Net Zero: foregrounding sustainable uniforms

Net Zero refers to the state of offsetting greenhouse gas emissions by reducing emissions and absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. 

Net Zero refers to the state of offsetting greenhouse gas emissions by reducing emissions and absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. 

The UN has stated that in order to reduce global warming as outlined in the Paris Agreement, greenhouse gas emissions must fall by 7.6% annually, from 2020.

In 2019, the UK became the first major economy in the world to legislate a binding target to reach Net Zero emissions by 2050. 

In the professional clothing industry, procurement managers and buyers are placing greater value on the sustainable credentials of textiles now than ever before, primarily the incorporation of recycled materials and life cycle cost analyses into the procurement process.

Waste reduction

According to Sustainable Global Resources Ltd, the UK is one of Europe’s largest workwear consumers at just under 18% of the combined 28 EU member states.

Buyers have the potential to exert vast influence on the industry as a collective force for advancing sustainable criteria in uniforms. 

It is imperative that buyers engage with stakeholders on sustainable safety and practicality measures and ask for ethical considerations in regards to supply chain transparency. 

The procurement cycle must consider not just stakeholders involved in sourcing, but also the users, collectors and recyclers of professional clothing.

In this way, buyers can leverage their influence and create demand for circular professional clothing. 

The PCIAW® is spearheading the UBN, which is hosted by Karen Sparrow, Partnerships Activation Manager at Virgin Galactic. This exclusive networking opportunity is designed with education and networking in mind, set to inspire bold innovation on the journey to Net Zero, with a collection of partners around the world.

Finding a solution

The PCIAW® collaborated with Business in the Community in a report titled ‘A Uniform Approach,’ which highlights how to improve sustainable procurement criteria of professional clothing.’ 

The report developed a set of circular procurement principles which can be used in the design and assessment of tenders, including: 

  • Lifecycle Costing
  • Balanced Scoring Assessments
  • Circular Business Models
PCIAW® and Business in the Community are joining the Uniform Buyers’ Network (UBN) to host an exclusive, first of its kind closed-shop networking event for procurers of professional clothing at the PCIAW® Summit, Networking & Awards, taking place in the morning of the 3rd November 2021.

The reports practical recommendations are to optimise use of professional clothing, buy ‘better’ and more sustainable, and engage suppliers and stakeholders across the value chain of professional clothing.

For buyers of uniforms, corporatewear, workwear and PPE, learn the ways of buying better on the journey to net zero.

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