Growing up on a thriving planet, with clean water and fresh air, should be the right of every child. But the planet will only thrive if we reduce our climate impact. We need to rethink the way that our products are designed, manufactured and shipped, as well as which materials we use. Our production must not come at the cost of future generations. This is why we continually work to minimize our negative impact on the planet.
All production affects the environment
In order to understand the total environmental impact of each individual product, it is necessary to analyze the entire life cycle. For us, this includes everything from growing the cotton to the factories where the fabric is woven, dyed and sewn, and transportation to factories, shops and homes. It’s also important to factor in how long the product can be used and the temperature at which it needs to be washed. This is called a life cycle analysis. It clearly demonstrates which stage has the greatest environmental impact. For our products, the use of cotton and polyester has the greatest impact since it takes a lot of energy, water and chemicals to manufacture them.
Our total climate footprint
Besides cotton and polyester, we also use plastic, metal and wood in our products. Our materials are carefully selected and developed to suit young babies. But all manufactured materials need to be processed in different ways, and this impacts the natural environment and generates emissions that end up in the atmosphere. The energy that heats our premises, the vehicles that transport our products and the packaging in which these products are sold leave traces in the environment. All this adds up to BabyBjörn’s total climate footprint and is included in our environmental work.
Counteract unnecessary consumption through design
In order to avoid unnecessary consumption, we develop products that have a clear purpose, good functionality and long lifespan. We don’t invent needs – we meet the existing needs of parents and children. For that reason, our range only consists of about 20 products, and each product has been developed specifically to make the years with babies and toddlers easier. Our products’ classic design and high quality mean that they can be used a lot and for a very long time. They are often handed down and used by several children in succession, which is one of our strongest sustainability contributions.
Many millions of children lack secure access to clean water. One of the reasons is the cultivation of cotton, which requires enormous amounts of water. Cotton is grown in areas where water is often in short supply. Conventional cotton cultivation also has the highest chemical usage of all agriculture in the world, which is harmful for both cotton growers and the immediate environment. But cotton has many fantastic qualities that make it difficult to replace.
Working to phase out conventional cotton.
BabyBjörn currently supports cotton that is produced according to Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) criteria. This is an alternative to conventional cotton cultivation and requires less water and chemicals. While BCI isn’t quite as good as organic cotton from an environmental perspective, it’s definitely a step in the right direction. In recent years, we’ve been working intensively to phase out conventional cotton. During 2018, our cotton products consisted of 88% BCI cotton, 9% organic cotton and 3% conventional cotton. That being said, there’s no escaping the fact that all types of cotton still have a large climate footprint, and we’re continually testing new materials that might replace cotton.
Of our materials, 59% are currently made of polyester. Polyester is a synthetic fiber with a very long lifespan, but both extracting the raw material and producing it require a great deal of energy. This is clearly shown by our life cycle analysis, and we’re exploring eco-friendlier options. Polyester consists of material extracted from crude oil, which makes it a fossil material, but at the same time makes the textile recyclable. Recycled polyester accounts for up to 70% fewer emissions than newly manufactured polyester. So, it makes good sense for us to start replacing traditional polyester with recycled polyester. As early as in the fall of 2018, we’ll be launching one Baby Carrier One Air and one Bouncer Bliss in recycled polyester.
Our plans for the future
Since both cotton and polyester have a greater environmental impact than we want, we’re constantly looking for new innovative materials that are kinder to the environment. Our greatest challenge is to find materials that also meet our high safety and quality standards. They need to be produced in an eco-friendly way and last a long time.
One material that we have great hopes for is Tencel, a fiber produced from wood pulp that requires both less water and fewer chemicals to produce. We’ve launched a few products in Tencel in 2018, and we’re now evaluating the possibilities of using it more widely.