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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 how beneficial they are to the environment.

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 third-party and verified 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, they are placed into one of four categories.

Category A
Materials with the lowest environmental impact. These are usually recycled, natural or regenerated fibers made from agricultural residue. Regenerative organic farming that prioritizes soil health also falls into this category.
Category B
Materials with a low environmental impact. This includes organic and synthetic fibers or plastics made using certified renewable resources. Recycled polyester from PET bottles also falls into this category. Even though it is recycled, only recycled fabrics made from other textiles can qualify in category A – as they are seen as truly closing the loop. Some manmade cellulosic fibers 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, fibers that are farmed more responsibly, that require less water to grow and cultivated without using harmful pesticides – such as linen or hemp. Synthetic fibers and plastics made with certified, renewable feedstock fall into this category as well. When it comes to manmade fibers, 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 fibers 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