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April 20, 2022

Asos outlines four new sustainability goals for 2030

Online fashion retailer Asos has updated its Fashion with Integrity 2030 strategy to include four new sustainability and people-based goals.

By Laura Husband

Asos has announced four new goals that it aims to achieve by 2030 as part of its sustainability mission, which are to be net zero, more circular, transparent and diverse.

The company explains in its ‘Fashion with Integrity Our 2030 Strategy’ report that it’s proud of the progress it has made so far but it’s now time “for even bolder action”.

Asos says achieving these goals by 2030 will make the company a net zero emissions business that embraces circular design systems and uses 100% more sustainable and recycled materials in its own-brand products and packaging.

The report states: “Our progress will be driven by a more diverse team with equity and inclusion at its heart, leading a business where transparency and human rights remain central to our approach.”

In the introduction of the report Asos’ CEO Nick Beighton points out Asos is a firm believer of being judged for what it does and not what it says.

He explains: “That’s why, just over a decade ago, we launched our Fashion with Integrity programme, which has guided our approach to business and our drive to be a responsible company that delivers positive benefits for people and minimises its impact on the planet.”

He also points out that in the years since launch, there has been a welcome and growing interest in the people who make fashion and an increasing understanding of the industry’s impact on the planet, from consumers, colleagues, and society at large. Along with that has come an even greater imperative to act.

He says: “As we focus on our mission to become the world’s number one destination for fashion-loving twentysomethings, these goals will help us to be a truly global retailer in a responsible and sustainable way.”

Asos’s four new sustainability goals for 2030

The four new goals sit within Asos’ planet and people pillars. The planet pillar is focused on minimising the company’s impact on the planet, while the people pillar aims to deliver positive benefits for its people.

Asos’s planet goals for 2030:

Be Net Zero

“We’ll achieve net zero carbon emissions across our value chain by 2030, driven by emissions reduction targets, and will be carbon neutral in our direct operations by 2025.”

Asos’s plan:

Asos explains it has calculated science-based targets with the Carbon Trust and verified them with the Science Based Targets initiative to hold the company accountable and drive progress.

Asos says: “Our Scope 1 and 2 (direction emissions) targets commit us to reducing emissions intensity in line with requirements to limit the global temperature increase to a maximum 1.5°C, the target set by the 2015 Paris Agreement. We have set goals covering more than two-thirds of our Scope 3 emissions, to further drive carbon reductions across the Asos value chain. Our Be More Circular target will also be key to reducing emissions associated with product manufacture in Scope 3.”

Asos plans to build on its work to reduce operational emissions and plans to offset all emissions resulting from its offices, fulfilment centres, deliveries and returns from 2025.

The company acknowledges the areas of the business with the highest emissions is product manufacture so it plans to reduce product supply chain emissions by targeting fibre switching and moving to more sustainable production processes. This includes using renewable energy and supporting suppliers to use energy and resources more efficiently.

From this year, the company says it will report CO2 emissions for its supply chain as well as its operations and will work together with suppliers and brand partners to accelerate change at scale.

From 2030 Asos will offset all residual direct and indirect CO2 emissions in its value chain through certified offset projects.

Asos’s be net zero KPIs:

  • Reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions/order by 87% by 2030 vs 2018/19 baseline.
  • Reduce own-brand product emissions/GBP profit by 58% by 2030 vs 2018/19 baseline.
  • Reduce transportation emissions/GBP profit by 2030 vs 2018/19 baseline.
  • Two thirds of third-party brands (by emissions) signed up to setting targets in line with SBTi requirements by 2025.

Be More Circular

“By 2030, we’ll have shifted towards more circular systems, ensuring 100% of ASOS own-brand products and packaging are made from more sustainable or recycled materials, prioritising circular design and facilitating product recovery programmes.”

Asos’s plan:

Asos is setting a goal to use 100% more sustainable or recycled materials in its own-brand products and packaging by 2030, which it says will put it on a path to innovation and investment. Asos says there will be challenges in achieving its ambitions, from recycling infrastructure and material availability to inspiring behavioural change. By setting goals, it hopes to further stimulate industry demand for more sustainable materials and drive innovation, including in next generation materials, supported by investments in its own textile recovery programmes.

Asos plans to be an active voice in the development of agreed circular design strategies across the industry. Through its membership of Textiles 2030, its partnership with Global Fashion Agenda and membership of the Ellen MacArthuer Foundation and work with the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, Asos hopes to play an active role in driving industry change.

The company also published its circular guide this year to help industry colleagues understand the design strategies used to launch its circular range in 2020.

Asos will map its supply chain to Tiers 4 and 5, the material level, which will give it greater understanding of where it can drive impact, enabling it to make better material choices.

Asos’ be more circular KPIs

  • 100% of own-brand products made from recycled or more sustainable materials by 2030, with pathways in place for prioritising high-impact materials such as an existing commitment to sourcing 100% more sustainable cotton by 2025.
  • By 2023 the company will publish a public-facing circularity strategy that will allow it to embed circular design strategies by 2030.
  • 100% of own-brand packaging made from certified sustainable or recycled materials and widely recyclable by 2025.
  • Facilitate programmes for recycling and reuse in key markets by 2030.

Asos’ people goals for 2030:

Be Transparent

“By 2030, we’ll have led improvements in supply chain transparency and human rights within our supply chain and the wider industry.”

Asos’s plan:

Asos plans to use its unique position as a retailer of its own brands and third-party brands to drive transparency, raise standards and influence change.

Asos plans to achieve full transparency down to Tier 5 for its own supply chain by 2030 at the latest by investing in the necessary technology and working with partners. Asos plans to build transparency in other areas such as worker wages, union membership and audit results as it approaches 2030.

Asos says its partnership with Anti-Slavery International and its Global Framework Agreement with IndustriALL Global Union have been central to its approach on human and rights and ethical trade since 2017. To take the programme forward, Asos will develop and publish a wide-ranging human rights strategy and report every year from 2023.

The aim is to set out a strategy and progress on living wages, access to remedy, freedom of association and gender empowerment, which are key to ensuring human rights are protected and respected.

Asos also aims to have all third-party brands signed up to its transparency pledge by 2025. By 2030 it will expect all brand partners to have gone beyond the minimum requirements of the Transparency Pledge to meet the broader responsibilities to workers in the supply chain.

Asos’ be transparent KPIs

  • 100% of Asos own-brand products will have supply chains mapped to raw material level by 2030, extending its existing supply chain mapping.
  • 100% of third-party brands on Asos will have committed to the Transparency Pledge and new Asos Ethical Trading policy by 2025 at the latest.
  • From 2023, Asos will publish a human rights strategy and implementation report focused on freedom of association, gender empowerment, wages and modern slavery.
  • Customers will be able to view and interact with information on the sustainability credentials of 100% of Asos-brand products by 2030.

Be Diverse

“We’ll drive diversity, equity and inclusion across every aspect of our business, with a focus on leadership representation and ensuring every ‘Asoser’ can be their authentic self at work.”

Asos’s plan

Asos is going to diversity its talent pipeline and improve its female and ethnic minority representation in leadership and engineering, product and science roles.

From 2025 it will ensure that no more than 75% of any one gender or ethnicity is included in a shortlist for any role and its putting inclusivity at the heart of its Employer Value Proposition.

Building on its Future Leaders programme, Asos is developing a Technical Skills Development programme for women in engineering and science. The company will also continue to prioritise internal education and awareness programmes and introduce extra internal workplace equality networks.

The company also acknowledges that it needs to address disability, neurodiversity, sexual orientation, family status, gender identify and religion to help employees to feel like their authentic self at work.

Asos’ be diverse KPIs

  • At least 50% female and over 15% ethnic minority representation across the company’s combined leadership team by 2023 and at every leadership level by 2030.
  • Over 40% female representation in engineering, product and science (technology) roles by 2030.
  • Zero statistically significant differences in engagement scores and functional attrition rates across all demographics from 2030, with all employees able to be their authentic selves at work.
  • A published diversity, equity, inclusion strategy and roadmap for the Asos platform, its customers and people by 2023.

Asos reported an 87% drop in first-half adjusted earnings earlier this month on the back of supply chain challenges, and has warned of further impact from inflation and the Russia-Ukraine war.

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