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UK-based Superdry’s rating was recently updated from “Not Good Enough” to “It’s a Start”. For the latest updates, check the brand’s rating. In this companion piece, we explore some of the brand’s prior claims to “become the most sustainable listed global fashion brand by 2030”. While they are making some commendable strides on the environmental front, we find no evidence it’s paying workers a living wage. This article is based on the Superdry rating published in April 2022.
Superdry is making a start on sustainability
With more than 740 Superdry stores in 61 different countries, UK-based Superdry is a clothing brand with a significant presence around the world. We decided it was high time we took a closer look at the brand’s sustainable practices.
Founded in 2003, Superdry mixes Americana and Japanese inspirations and describes itself as “energy, creativity, an incubator for a new visual identity, inspired by community, culture, and collaboration.”
The brand also aims to “become the most sustainable listed global fashion brand by 2030”, but how realistic is it? How is Superdry impacting people, the planet, and animals? How ethical is Superdry?
Superdry’s environment rating is “It’s a Start”. The brand uses some eco-friendly materials, including Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) cotton, in 30% of its cotton ranges. Superdry also reuses some of its offcuts to minimise textile waste.
It has set a deadline to eliminate hazardous chemicals by 2030 but there is no evidence it is on track to meet its target just yet. When it comes to water, Superdry says it “will baseline [its] water footprint in 2022, with the aim to reduce the water [it uses] in manufacturing [its] garments by 20% by 2025 and 40% by 2030”, and it’s good to see these water reduction initiatives in action across its supply chain.
Superdry’s labour rating is also “Not Good Enough”. The brand proudly states it has “completed Phase 1 of [its] Respect and Dignity programme in India, empowering over 37% of [its] third-party factory workforce”. But this is not enough.
Some of its supply chain is certified by Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit – SMETA Best Practice Guidance and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). It received a score of 31-40% in the 2021 Fashion Transparency Index.
Worryingly, there is no evidence Superdry implements practices to support diversity and inclusion in most of its supply chain. We also found no evidence the brand ensures payment of a living wage. “Leading positive change” sounds good, but making sure workers are paid and treated fairly is better.
Superdry goes back up to “It’s a Start” for animal welfare. The brand has a formal animal welfare policy aligned with the Five Freedoms and traces most animal products to the first production stage. But despite not using fur, exotic animal skin, or angora, it still uses leather, exotic animal hair, wool (though certified by the Responsible Wool Standard) and down (certified by the Responsible Down Standard).
Overall rating: It’s a Start
With an overall rating of “It’s a Start”, Superdry still has work to do to achieve its goal of becoming one of the most sustainable fashion brands in the world. The brand should start incorporating more sustainable and non-animal-derived materials and ensure it is on track with its elimination of hazardous chemicals. But more importantly, it needs to ensure workers across the entire supply chain are paid a living wage. There’s no sustainability without decent pay.
Note that Good On You ratings consider hundreds of issues, and it is not possible to list every relevant issue in a summary of the brand’s performance. For more information, see our How We Rate page and our FAQs.
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