Mixing timeless basics and modern designs, fashion label Bassike is a brand that gets the Australian aesthetic right. But beyond laidback culture, a core value of Australian consumers rests in our affinity for conservation and protecting our beautiful environment.
With the fashion industry being one of the largest global contributors to waste and overconsumption, it’s difficult to wrap our heads around how fashion can co-exist with sustainability, or better yet, bolster our eco-efforts. But one way Bassike has tackled this conundrum is by reaching complete carbon neutrality across multiple operations of the business.
As of now, the brand has officially been certified under the Australian government-backed Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard, thanks to thoughtful practices around their operational emissions including; utilities for head office and eight retail stores; global freight between customers, partners and suppliers; staff travel and commute; third party services such as cleaning and printing; and waste and recycling.
Co-founder and Director of Sustainability & Supply Chain of Bassike, Mary Lou Ryan shared the details of their commitment to greener operations in a statement:
"It is daunting to consider that the fashion industry is responsible for 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions – equal to the combined annual emissions of France, Germany and the United Kingdom. With these startling figures in mind, we set out to first understand and measure our carbon footprint as an organisation, followed by managing and minimising our emissions intensity by improving our operations and working back with our partners to implement positive change.
“The final step towards carbon neutrality involves offsetting any emissions that you cannot remove or reduce, by supporting certified projects that deliver social, environmental, and economic benefits to the community. we have consciously chosen to support projects that align with our operational footprint, both here in Australia and in other key locations abroad.”
While this is a huge step for a brand of Bassike’s size, Ryan reaffirms with full transparency the need to keep moving forward with their plans to do more. “Achieving carbon neutrality as an organisation does not mean we are at the end of our journey,” she wrote. “From here, we will work through this same measure, reduce and offset process annually to continue reducing our operational emissions, while also working towards expanding our measurement of scope 3 to include our supply chain.” she said.
So, what exactly does it mean to be ‘carbon neutral’?
You’ve likely heard the term before. Perhaps you’ve ticked the green box and paid a little extra on a plane ticket to ‘offset’ your purchase? Well in fashion, it’s a little more complicated than coughing up extra dollars.
To begin, we’d have to get into carbon emissions. For those of you who aren’t familiar with what they are, carbon emissions are greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, produced by human activity. To put it very plainly, they are the numero uno contributor to global warming as carbon dioxide actively traps hot air in our atmosphere, causing temperatures to rise.
Carbon neutrality is a process that ensures the carbon emissions inevitably produced from an organisation or activity (such as shipping goods via air travel) have been neutralised through means of both reducing emissions wherever possible, and ‘offsetting’ the remainder of those that are unavoidable.
What does it mean to 'offset' carbon emissions?
To ‘offset’ these emissions, companies engage in globally recognised practices that aim to rectify this environmental damage. Some ways they may do this is through investing in large-scale projects that reduce or remove emissions from the atmosphere entirely, such as reforestation and renewable energy solutions.
What must a company do to qualify as 'carbon neutral certified'?
A company can acquire certification when its net carbon emissions are equal to zero. Essentially, this formal accreditation can be achieved through an official audit of a company's operations to ensure they reach a rigorous standard of sustainable practices, as dictated by the Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard (the Standard).