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COPENHAGEN – Danish fashion retailer Bestseller says it saw an increase of nine per cent in its scope 3 emissions in 2021 compared to a 2018 baseline. The rise, attributed to growth of the business, shows the huge challenge faced by fashion brands in decoupling growth from emissions.

Scope 3 emissions cover mainly supply chains. In Bestseller’s case, the business has committed to reducing absolute scope 3 GHG emissions from purchased goods and services, and upstream and downstream transportation by 30 per cent from a 2018 base year. The company suggested it will seek to meet this target, set as part of its work with the Science based Targets Initiative, by working more and more with only best in class suppliers.

The nine percent increase in Bestseller’s total scope 3 emissions comes despite a significant reduction in its transport emissions, which will be a concern to the business as 2030 draws closer.

Bestseller said in its annual sustainability report that production of raw materials and the processes required to turn them into yarn, fabric and garments account for over 50 per cent of its total impact in scope 3.

Says the report: “2021 has been a financially strong year and we have seen an increase on number of products sold. This means that material uptake has increased and a higher amount of materials have been being processed, produced into garments and transported to the warehouses.”

“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,” said Anders Holch Povlsen, Bestseller’s CEO and owner.

“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,” added Dorte Rye Olsen, head of sustainability at Bestseller.

“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.”

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,” she adds.

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