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BESTSELLER reaches important climate target. Still, the most difficult climate reductions lie ahead

In almost 100 pages, BESTSELLER unfolds its latest steps in the right direction. This is done in our sustainability reporting for the year 2021, covering everything from climate and environmental impacts, over working conditions, human rights and ethics, to recycled materials and innovation. While we are showing good progress in many areas, the report also clarifies key challenges that require concrete actions.

In 2021, BESTSELLER reached some important milestones. From the completion of a new binding international agreement on workplace safety in the supply chain, the connection of Northern Europe's largest solar power plant to the European electricity grid, to broad investments in innovative solutions and opportunities that will accelerate BESTSELLER towards a sustainable reality.

All are great milestones, however, we also wish to be open and transparent when it comes to the challenges that also characterise the sustainability agenda.

”There is no doubt that we face some fundamental issues – both in relation to usual ways of doing business and in relation to our planet. But we are determined to do our part, and we will do our utmost to improve ourselves,” says Anders Holch Povlsen, BESTSELLER’s CEO and owner.

Better data and decoupling growth from resources

In 2018, BESTSELLER joined the globally recognised Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), which, rooted in data and science, makes it possible to set measurable and ambitious climate targets. 2021 is the first year in which BESTSELLER reports on its climate targets, and the last few years' focus on improving and expanding both data collection and data quality provides a good starting point for the coming years, so that the efforts can be optimally targeted. At the same time, the increased use of data also testifies to increasing complexity and the great task that lies ahead.

“We are very aware that the vast majority of BESTSELLER's total climate footprint is in the indirect value chain, and that this is where we really need to rethink our business model. At the same time, we believe that all changes have to start with ourselves,” says Dorte Rye Olsen, Head of Sustainability at BESTSELLER.

The latter is clearly reflected in the figures: with the transition to 100 percent renewable energy as a vital factor – via the opening of HEARTLAND's solar power plant – BESTSELLER reaches one of its overall climate targets at the end of 2021.

In fact, the transition to renewable energy has taken us past our goal of a 50 percent reduction, which is thus achieved already in the first reporting year, a full nine years before the deadline.

Good progress – but huge task still ahead

In the meantime, however, BESTSELLER has experienced significant and positive financial growth, which challenges the second overall climate target for absolute reductions in the supply chain – the so-called scope 3.

The nine percent increase in BESTSELLER's total scope 3 emissions comes despite a significant reduction in our transport emissions. These have been achieved through collaborations with freight companies such as Maersk, ensuring that the fashion company's overseas transport becomes climate neutral.

“Our data show that we have managed to reduce the climate impact per product, by e.g. using alternative materials. However, our total emissions for scope 3 have increased due to our growth,” says Dorte Rye Olsen.

She points out that decoupling increased greenhouse gas emissions from economic growth is one of the key challenges in relation to the climate.

“Indirect CO2 emissions necessitate changes in areas further away from your influence and in other companies, which requires clear incentives, close cooperation, increased investments and not least data transparency. In general, there is a need for systemic changes throughout the value chain,” says Dorte Rye Olsen.

The above requires an ongoing consolidation of BESTSELLER's supply chain. An estimate shows that we can reduce our climate footprint by 50 percent in our primary supply chain by reducing the number of suppliers, while working with those with a strong environmental record and who have ambitious climate strategies.

BESTSELLER's CEO, Anders Holch Povlsen, agrees that there is a need to accelerate further:

“To achieve the ambitious goals we have set for ourselves, we need to increase our contributions to – and investments in – innovation, as well as take concrete steps to sever the connection between business growth and resource consumption. This is far from an easy undertaking and it demands collective action in all areas from raw materials to end consumer and beyond. Business ambitions can no longer come at the expense of the planet.”

Find BESTSELLER’s sustainability report for 2021 here.

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