Responsibility Journal 2021/2022
2020 saw the release of our first ever Responsibility Journal. The annual report detailed exactly what we’re doing as a company to become more sustainable. Now, as we enter 2022 and our focus on reducing our environmental impact grows ever finer, we’ve updated the Responsibility Journal in order for you to engage in our journey as well as to push oursel- ves to be a more accountable, more responsible brand. The following report is based on the products we produced in 2021 and the foundational ideas behind collections created but not yet fully produced for 2022.
The inspiration for Forét grew from the soil of our love for nature. The Forét brand — from the name itself to the mantra of slowing down — is inextricably linked to the natural world. It follows, then, that we strive to be a pivotal part of the change towards a more responsible future — a change that is no less than essential in the fashion industry. To do so, we keep a close eye on every side of our business, streamlining and developing each part in a responsible way so as to provide slow goods for your journey. There is a responsibility inherent in creating clothes: it’s never as simple as the clothing itself. When we began producing clothing, we understood quickly that we were part of a value chain made up of actions and decisions that have a major impact on our planet. It’s crucial to the Forét mentality that we keep taking the necessary steps and decisions towards becoming a responsible industry. In 2020, we devised three main pillars that would hold up our promise of becoming the most responsible brand that we can. These pillars are:
• Design & Development
If we can look at each of these pillars and truthfully say that we’re doing all we can to minimise their impact on the environment, then we can be sure that we’re fulfilling our promise. We’re not perfect, but these pillars provide a concrete structure within which we strive for a change in the way of consuming and wearing clothes — an idea which sits at the core of our business. Forét was founded on the idea of using organic materials to craft long- lasting pieces. This remains a central principle for us, but since we started in 2014, we’ve introduced a much wider range of products to our line- up. We’re now working with several new textiles; mostly responsible, but not entirely. In line with our pillars, one of our goals is to be able to say that all of the textiles that we work with can be categorised as responsible. So, keep reading, and join us on our journey towards a responsible industry and a sustainable future.
Pillar 1: Design & Development
The first step for all of us to be more sustainable is to consume less. With that in mind, challenging our habits of fast consumption is a priority. Our collections are made up only of durable and mindfully produced garments that are created to stand the test of time thanks to high-level craftsmanship and timeless design ideals. We see our design process as a holistic approach to making long-lasting items while minimising our impact on the environment through durable, high-quality materials. This isn’t anything new: it’s been our mission state- ment since the very beginning.Our collections revolve around modern classics that transcend the ticking clock of trends. No matter what the season or what year, Forét garments can be your staple wardrobe. We believe so strongly in this mindset that our collections often play host to a handful of returning pieces; fanfavourites that we’ve improved without having to reinvent. This allows us to cut down on wasteful samples within the production and selling processes. Along with building on a core range of styles, we strive to use the same fit for all of our pieces. This minimises the amount of production samples as well as mockups and unsold pieces. The signature Forét fit means that our customers can be sure of what they’re buying as well as defining our timeless aesthetic. The samples that are made will find them- selves in one of our two annual sample sales, with unsold pieces donated to the Danish Red Cross. All of the aforementioned aspects play into our view that good things take time and good things last a long time. By building a modern, core wardrobe which fits correctly and never goes out of style, we aim to change the mindset of our customers to buy less and buy right. Material choice combined with durability, timelessness, and even the afterlife of our garments means that Forét collections have minimal environmental impact.
The fashion industry as a whole has a lot to work on. One of the main polluters, though, is the fibre-production process. That means that picking the right fabrics is one of the most impor- tant factors in how sustainable our collections are, also determining the lifetime and potential disassembly of a garment once its life is over.
In line with this, we always strive to use mono-fibre fabrics so that our pieces can be recy- cled at the end of their lifetime. In 2021, 83% of our garments were made from mono-fibre fabrics. Aiding this number is the fact that the vast majority of our responsibly sourced fabrics are certified by third-party standards. The landscape of certifications is brimming with different ways to measure the quality of a fabric depending on the chosen requirement. That’s why it’s essential to approach the certifications with
critical eyes before putting our faith in them. After extensive research, our primary certifications are: Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) for our organic cotton, and Global Recycled Standard (GRS) for our recycled materials.
In the name of full transparency, the fabrics that we used in 2021 and the fabrics that make up our 2022 collections are listed below:
• Organic cotton (GOTS)
• Organic wool (GOTS)
• Recycled polyester (GRS)
• Recycled wool (GRS)
• Cotton (BCI)
For simplification, we have created an overview of the responsibly sourced fabrics that we have used for production in 2021 and for the collections arriving in 2022. We call them responsible fabrics hence a lighter impact on the environment than conventional materials. Excluding below figures we have our NOOS programme which is 100% responsible fabrics and 100% mono fibers.
Part of our work to become more responsible and sustainable is identifying overarching goals for our business. Using the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals as our guide, we have identified six fundamental SDGs for our brand.
Goal 1: Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all
What the UN says: “By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water, and soil pollution and contamination.”
What we’re doing: We make sure that every Forét product made outside of Europe is in compliance with REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals). All GRS-certified products are automatically checked to comply with REACH regulations, too.
Goal 2: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
What the UN says: “By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dum- ping and minimising the release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally.” What we’re doing: Forét collections are produced primarily with certified textiles made in factories that comply with the UN’s legislation. By ensuring that our materials are certified, we can be sure that the clothing we make also follows the sustainable management of water.
Goal 3: Promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
What the UN says: “Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including the recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms.”
What we’re doing: Much like our second goal, the factories and textiles that we work with are of the utmost importance to us. Ensuring that we’re working with the right people conse- quently ensures that we’re doing our bit to promote inclusive, sustainable economic growth that works for every part of the production chain.
Goal 4: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
What the UN says: “By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemi- cals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international fra- meworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimise their adverse impacts on human health and the environment. By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse. Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle.”
What we’re doing: Once again, this goal underlines the crucial importance of understanding who we work with. Our relationship with the factories in which Forét garments are produced is critical for our brand because as long as we can trust them, we can rest assured that our production process is in safe hands that recognise the essential nature of responsibility and sustainability. What’s more, the UN notes the importance of integrating sustainability information into a company’s reporting cycle. We agree. We see this report as a catalyst in being fully accountable in our work.
Pillar 3: Production
Massive energy consumption, water & chemical use, and carbon emissions are just a few of the things that make the production process of clothing so harmful to the environment. That’s not to mention the human impact up and down unethical production chains. Since the first conversation that we had about Forét, when it was still an idea, we knew that we would prioritise suppliers and manufacturing within the EU. This allows us to be closer to our production so that our collections rack up fewer air miles as well as allowing us to be sure of who we’re working with. 97% of our production happens in Europe and we ensure quality standards by working closely with third-party offices. That said, as our offering expands, we recognise the benefits of producing specific garments in areas that excel in those fields. For example, this year we’ve added technical jackets to the Forét repertoire. During 2022, we will begin to produce these items in China, a place with unrivalled experience in producing this type of product. Despite our production moving further away for these items, our focus on ensuring the best working conditions remains unchanged, therefor are all of them GRS certified. In terms of post-production waste, we minimise numbers by never producing more than we expect to sell, providing we fulfil any minimum-order numbers. Wherever we have excess fabric after production, it is used for upcoming collections. Our online store poses the final defence against waste, allowing us to sell any unsold pieces throughout the year. Unsold garments are of great value to us, so we will never destroy any unsold items.
Labels, Poly Bags & Hang Tags
For us, the big promises and goals only count if the small things are being done, too. That’s why, in 2021, we made sure that all of our hangtags were made of recycled FSC-certified cardboard and our bags are made of recycled plastic. In 2022, we will up- date our labels to recycled polyester with biodegradable poly bags in line for 2023.
Our Future Journey
2021 was a big year for Forét, with our product range developing to include a much wider range of garments. While we’ve introduced new fabrics and certifications and are certainly moving in the right direction with the share of responsible fabrics in our collections, by the end of 2023 we aim to produce collections made of 100% responsible and certified fabrics. Next year, we will work to make the Forét supply chain even more transparent, with an aim to eventually track our carbon footprint. Recycling will take a central role in our 2022 strategy as we search for more options when it comes to a circular ecosystem within our company and collections.We are a small company that puts immense pride in our efforts, but we know that we can be better. While our efforts are, naturally, centred around our own brand, we hope that the overall approach can reach far beyond, inspiring individuals and businesses of all kinds to work together towards a responsible fashion industry and world as a whole.