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Treading Lightly Wherever We Go

May 07, 2018

We care about our environment and the people who make our clothes. And of course, we care about you. After all, you wear them. When it comes to making your clothes, we’re using sustainable products more and more.

A couple looking out towards the sea, embracing and wearing FatFace clothes.

In 2016, we made a commitment to start making conscious decisions that will have a positive impact on the natural environment, our local communities, and you. We formed our three pillar sustainability strategy to help us achieve this goal, making sure our products are better for everyone, whoever they are in our community.

But we haven’t done this alone. We’ve working hard to grow in a social and environmentally conscious manner. These three pillars are a key part in achieving this, so we want to share them with you

Sourcing responsibly

The garment industry employs millions of people around the world, and is incredibly important for creating income in many developing countries — especially for women, who make up about 75% of the world’s garment workers. We don’t own garment factories. Instead, we work with over 140 factories across 14 countries, including the UK, China, India and Portugal. By maintaining a network of partners around the world, we’re able to source a wide variety of products in the FatFace quality you expect.

We’ve been working with our top 20 suppliers for a combined time of 160 years and throughout that time, our relationships have been built on trust and longevity. We pride ourselves on working with manufacturing partners that share our values, meet our high expectations and recognise that we have a responsibility to address any social and environmental issues that may exist. All our factories undergo a yearly ethical assessment, and we undertake factory improvement projects with key partners as well.

Workers from our factory in Mauritius, creating our check shirt.
More factory workers in the FatFace supply chain, with an 'I made your clothes' sign.

And in order to create quality products that you feel proud to wear, we believe that sustainability starts at the design process. We train our designers and buyers on sustainability, and are working with them to source more sustainable products such as organic cotton, recycled materials from fishing nets and recycled wool for our ranges.

Protecting our environment

We’ve worked really hard to make sure we don’t have a negative impact on the environment. We now use less energy, reducing our carbon footprint by 8% over the past two years. We’ve also installed Smart Meters in 40% of our stores, so we can keep a closer eye on how much energy we’re actually using.

And of course, textile recycling and reducing our packaging is a massive part of our sustainability goals. All our carrier bags, catalogues and bags that your online orders arrive in are now sourced from sustainable sources. But there’s loads more that we can be doing, so we’re currently looking at ways we can push this further to really make a difference to the environment we live in.

Things we’re proud of:

  • We’ve successfully rolled out LED lighting in all new and refitted stores, as well as our new Distribution Centre in Hampshire, reducing our energy use.

  • We’ve created a bag-less footwear box, reducing our carrier bag usage by up to 75,000 carrier bags a year.

  • We’ve increased the amount of sustainable cotton that we buy, and are on track to buy 100% of our cotton from sustainable sources by 2020.

The cotton fields where organic cotton is handpicked ready for clothing.

Supporting local communities

We’re really proud of our brand, heritage and identity, which is why we feel it’s so important to engage, listen to, reward, develop and respect our employees. Not only is diversity, equality, and health and safety very important to us, but we work with a number of people outside the business too, to help them achieve their goals. Here’s just a snapshot of everything we’ve been doing so far…

Our crew, who have been raising money for local charities
  • Since 2015, the Fatface Foundation has raised £400,000 for local UK charities through our ‘Thanks for Giving’ campaign.

  • We continue to help rebuild the homes of over 100 garment workers in Nepal, after their homes were destroyed in the devastating 2015 earthquake.

  • We’ve worked in partnership with the Prince’s Trust on the Tomorrow’s Talent programme; which is an exciting competition to find budding artists and designers. We sell the winning products in our stores and a percentage of profits goes to The Prince's Trust, helping them to continue supporting young people to fulfil their potential.

  • For the last two years, we’ve been working in partnership with Hampshire Cricket in the Community and local schools in Hampshire on the ‘Fresh Face’ project. The aim is to inspire the next generation of students to get involved in business and give them the opportunity to design a FatFace product.

Children on the Fresh Face project, and a collection of Tomorrow's Talent winning designs.

But we’re not stopping there! We have big plans for the future and will keep you up to date on our progress. Be sure to keep an eye out here and in store, where we’ll be telling you more about how we’re working to become more sustainable. To find out a bit more about why caring for cotton matters, read the blog.