Chemical and water management is essential for the safe use and handling of our products for both people and the environment. Cotton usage and production is a huge problem, not the least from a water usage perspective. At the same time, it also provides income for more than 250 million people worldwide according to the World Wide Fund for Nature. Cotton production needs to change. Hence, the measure to form the initiative Better Cotton was taken. We partner with Better Cotton to improve cotton farming globally.
Better Cotton is sourced via a chain of custody model called mass balance. This means that Better Cotton is not physically traceable to end products, however, Better Cotton Farmers benefit from the demand for Better Cotton in equivalent volumes to those we ‘source’. Better Cotton’s mission is to help cotton communities survive and thrive, while protecting and restoring the environment. Better Cotton Farmers are farmers who use water efficiently, care for soil health and natural habitats, reduce the use of the most harmful chemicals and respect workers’ rights and wellbeing. In 2019-2020, Better Cotton licensed over 2.4 million farmers from 23 countries on five continents. Together, these farmers produced 23% of the world’s cotton. In 2021, Björn Borg sourced 99% of its cotton (footwear excluded) as Better Cotton. These are the results of our sourcing of Better Cotton in 2021. The numbers are estimated.
* Better Cotton Farmers experience profit increases for a variety of reasons, most commonly due to increased yields and/or optimised use of inputs (such as irrigation water, pesticides, or synthetic fertiliser).
We have a thorough chemical management program to ensure that our products don’t contain harmful substances. All suppliers must adhere to a list of substances that sets the maximum content levels for certain chemicals in products and which chemicals may be used in production. The list is based on the REACH regulation adopted within the EU and is updated twice yearly according to the latest legal requirements.
We do chemical tests on one product from each vendor every major season. This product is chosen after a risk analysis accounting for the risk of hazardous chemicals added due to value-adding properties to the garment, the amount sold of the garment, new sub-suppliers, and several other factors. The samples are sent to an external lab that tests the garment against our RSL.
In 2021, we entered a collaboration with the Sysav textile sorting plant Siptex in Malmö, Sweden. Here we send discarded garments such as development samples and returns from customers which for some reason cannot be put back into sales. The textiles are recycled to become raw material and further, new fabrics. We send textile waste from our stores in Sweden, Head Office and from our central warehouse. Siptex is the result of Swedish research, and Sysav is the first in the world with a facility that automatically sorts textiles on a large scale. Textiles received at the Siptex plant are sorted by fibre type and colour and can go on to high-quality recycling, techniques that enable discarded textiles to become textiles again.