Our goal from the beginning has been to create timeless high-quality products that are made responsibly. We do not take shortcuts in the development of our caps and are proud of the close relationships we have formed with our suppliers and factories. Creating a product that is sustainable, ethically crafted and has a longer lifespan is our top priority - and something we are continuously striving to improve. In every decision we make, we consider the long-term impact on our people, partners and the planet. It is our hope that our customers will adopt this mindset and only purchase a cap when they need one. By choosing quality over quantity, we can increase the life of our products and contribute to a more sustainable industry.
WHERE ARE WE NOW
In 2020, we continued to focus our efforts on our sustainable practices and made a commitment to understand even more about the environmental impact of our business. We are very proud of our progress and where we are at in our sustainability journey.
Carbon Assessment - We completed a full carbon assessment of our supply chain and now understand the impact our products and processes have. In 2020, we emitted 218 tons of carbon - a number that we are proud of as a brand and hope to continue to lower.
Carbon Neutral- We partnered with CHOOOSE to offset all of our carbon in 2020. CHOOOSE provides businesses of all sizes the option to re-invest in climate change projects around the world. A step in the right direction to taking responsibility for our products and production.
Textile Innovation - We continue to exclusively work with the world’s top and most innovative textile suppliers, including sourcing our first recycled material, SEAQUAL® YARN. We can reduce our environmental impact by investing in the quality of our textiles and ensuring they are made in the most sustainable way.
Assembly Factory - Our relationship has only grown stronger with our assembly factory in Vietnam over the pandemic. We continue to ensure all our partners work in a safe, healthy, and encouraging environment.
Currently, our biggest challenge is the transportation of our goods and products. With over 55% of our carbon emissions coming from this source, it is top of mind for our team. We are committed to progressing as an even more sustainable brand. It is our hope that by being transparent, we will inspire our customers and partners to do the same.
2022 SUSTAINABILITY GOALS
Reduce our carbon emissions per cap by 20% by 2023. We aim to achieve this by:
Optimizing our logistics by producing seasonal and special collections closer to our main markets.
Using more sustainable methods of transportation.
Take responsibility for the entire life cycle of our product by:
Launching and managing an end of life cap recycling system in Norway.
Creating a system for cap repairs in France.
Completing a pilot project for the resale of Varsity Headwear caps in Norway.
Review the environmental impact of all textiles we use and optimise future collections based on the findings.
Continue our partnership with UNICEF and Give Back Friday campaign to inspire other brands to re-think Black Friday.
Update and complete a full Code of Conduct review with our partners. We will continue to challenge our partners on equality and sustainability improvements.
Continue our work on creating an inclusive and non-discriminatory work environment for our team by collecting bi-annual feedback. Develop a benchmark system to measure our progression.
HOW WE WORK
We are committed to following the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, a blueprint for businesses globally to achieve a better and more sustainable future or all. We believe that we can have the greatest impact in our industry by focusing on innovation in the following three main areas of the UN’s Development Goals:
Decent Work and Economic Growth
Industry Innovation and Infrastructure
Responsible Consumption and Production
Our suppliers, partners and employees are at the heart of everything we do at Varsity Headwear. It is our responsibility to take care of our partners and provide them with the support, working environment and tools that they need to be successful and happy in their work. Our team regularly visits the assembly facility and completes an annual review of Varsity’s Code of Conduct agreement with our assembly partner. This agreement specifies requirements for them to operate at an essential standard of health and safety, discrimination, fair labor and sustainability.
Our fabrics are sourced from the world’s leading textile mills. Our team searches globally to find the top producers and specialists for each specific material. These producers are chosen for many reasons including the quality, feel, color, and sustainability of their materials. By choosing specialist textile factories that are pioneers in their industry, we can increase the quality and lifespan of our products, while reducing the impact through sustainable practices at the mills.
All of our products are assembled at our partner factory in Vietnam. We started working with this factory back in 2013 and have since formed a close relationship with them. We are in continuous dialogue with the factory which has resulted in the quality, details and designs our customers appreciate today. Their craftsmanship is unlike anything else we can find in the world and why we continue to invest in growing our partnership with them.
We are committed to optimizing the logistics in our value chain and investing in future-focused solutions. We prioritize reviewing the different stages involved in the production of our caps, with the goal of minimizing our environmental impact along the way. This is the most complex part of becoming a more sustainable brand, but also where we can create the greatest impact.
This past year, we completed a full assessment of Varsity Headwear’s carbon emissions in partnership with ENDRAVA, a climate and sustainability energy specialist in Norway. In total, we emitted 218 tonnes of CO2 in 2020. With over 55% of those emissions coming from the transportation of goods, it highlighted that although our direct emissions as a brand are low, the transportation of goods around the world comes at a cost.
Staying true to our commitment, we have offset all of our carbon emissions in 2020 through CHOOOSE. We are working hard to eliminate all carbon emissions as a business but for now, CHOOOSE provides businesses of all sizes the option to re-invest in climate change projects around the world.
PRODUCT LIFE CYCLE
It is important that once a cap has left Varsity Headwear, we have done everything in our control to increase its longevity. We as a brand, and our customers, are responsible for considering what actions we can take to prolong the caps life span.
Our team meticulously selects fabric taking into consideration how it will wear, the ease of cleaning based on the textile´s composition and the degradability of natural fibers. Every single cap component has been intentionally selected based on the quality and longevity of it - such as recycled plastic brims and stainless steel rings on the backstrap.
Once the cap reaches a customer, how they use it and care for it will highly influence how long it will last. As a conscious consumer, you can improve this process by:
Measuring - Start by measuring your head accurately before you place an order to avoid unnecessary shipments for size exchanges or returns.
Selection - Choose a cap that you know you will cherish and are motivated to care for. If you're not sure on what cap you want, please reach out to our team or wait to purchase. We aim to be around for a long time.
Care - Take care of your cap by following our care instructions , so you can prolong its life and utilize the cap to its fullest potential. We offer our customers premium cleaning products such as brushes, cloths and soaps to encourage regular cap care.
Repairs - If there is ever a quality issue or if a cap has been damaged, we currently offer a repair service in Oslo and are looking at how we can offer this to our customers globally.
Pass It On - If you're not regularly using your cap, please pass it on to someone that will continue to wear and care for it.
Varsity Headwear is not only responsible for our entire supply chain but for the afterlife of our products. If your cap has been so loved that it is beyond repair, we would be happy to recycle it responsibly for you. During the month of October, we will be launching the PANT Project - a test recycling program for our customers. We will be collecting caps at our shop in Oslo and deconstructing the caps to recycle the materials in the best way possible. If you are not located in Oslo, please look into local solutions on how to best recycle your cap.
If you experience issues or have ideas on how our caps can be improved, please get in touch. No issue is too small. We love to learn and create better products.