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BESTSELLER’s Sustainability Report 2019 is now available and outlines the significant steps taken in the first year of our Fashion FWD strategy.

While the report covers 2019, it is naturally written in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and reiterates BESTSELLER’s commitment to accelerating the fashion industry towards a sustainable future. 

You can find BESTSELLER's Sustainability Report 2019 here. 

Please read Anders Holch Povlsen's introduction to the report below. 


The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devasting global impact both in terms of health and economics. It has left lasting scars on our entire industry, our business and our partners throughout the entire value chain.  

The fashion business is in ‘reset’ mode. In BESTSELLER, we have endured severe losses, and have had to say goodbye to many dear colleagues. However, more than ever it is evident to us that sustainability is an absolute basic principle for creating a resilient world with thriving businesses, and we must provide products to our customers with a continuously increasing inherent value. 

The ongoing crisis has emphasised that our strategic partnerships are crucial. The importance of strong relationships with our partners and suppliers, through which we have grown our common business over the years, really show their value during these uncertain times. We are grateful for all these relationships. 

Through responsible business practices, we aim to retain as many jobs as possible throughout the value chain, where continuous improvements on safety, health, and labour rights remain a core focus. We have seen, and will unfortunately continue to see, job losses throughout the value chain due to this crisis. In the coming years, we must do our utmost to regain what is lost. With a long-term approach we can work with our partners to build a more resilient business, and contribute to the positive development of our industry. We, as well as our trusted partners, must continue to invest in sustainability to overcome the crisis.  

We cannot lose momentum on the progress and the important initiatives we have worked hard for in recent years. Some things might take longer, and some must be accelerated. Working towards achieving true sustainability will always be a work in progress. 

We need to adapt to the reality we act in – and act to achieve the reality we wish to be a part of. 

Achieving true sustainability as a business is a complex matter. We need to be able to think fast, align and adapt internal company processes and ways of working to ever-changing market needs, meeting the demands of the future within planetary boundaries, and bringing positive impact to people and local communities. 

While this remains a big challenge, it also opens up new territory where we can explore how innovation can counterbalance and bring positive environmental and social impacts to the fashion industry. 

There is a compelling business case for those who apply systems thinking to embed sustainability into their operations to achieve long-term environmental, financial and social value. 

The widescale shutdown of offices, production, transport and so much more because of COVID-19, and the ingenuity of our colleagues in finding new ways of working in the midst of this, has also stressed the absolute necessity for us to embrace a digital future. Through our app-based B2B platform, we have now developed livestreamed sales events, we have put focus on 3D design, digital samples, digital showrooms, digital wages and more. All this will not only strengthen our business, but also significantly affect our environmental footprint. 

Since we launched our sustainability strategy, Fashion FWD, we have taken some important steps in building a foundation that will enable us to address some of the fashion industry’s key sustainability challenges. 

2019 was an activity-filled year for us. Notable highlights included becoming a signatory of the G7 Fashion Pact, an industry-wide movement focusing on climate, biodiversity and oceans, with the aim of aligning the fashion industry with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

As we continue our work with HERproject™, we are pleased to have intensified our partnership with BSR to become a Catalyst Member and a long-term partner of HERproject™, further accelerating our goal of supporting 100,000 women in tier 1 factories. At the end of 2019, we have sourced a combined total of over 74 percent more sustainable cotton and we see promising progress on the use of other more sustainable materials across our brands. 

We understand that even with a solid and ambitious strategy in place, it remains important to seek support in this transformation. The task at hand is a great one. It is only through collaborations with industry-wide stakeholders and initiatives that we can begin to tackle these challenges, such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, human rights issues and circularity. As a company with a wide reach, we know we have a large responsibility and sustainability is increasingly embedded in our culture and in everything we do. 

Anders Holch Povlsen 

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