport, impact of packaging, waste and more. These data take a while to collect but are a necessary springboard for change. None of the tools for transparency mentioned above are currently used by Scotch & Soda, which indicates that it either doesn’t possess them or doesn’t disclose them.

Another major aspect that is missing, is a transparent insight into the company’s material sourcing. Currently, we have no way of knowing what the percentages of more sustainable or organic materials are and whether these are certified. Animal materials are also used from unknown sources. The company has only recently banned mohair and currently uses down, feathers, wool, leather and cashmere from uncertified sources. The only information available on materials is that the company has implemented targets for 50% more sustainable cotton by 2022 and 100% by 2025, which are targets that indicate Scotch & Soda is serious about improvement but also currently maintain low percentages of more sustainable materials.

Labor conditions are improving. The company has a partnership with Amfori BSCI, which externally audits Scotch & Soda factories, and improves labor conditions in its factories. The Dutch brand also states that over 70% of these factories received an acceptable or higher score from Amfori. On top of that, Scotch & Soda prohibits sandblasting for the production of jeans and has a Restricted Substance List that manages chemicals in the production process.

The Scotch & Soda website suggests a very conscious company that is serious about change, but behind the words about improvement and some positive signs of movement towards positive change, there is a sincere lack of transparency. This gets very obvious when considering the absence of a sustainability report, data, transparency and proper climate action, which all indicate that the company has only just started on its path to sustainability.

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