In order to involve more employees in sustainability, HUGO BOSS regularly organizes sustainability events to enrich and expand the employees’ perspective on sustainability.
In terms of sustainability, the company's aims lie more specifically in cotton. By 2020, 50% of cotton used is to be sourced as sustainable cotton following the company's cotton guidelines. By 2025, this share should rise to at least 90%. In 2018, HUGO BOSS already purchased around 40% of our cotton from sustainable sources. Trying to clarify what it means to make sustainable cotton the company has to take into account a range of criteria determining the sustainability of cotton. All of this is done while optimizing the efforts with cotton sustainability by collaborating with a small number of standard-setting organizations such as Better Cotton Initiative, Cotton made in Africa, Cotton LEADS and YESS: Yarn Ethically & Sustainably Sourced.
Another target is sourcing 90% of the procurement volume from finished goods suppliers (including their own production facilities) by 2020 who have achieved a satisfactory or better result in their last audit. As of December 31, 2018, the proportion was 91% (2017: 84%). The last example regards climate protection: As part of the UN’s Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, reducing CO2 emissions is a core element. HUGO BOSS pledged itself to the goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 30% by 2030.
As we can see the brand has a concrete set of targets, these give the necessary orientation while on the other services to measure sustainability success and achievements on an annual basis. At the moment the targets fall on the years 2020 and 2025 and a continuous process is being carried out to assess the development in this regard.
In addition, HUGO BOSS is a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the third year in a row, which benchmarks the company's engagement compared to other companies in the industry. In recent years the company has been collaborating with different organizations, associations, industry initiatives, and companies. For example, the Global Climate Action for Fashion working group of the United Nations, the German Textilbündnis or Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals amongst many others. The company collaborates closely with various start-ups, such as berlin-based Circular Fashion, which focusses on promoting a circular fashion approach within the industry through training sessions and other tools.
The circular steps the company is already implementing or planning to integrate in the close future are based on the given ever-increasing demand for resources to feed and clothe the world. HUGO BOSS considers the integration of circular economy principles to be an important element to ensure sustainability within the fashion supply-chain. They started with training for their designers and will integrate circular principles into all HUGO BOSS design briefings from the Spring/Summer Collection 2020 onwards. They collaborate with the Berlin-based Circular Fashion startup and organize workshops and knowledge transfer between the different responsible departments to hopefully achieve an ongoing use of resources.
It is clear to the fashion industry that one of the biggest motivations to be sustainable as a brand is consumer demand. HUGO BOSS communicates all their behind-the-scenes sustainability efforts to consumers. They communicate sustainability criteria broadly via hanging tags with information on sustainable materials such as recycled padding and sustainable down. The integration of information into the online shop where customers can now filter the “Responsible” product portfolio. Besides, they get information via customer newsletters or can visit dedicated sub-pages created for the company's dedicated responsible capsule collections.
Like other brands, HUGO BOSS is tackling and developing its paths around the topic of sustainability and is trying to aim high and set targets respectively. On that note, it is important to highlight that HUGO BOSS replied to our questionnaire. The company even shared more information than could be found on their different communications channels. They shared their efforts around sustainable strategies, aims and action plans within the brand but also regarding external collaborations and hopes for the future of the industry.
This is the standard of transparency we are looking for.