Day: January 5, 2021 | The Planet Mark
Rowlinson Knitwear’s Sustainability Journey

Rowlinson Knitwear’s Sustainability Journey

About Rowlinson Knitwear

Employee-owned Rowlinson Knitwear is a Planet Mark certified company that manufactures affordable and durable garments for the schoolwear market. A socially responsible business, it consciously aligns everything it does with its core values, and puts ethical practices at the heart of its decision-making. A full member of the Ethical Trading Initiative, an accredited Living Wage employer, Certified B Corporation and a member of Greater Manchester’s Good Employment Charter, it strives to be a force for good, adopting transparent and sustainable actions that consider the impact on both people and the planet.

Sustainability journey

Rowlinson’s goal is to be a role model for sustainable business practices, inspiring others to help shape a more caring and environmentally-conscious economy that values justice, diversity, equality and inclusion. First achieved in 2019, certification by The Planet Mark is central to their sustainability strategy.

Photo taken before Covid-19 restrictions in place.

Rowlinson Knitwear and The Planet Mark

The Planet Mark certification has enabled Rowlinson to accurately measure their carbon footprint, and then take steps to further reduce it. In their second year of measurement, Rowlinson’s relative carbon footprint per employee was 11.1 tCO2e, a 9.1% reduction against their target of 5%. Also, carbon emissions from their premises reduced by 11%.

Engaging the supply chain

Rowlinson ensures their ethical approach to business is implemented across their entire supply chain. They work closely with their Tier 1 overseas suppliers, who share Rowlinson’s values and motivation to drive improvements in social and environmental practices.

Rowlinson is funding its Egyptian Tier 1 supplier to achieve The Planet Mark certification in early 2021, with the remaining three Tier 1 suppliers set to achieve certification by the end of 2021. They’re also committed to helping all three Tier 1 suppliers to offset what cannot be eliminated.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, energy efficiency experts, Kast Energy, installed a photovoltaic solar system at Rowlinson’s UK headquarters. The PV system will produce double the electricity that Rowlinson consumes in the course of a year, with the excess generated going back into the grid. The PV system also enables Rowlinson to fully support its current and future electric car fleet.

By switching their waste management supplier to social enterprise Emerge, they have achieved a 64% reduction in landfill waste, enabling 80% of the waste from their UK premises to be recycled.

Going beyond

Testament to their ethos, 1% of Rowlinson’s profits are dedicated to environmental causes and 1% go toward causes supporting people. Rowlinson are also dedicated to demonstrating leadership in sustainability and has a goal of becoming a Carbon Literate business by the end of 2021.

Rowlinson engages with all its key stakeholders through open discussion and actions. On Climate Strike Day 2019, Rowlinson hosted its own Climate Crisis Day, designed to deepen colleague engagement with the facts behind the Climate Emergency. The day included interactive workshops, discussions and presentations, including one by The Planet Mark’s CEO, Steve Malkin. Climate Crisis Day culminated with all colleagues signing Rowlinson’s Climate Emergency Declaration. Following this, winners of the Climate Crisis Day quiz visited The Eden Project, a partner of The Planet Mark, to bring further knowledge and ideas back into the company.

Donald Moore, Chair of Rowlinson Knitwear, explains, “It’s very simple – you can’t reduce what you don’t measure. The Planet Mark certification is at the very heart of our environmental actions, helping us to play our part in protecting our planet for future generations. Becoming a Carbon Literate business is the next big goal for us in our quest to reduce our carbon footprint. We hope it inspires other businesses to start their own journey to become a kinder and more sustainable organisation.”