There’s never been a time in Reformation’s history that it hasn’t been thinking about sustainability. Since launching in 2009, the label has been focused on doing things the responsible way. Its 2021 scorecard shows measured gains and increased climate commitments.
The eco fashion label beloved by Millennials and Gen-Z, including celebrities Kaia Gerber, Hailey Bieber, Selena Gomez, and Taylor Swift, has released its 2021 sustainability metrics. A year that saw retail still weighed down by pandemic challenges, Reformation took it as an opportunity to look for areas it could improve on, and increasing its efforts to be a force for good.
“Okay, so we know 2021 felt more like 2020 than most of us expected,” Reformation says in the 2021 Sustainability Report.
“But if there is one bright spot, it’s that climate change is finally being taken seriously by more big companies. Sustainability has been our priority since we were founded in 2009, so this report isn’t just about last year, really. It’s about what we did in 2021 to make progress towards our long-term commitments.”
Last year saw Reformation partner with Eco-Age to better assess its efforts across sixteen different areas.
“Reformation wanted to challenge themselves to evolve and be better, so they asked Eco-Age to assess how responsible they are as a brand, in comparison to a number of peers in the fashion space,” Eco-Age explained on its website.
The eco consultancy helmed by Livia Firth says it developed a tool and scoring system to evaluate Reformation across twelve different areas of sustainability.
Reformation 2021 sustainability rankings
“We examined which sustainability issues are incorporated across 16 recognised international sustainability and fashion industry frameworks. Issues included in more than 55 percent of frameworks were indicated as important and were incorporated into the final benchmark.”
From there, it created a bespoke benchmark, “collating common practices as well as leading initiatives per topic using the industry frameworks reviewed.”
On average, Reformation’s overall score for 2021 was 67 percent, compared to 65 percent in 2020 and 47 percent in 2019.
But there’s still plenty of room for improvement, the label says. In 11 key areas measured it dropped eight percent across the board from 2020 to 2021, because of additional criteria and stricter benchmarks. It dropped the most in Packaging Innovation, falling by 18 percent, DE&I (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) by 17 percent, and Clean Chemistry saw a decrease of 14 percent. But it says it demonstrated progress with the actual number of criteria increasing across the areas.
“For example, DE&I went up by 1.25 points, but the percentage score went down, due to the further 15-point increase in benchmark criteria. This reflects the opportunity for global increased engagement in this area, as well as how quickly the definition of best practice is changing year-on-year,” reads the report.
It ranked highest in Sustainability Reporting and Transparency, moving up a position from Leadership to Setting New Standards. That score increased from 60 percent in 2020 to 79 percent for 2021, a move it says signals importance both of the topic and in Reformation’s wider strategy in reaching its sustainability targets.
The California-based label also saw a big win for its climate action. It achieved the Setting New Standards mark there as well, even despite more stringent criteria year on year. It scores 75 percent in 2021 and says it proved it’s a leader in an area where it has excelled “for years.”
Another key area for highest achievements was for Low-Impact Garment Care. There it also received the highest Setting New Standards rating, with a score of 73 percent. “The result proves that Reformation
approaches sustainability holistically and takes all phases within its products’ lifecycle into account,” the label said.
With new ranking criteria adjustments, Reformation says it scored the lowest on Resource Efficiency, which underwent the biggest change in 2021. It scored 46 percent there. It also scored low on Biodiversity, a new area of focus added in 2021. Reformation says it scored an overall score there of 48 percent, a number it hopes to shift in the coming years.
Other achievements for the brand include joining the Fair Labor Association as an Affiliate Participating Company; that move is expected to improve working conditions throughout Reformation’s supply chain.
It’s also working toward its target to be Climate Positive by 2025. Based on the reporting, it appears on track to meet the target.
“Our mission to bring sustainable fashion to everyone continues to be an important guide to shape our strategy–how we prioritize investments and how we make decisions,” reads the Reformation report.
“We use these reports to be transparent about what we’re doing and why. We celebrate our wins. And talk about where we fall short. We’re approaching 2022 with a greater sense of urgency, more means for accountability (including from people like you asking more of brands), and more investment and collaboration for us all to do this work in 2022. Let’s do it.”