NEW! Start your sustainable journey with BCome’s Fashion Sustainability Cheat Sheet, your essential guide to industry success Download now!

Is your fashion collection more sustainable than the industry standard? Discover key metrics for assessment

Ever wondered how sustainable your product truly is compared to industry benchmarks? Explore key metrics to find out where your product stands in the realm of sustainability.

Is your fashion collection more sustainable than the industry standard? Discover key metrics for assessment

In a market where most fashion businesses claim to be sustainable, you’ve probably found yourself thinking: “My company does more for sustainability than many of those who brag about it”. If you also suspect your products are more accountable than the industry standard, this article introduces key metrics to help you evaluate if you indeed achieve better sustainability performance than the market average.

Sustainability isn’t as simple as being either “sustainable” or “not sustainable”. To measure the sustainable performance of products, it’s crucial to have a benchmark that indicates whether our items are above or below average. In this regard, the industry standard acts as a gauge against which we can compare ourselves and determine if we’re truly achieving a better impact than the conventional market.

But how can this comparison be made? Many fashion companies we speak with have doubts about how to calculate the environmental savings and debts of their products. At BCome, we make this possible through our Benchmark tool.

Based on Life Cycle Assessment methodology, this tool can calculate environmental savings when a product’s impact is lower than the fashion industry standard, and environmental debts when it exceeds it. If you want to define whether your products perform environmentally better or worse than the industry standard across four environmental impact indicators, the Benchmark tool will be your best ally.

From the LCA tool, you can activate the “Industry Standard Benchmark” to discover both relative and absolute environmental savings. Here are the metrics you’ll have access to:

Preview of the Industry Standard Benchmark on BCome’s platform
  1. Unitary impact. The impact of the analyzed item based on the specified environmental indicator.
  2. Benchmark. Percentage result of the comparison between the impact of your item and the impact of the standard scenario.
  3. Industry Standard. Absolute impact of the industry standard scenario.

This comparison can lead to two types of results:

  • Environmental savings. We can speak of savings when the environmental impact of a product is lower than the impact of the industry standard scenario, indicating that impacts have been avoided in the creation of the item. On the platform, you will see this information highlighted in green.
  • Environmental debts. This occurs when the environmental impact of a product exceeds the industry standard. Therefore, it is considered that the impacts are greater than the conventional scenario. Debts are displayed in red.

However, there’s still a crucial question to address: what exactly does this scenario against which your products are compared entail?

The industry standard represents a conventional scenario based on the global market, and its impacts are calculated using the same methodology applied to assess the environmental impacts of your collection. Here are the criteria that BCome’s methodology takes into account when constructing these conventional scenarios:

  • The composition of the main materials that make up each product.
  • Wet processes (dyeing, printing, and treatments).
  • The type of transportation used between raw material extraction (tier 4) and manufacturing (tier 1), and from manufacturing (tier 1) to warehouse.
  • The origin of raw materials, material processes, wet processes, and manufacturing (tier 4, tier 3, tier 2, and tier 1).
  • Packaging (tertiary, secondary, and primary).

We are working to soon provide access to all the specifications that make up the industry standard scenario against which each of your products is compared. By clicking on the information icon next to “Industry standard,” the “product comparison sheet” will be displayed:

Preview of the “product comparison sheet” on BCome’s platform

While we prepare the display of the “product comparison sheet” for each of your products, let us explain that benchmarking is done by comparing the innovative and sustainable parameters of your product with its conventional alternative in the market. The industry standard is always based on a product of the same type, weight, and functionality, with the following parameters modified as mentioned earlier:

  • A conventional composition is established based on BCome’s LCA methodology, ensuring it shares the same nature, properties, and density.

This is a crucial aspect of benchmarking. To calculate environmental savings, we compare the environmental impact of a product with that of an equivalent conventional product. If brands do not use the same criteria and methodology to assess their impacts, savings can be misinterpreted. BCome ensures that both sustainable and conventional products are evaluated using the same LCA methodology to maintain consistency and accuracy.

  • Conventional finishes are defined based on BCome’s LCA methodology, providing the same function to the article.

The finishes on a garment can have a significant impact on its environmental footprint. When comparing a more sustainable product with a conventional one, it’s essential to ensure that the functions provided by the finishes are similar. BCome’s methodology takes this into account to ensure a fair and accurate comparison.

  • Tier 4, Tier 3, Tier 2, and Tier 1 origins are located in China, with raw materials and materials transported by truck. The warehouse origin is in the same location as declared for the analyzed article.

By standardizing these factors in China and using specific transportation methods, BCome ensures that the comparison is meaningful and impartial.

  • If the journey is intercontinental, transportation of manufactured items will be indicated as by truck, whereas if it is transcontinental, it will be noted as by airplane.

Defining different transportation methods and origins can lead to variations in the environmental impact of a product.

  • In the conventional scenario, shipping and warehouse packaging consist of cardboard boxes and plastic films, while retail packaging is defined based on BCome’s LCA methodology.

By defining packaging standards based on BCome’s LCA methodology, brands can make consistent and accurate comparisons between more sustainable products and their conventional alternatives.

Determining whether your products have environmental savings or debts is as simple as comparing them with the industry standard. In compliance with European regulations, it will be mandatory to disclose the scenario against which each item is compared, ensuring transparent communication regarding the origin of any savings, as stipulated by the Directive on Empowering Consumers for the Green Transition and the Directive on Green Claims.

There’s no better way to demonstrate superior environmental performance compared to conventional market products than with scientific evidence. At BCome, we provide you with the methodology and tools necessary to assess your products and understand where they stand relative to industry standards, enabling you to make more informed decisions to optimize their impact. Is your collection more sustainable than the industry standard? BCome helps you discover the answer!

Book a demo to take your business to the next level of sustainability

Discover in less than 30 minutes how the leading sustainability technology for fashion businesses can help your company.

Request a demo

Sign up to our newsletter

Join our weekly newsletter for new content updates, best practices in sustainability and much more!