‘The goal is to take a big step towards a circular business model’

The clothes from Danish fashion brand Wood Wood are made to last. It therefore makes good sense for customers to return them to the company to be either resold or reused.

 

Return your used clothes, give them a new life, and do something good for the environment. This is the message from Danish streetwear brand Wood Wood, who is hoping to change the habit of throwing used clothes in the bin. The initiative is just one element of Wood Wood’s attempt to reduce its carbon footprint and to bring the company closer to a circular business model, says head of product development, Allan Sarup:

‘As a responsible clothing brand, we apply an ambitious CSR strategy when developing new collections. We also experience that this is something our customers expect from us. We know them to care about sustainability in their choice of clothing, in their general shopping behaviour and in the overall lifestyle that they strive for.’

According to Allan Sarup, it is the materials used by the fashion industry that, by far, have the largest impact on CO2 emissions. Consequently, they are the natural place to start:

‘Approximately 75 per cent of the clothing industry’s climate footprint comes from the materials alone. That is why we have made great efforts to include sustainable materials in our designs, using organic cotton rather than conventional cotton, recycled wool instead of virgin wool and recycled polyester instead of new polyester. Fortunately, there are many sustainable alternatives, but it still takes effort and stubbornness to make them work.’

 

 

In the SDG Accelerator programme, Wood Wood has worked both to bring the company’s sustainability strategy to the next level, and to lay the foundation for a circular business model, Allan Sarup explains:

‘Our top priority at Wood Wood is to produce long-lasting quality clothing that our customers will treasure for a long time. We know however, that at some point, consumers like to update their wardrobes, despite the fact that their clothes are not worn out. As a manufacturer, we want to be responsible for giving clothes a new life, either by being resold as they are or by being recycled into a new product. In this respect, the SDG Accelerator programme has helped us fine-tune a model where we can promote sustainability while at the same time running a healthy business.’

In Copenhagen, Wood Wood has already set up a so-called museum shop where previous collections and discontinued products are sold. The museum shop is the natural place to sell pre-loved clothes, Allan Sarup says:

‘The idea is that customers can return their Wood Wood clothes regardless of the condition. It is then up for us to decide whether they will be resold or reused. What inspires us about Wood Wood Museum is it has become somewhat of a playground outside the regular shops where we can easily experiment with different concepts. Sustainability is not only about creating a revolution, it is also about continuous learning and improving.’

The next step now is to launch the recycling concept so that customers can start handing in their used clothing. To this end, the company is prepared to offer a 15 per cent discount on new purchases when recycling an old item. Meanwhile, data collection will be necessary, says Allan Sarup:

‘We are still not sure of what exactly we will be getting back and what to do with it. Some items can be repaired, some can be upcycled and reused in new creative ways, while others might need to be completely disassembled to recycle the fibres only. Once that knowledge is collected, we can develop a more detailed management plan that will delineate how to implement all these great initiatives in our international organisation.’

 

 

Sustainable Development Goals at play

  • SDG 12: Responsible  consumption and production
  • Target 12.5: By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse

This is how Wood Wood contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals

  • Wood Wood will give its customers the opportunity to return their old Wood Wood clothing for recycling in exchange for a discount on new products.
  • The clothes will be either resold or recycled depending on their condition.

Facts about Wood Wood

  • Founded in Denmark in 2002
  • Inspired by the street style of the 1990s • Head office in Copenhagen, Denmark • Stores in London, Copenhagen,  Aarhus and Berlin

Wood Wood is part of UNDP's SDG Accelerator for SMEs