Climate action in production
In the global textile and apparel industry, CO2 emissions mainly occur in the cultivation and production of textile fibers and during energy-intensive processing stages, like dyeing, washing, or bleaching. HUGO BOSS is conscious of its shared responsibility to protect the environment and the climate. The introduction and development of environmentally and climate-friendly processes at its suppliers is as important to the Company as the implementation of similar measures at its own production sites.
Environmental and climate protection matters in the supply chain are managed by the central department Global Corporate Responsibility and Public Affairs, which is responsible for setting out internal guidelines and standards. In addition, the central Environmental Management Team, in close consultation with local managers, coordinates corresponding measures at the own production sites. The Managing Board is kept regularly informed of progress on the achievement of the Group’s environmental and climate protection targets.
By signing the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action in 2018 under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), HUGO BOSS, together with other companies in the fashion industry, strives for a net zero in climate-damaging emissions by 2050. Within the scope of its “CLAIM 5” strategy, HUGO BOSS has set itself the target of being climate-neutral in its own area of responsibility by 2030 and along the entire value chain by 2045.
HUGO BOSS works to protect the climate worldwide with numerous measures and initiatives at its own sites and along its supply chain. In order to define suitable measures, as part of the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, the Company engages with, amongst others, task forces dealing with issues such as “raw materials” and “energy efficiency and renewable energies in the manufacturing process”.
In line with the UNFCCC, the Company works together with its suppliers to reduce environmental impacts sustainably along the supply chain. Compliance with statutory environmental standards is an integral part of the supplier contracts. In addition, the Environmental Policy published by HUGO BOSS on its website describes a variety of environmental protection principles, both for the Company’s own production sites and for those of its suppliers. It reflects the activities and objectives pursued by the Company within the framework of the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action. The Company’s Supplier Code of Conduct also contains comprehensive guidelines for compliance with environmental protection requirements. In addition, HUGO BOSS sets binding sustainability criteria for the use and processing of textile fibers and materials for its suppliers in the form of a publicly accessible RESPONSIBLE Product Policy.
As part of regular environmental audits, HUGO BOSS records, among other things, the energy management measures put in place by its suppliers and the CO2 emissions of those suppliers. The Company uses external auditors for this purpose. In the event of any violations of environmental requirements being identified, the Company works together with the respective supplier to develop action plans whose implementation is verified in follow-up audits. In order to increase the transparency and measurability of the environmental impact of its partners, HUGO BOSS teamed up with other companies to develop a resource efficiency module (REM) in 2021 that enables suppliers to record their consumption data and is intended to support the reduction of harmful emissions.
The Company also carries out relevant training sessions to inform its suppliers regularly about environmental and climate protection measures and to work toward the establishment of standardized energy and environmental management systems. In 2021, for example, in collaboration with the UNFCCC, as well as other organizations and companies, HUGO BOSS developed the publicly accessible, web-based “Climate Action Training”, to support suppliers in achieving the targets stipulated by the UNFCCC. In 2021, audits and on-site training sessions were again only carried out to a limited extent due to international travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic and to protect all parties involved.
As a member of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), HUGO BOSS works together with other companies to reduce the environmental impacts associated with the cultivation and processing of cotton. Of the materials used by HUGO BOSS, cotton is by far the most extensively used. The BCI takes a holistic approach to sustainable cotton production that takes into account ecological, social and economic considerations.
The impact of the Company’s own production activities on the climate is relatively low compared with that of external suppliers, as the upstream value-adding stages in particular involve processes with high CO2 emissions. Nevertheless, the reduction of energy consumption and CO2 emissions at the own production sites of HUGO BOSS plays an important role. The Group continues to develop its Environmental Management in line with the international standards ISO 14001 (Environmental Management) and ISO 50001 (Energy Management). The site in Izmir (Turkey) – by far the largest of the Company’s own production sites – has been certified under both these standards since 2014.
To further reduce CO2 emissions in its own production sites, the Company is investing primarily in energy-efficient technologies, modernizing and renovating technical facilities and increasing the share of renewable energies. For example, HUGO BOSS has been obtaining its energy from renewable sources at all its own facilities since 2020. In addition, the Company plans to commission a photovoltaic system at its production facility in Izmir (Turkey) in the first half of 2022. The knowledge obtained through its own environmental management will help the Company work together with its suppliers to make further progress in reducing environmental and climate impacts in the supply chain in the coming years.
On its way to climate-neutrality, HUGO BOSS continues to pursue its scientifically based reduction targets recognized by the Science Based Targets Initiative: In this context, the Company intends to effectively reduce its own CO2 emissions by at least 51% by 2030 i.e., without any additional compensation (base year: 2018). Due to the increasing requirements placed on the signatories of the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action by the UNFCCC, HUGO BOSS will revise its climate targets in 2022 and increase its ambitions accordingly. The Company expects that, due to the significant recovery in business activity in 2021, its own CO2 emissions were above the prior-year level, but that a reduction was again achieved compared with the base year 2018 (2020: decrease of 36% compared to 2018). The publication of progress achieved in 2021 and further information on the climate strategy and climate targets of HUGO BOSS can be found in the 2021 Sustainability Report.