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Measuring success

We believe better choices come from thinking about more than the materials we use. We need to use the right tools to measure our progress, too. That’s why we use the Material Environmental Benchmark set by the H&M Group. This framework helps us score each fabric we use based on their environmental impact.

The benchmark uses certified methodologies to investigate key areas of environmental impact, such as global warming and water scarcity. We then incorporate other areas that are important to us – from animal welfare and land management to the way our products are disposed of after use.

Through using these verified third-party methods, we can make sure our data is aligned across the industry – making it easier for our customers to make better choices and follow our progress.

Once we have a better understanding of each fabric, it’s placed into one of four categories.

Category A
Materials with the lowest environmental impact. These are usually recycled, natural or regenerated fibres made from agricultural residue. Regenerative organic farming that prioritises soil health also falls into this category.
Category B
Materials with a low environmental impact. This includes organic and synthetic fibres or plastics made using certified renewable resources. Recycled polyester from PET bottles also falls into this category. However, only recycled fabrics made from other textiles can qualify in category A – as they are seen as truly closing the loop. Some man-made cellulosic fibres can be included in this category, too. For example, FSC certified feedstock that uses less harmful solvents in a closed-loop production process.
Category C
Materials that have less of an impact compared to conventional materials. For example, fibres that are farmed more responsibly, require less water to grow and are cultivated without using harmful pesticides – such as linen or hemp. Synthetic fibres and plastics made with certified, renewable feedstock fall into this category as well. When it comes to man-made fibres, they must be FSC certified using a production process that meets the limits for emissions, as set by the EU Production of Polymers.
Category D
These are often conventional fabrics, made using virgin fibres that need natural resources, such as fossil fuels, to create them.
All materials that fall in the higher categories need to be certified by credible third parties, such as the GRS (Global Recycled Standard) and OCS (Organic Content Standard). If no certifications exist, we create alternative ways to prove the fabrics have been sourced responsibly. For us to reach our goal of 100% sustainably sourced materials by 2025, our teams are working to make sure all the materials we use fall into category C or above.

What we do at COS is also part of a wider vision with the H&M Group. If you would like to read about this in more depth, explore our Material Ethics and the other steps we’re taking here.

Discover Sustainability at COS