The new jeans build on M&Ss latest Plan A 2025 sustainability plan, launched earlier this summer

The new jeans build on M&S's latest Plan A 2025 sustainability plan, launched earlier this summer

Retailer Marks & Spencer has launched a range of more sustainable selvedge denim jeans as part of its commitment to address the social, ethical and environmental impacts of its products.

The slim fit men's jeans are available in four colours, selling for GBP45 (US$58), with recycled polyester thread and zip tape and a biodegradable leather patch.

They are also made from responsibly sourced cotton through the Better Cotton Initiative, which helps make global cotton production better for the people who produce it and the environment it grows in.

M&S says its goal was to engineer a jean that was hardwearing, had an even lower environmental impact in terms of its overall energy use, and used sustainable finishes, "whilst keeping a focus on the style and quality that our customers want."

Among considerations were the fabric (where the raw materials came from and how they are dyed), the wash, achieving an authentic denim look, and selvedge denim.

The retailer already works with Jeanologia, which specialises in sustainable technologies for garment finishing, to reduce chemicals, water and energy used on a selection of its jeans.

Jeanologia has also developed Environmental Impact Measuring software to analyse the environmental impact in the washing process. It is divided into three categories – low, medium and high impact – and the benchmark score of EIM for a pair of jeans is 33 or less for low impact.

By using a washing process that used less time in the machine compared to a standard wash – which meant less water, less energy and fewer chemicals – the EIM results for the new jeans came back with a score of just 21.

The thread and zip tape were made from recycled polyester, and the leather back-patch is bio-degradable for easier disposal at the end of the life of the jeans.

"We've done everything possible to minimise the impact on the environment," M&S says, adding: "We are now in search of how to reduce this score across more of our ranges."

The new jeans build on M&S's latest Plan A 2025 sustainability plan, launched earlier this summer.

Its commitments include 100% of M&S products having at least one Plan A sustainability attribute by 2020; and for every product to have attributes that address all priority social, ethical and environmental impacts by 2025. The company also says that by 2019 all its cotton will be sourced more sustainably.

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