UPDATE JAN 14, 2020: As a result of the Australian bushfire crisis we have pledged to 5x our carbon offsets for 2020.
“I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.” - Greta Thunberg
Greta’s words have never been more poignant here in Australia as bushfires rage across the country, burning 3 MILLION hectares of bushland and blanketing Sydney in air pollution that makes Beijing look like the alpine meadow in the Sound of Music.
Look out the window and it's pretty bloody obvious that our house is not only metaphorically, but also very much actually, on fire. Time is fast running out to act on the climate crisis but no one in charge seems to be even the slightest bit worried.
And whilst we all have a personal responsibility to consume consciously, this is not a mess of our individual making. The only effective response to address the crisis of our generation will be bold government policy (currently MIA) mixed with sweeping change to the way business is done across every industry.
Carbon neutral is the next step in continuing to lead by example.
Business can either wait to have change imposed via legislation or instead we can take the lead and step into the vacuum left by our rudderless governments.
Here at Citizen Wolf we’re building the future of fashion and so we have a moral responsibility to lead by example and change the industry to be default sustainable. Our mission is nothing less than proving an alternative model to the take-make-waste paradigm is not only possible but also desirable and economically viable.
Our mission is nothing less than proving an alternative model to the take-make-waste paradigm is not only possible but also desirable and economically viable.
We’re extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished so far in terms of sustainability and today we take the next logical step by making every single Tshirt produced in 2019 carbon neutral!
It’s our little Xmas present to all our amazing customers who have supported us throughout the year.
What are carbon neutral Tshirts?
Think of carbon neutrality for your Tshirts like an over-the-air update for your Tesla (real or imaginary). Without doing anything and without costing anything extra, your Citizen Wolf Tshirt today is quantifiably better than it was yesterday.
For clarity, carbon neutral doesn’t mean zero Carbon Dioxide (CO2) was emitted but rather that for every tonne of carbon that we created (aka the 'embodied carbon') we sequester the same amount to balance it out to ‘net zero emissions’.
Think of carbon neutrality for your Tshirts like an over-the-air update for your Tesla.
We’ve audited our production process and calculated the embodied CO2 consumed in the production of every Tshirt this year to be ~30 tonnes which we’ve offset via the New Leaf Project, a Tasmanian biodiversity project that aims to rewild 27,390 hectares of different forest back to high quality wildlife habitat, much of which had been previously used for commercial forestry.
To get a sense of just how much land that actually is, we've created a map of the equivalent area overlaid on our hometown of Sydney and it’s basically the entire central city from Bondi down to La Perouse, out to Padstow, up to Bankstown and The Olympic Park and back again to the CBD!
Imagine all that space… as forest!
48% less CO2 than fast fashion.
A typical fast fashion Tee creates 5.6kg CO2 whereas a Citizen Wolf Tee creates only 2.9kg CO2 - equivalent to a 48% reduction!
In order to know how much carbon we needed to offset, we had to audit the CO2 consumption across every stage of creating your Tee - all the way from farm to hanger.
The impact can be broken down into five key stages which we’ve used to calculate a baseline following Peter Drucker the famous management consultant who said: "What gets measured, gets managed".
- Cut & Sew
Drawing from data at the Stockholm Environment Institute (2005) on the carbon footprint of your average 100% Cotton Tee mass produced by any fast fashion brand, we’ve calculated the best approximation of the footprint of a Citizen Wolf 100% Organic Cotton Tee and put them side by side for comparison.
We'll release more detailed workings soon, but the short story is the true carbon cost of a typical fast fashion cotton Tee is 5.6kg CO2 whereas a Citizen Wolf organic cotton Tee creates only 2.9kg CO2, equivalent to a 48% reduction!
"What gets measured, gets managed." - Peter Drucker
Just the beginning...
While this is a great result and validates our new and better way of making clothes, it’s also not good enough when over 11,000 sedate scientists are telling us it’s time to panic. Or as one particularly insightful 16 year old named Greta says: “I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.”
And that’s exactly why we’ve decided to become carbon neutral, because it’s the right thing to do for the only planet we’ve got.
This is (still) just the start of our journey and we’ll be announcing a number of initiatives next year to make even more positive impact. Because now that we know where we stand we are able to also measure improvement over time.
It won’t be easy, but the alternative of doing nothing is far, far worse.
PS aren’t carbon offsets controversial?
There’s no shortage of dodgy examples around the world of carbon sequestration projects setup by cowboys with spurious benefits. So it was extremely important for us to choose a project that was verified to the highest international standards and one that we’d be proud to stand behind.
The New Leaf project is in fact the only Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) accredited project in Australia and when it was setup in 2010 by the Tasmanian Land Conservancy (TLC), New Leaf was also the biggest private conservation deal in Australian history.