Just as Plastic Free July is upon us, lifestyle and clothing brand Weird Fish has been able to bring forward its ambitious sustainability targets by a year, thanks to swapping materials to eco-friendly ones, which schools of customers have embraced.
Following the launch of its The Only Way Is Ethics sustainability policy in 2019, the brand exceeded its initial target of making 20% of products more sustainable with a final figure of 25% at year-end.
2020 saw a similar success, with Weird Fish reaching 55% versus its 40% target. This year the brand is already on track to hit its 67% target of products now using eco-friendly alternatives, so has accelerated its original 2023 target of hitting 80% to 2022.
This comes after the company changed directors in December 2020 and opened a new store in Gloucester Quays December 2019. The retailer also celebrated a 354 per cent increase in online sales and an 11 per cent increase in in-store sales throughout the last 16 months.
Weird Fish Managing Director, John Stockton said, “When it comes to setting sustainability goals within a business, I believe one of the most important things is to be realistic.
“You can never expect such a fundamental change to happen overnight – any changes and innovations need to be carefully researched, tested, and their success measured to understand whether they actually do what they are supposed to do.
“We view every year as a ‘leap year’ and focus our attention on reaching challenging but obtainable targets.”
Weird Fish has saved the equivalent of 120,000 single-use plastic bags in stores thanks to its launch of grass paper bags in 2019. Over the past two years, the brand has also swapped out standard cotton with organic cotton yarns where possible, as well as widened the range of bamboo and Tencel™ fabrics.
This year, Weird Fish has sold nearly a quarter of a million garments made from organic cotton instead of standard cotton and had 30 times more sales of bamboo products in 2020 compared to 2019 – equating to a +2,781% uplift.
John continued: “Keeping a balance between offering good value and eco-friendly credentials is one of the biggest challenges.
“Organic and sustainable materials are more and more in demand and prices are rising fast. That is why it is vital to maintain strong and close relationships with suppliers and understand what their key issues are, so you can determine the most cost-efficient options and still trust that products are genuinely sustainably sourced.
“Our sustainability efforts are still a work in progress, but we know that there is an increased appetite for more eco-friendly materials – both in products and their packaging.
“We don’t claim to be a 100% sustainable brand, and we’re transparent about that on our website. But by making small steps and constantly adapting along the way, I believe we’re making realistic changes that will last long-term and help make a difference.”