BAM, the creator of soft bamboo activewear, has announced a radical goal to become impact positive by 2030 – the first British brand to do so.
The plans are outlined in a 2020 Annual Impact Positive report which is available on the website.
By 2030, BAM has set goals for zero carbon, zero waste to landfill, zero pollution and zero wasted water. Every person in the supply chain will be paid fairly and treated with dignity. Deforestation will be avoided and biodiversity supported.
The fashion industry is one of the most polluting on the planet. And if current trends continue, its environmental impact will grow by 50% by 2030*.
This is not just about the carbon footprint. Every clothing business has six key spheres of impact: carbon, water, chemical, waste, land use and people. The first stage for BAM has been to establish the impact that the business is having in each of these areas.
Redefining the term ‘transparency’ for a business, BAM has traced its supply chain right back to the raw material – where the bamboo is grown – continuing through to the moment the clothes are recycled by customers. Many clothing companies are taking steps to address the garment manufacturing stage, but for BAM this isn’t enough: it has measured every aspect of its entire supply chain and where it is negative, goals are being put in place to reduce them.
Merryn Chilcott, BAM’s sustainability expert, explains: “We’re starting by offsetting our carbon and water footprints, so we’ll have compensated for our negative impact in these two areas by 2021.”
Crucially, to ensure the measurements are globally meaningful, an impact calculator was created that was based on expert information, proven sources and a set of recognised assumptions. It is hoping that BAM has developed a blueprint that could be used by other companies.
The report also provides information on the seven industry experts in key areas that have been working with BAM.
“This kind of fundamental change is uncharted territory so we’re taking advice from the best,” concludes Merryn. “We’re working collaboratively – with our suppliers and our customers – until NO aspect of making BAM clothes negatively impacts our environment”.
The 2020 Annual Impact Positive report is available to read and download from the website.
* The Pulse of the Fashion Industry 2017 report
From Sustainable Beginnings
David Gordon, founder of BAM, began building a viable and environmentally sustainable clothing business in 2006, with bamboo at the heart. It was an ideal start: bamboo absorbs five times more carbon than hardwood trees. It needs half the land cotton needs to produce the same amount of fibre and it doesn’t need irrigation or pesticides.
Over a decade later, the clothing industry is one of the worst for pollution. So when it came to addressing BAM’s impact on the planet, the company wanted to go the extra mile.
“The environment is our highest priority. It’s what we got into business for in the first place,” says David. “If ‘going green’ is hiking to the top of a hill, Impact Positive is scaling Everest. But it’s where every business needs to be headed.”