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If you're shopping at Oh Polly, you obviously love fashion, and it's likely you already know that the fashion industry is having a harmful impact on the environment. We want to be transparent with our customers, open the conversation on climate change and show our commitment to a happier and healthier planet!
This is the start of our sustainability journey. Currently, we’re working hard behind the scenes to develop and create a sustainability strategy. Through this, we’ll be able to implement changes bit-by-bit that protect the planet and the people on it. We’ll release more in the up-coming months!
Keep reading to find out more about the positive steps we're already taking in and out of the office.
Oh Polly is a brand with purpose. On seeing the awful poverty that many children were living in across southeast Asia, our founders Claire Henderson and Mike Branney started selling clothes on eBay and donating the profits to charity. After gaining huge success on eBay, Claire and Mike created their own website, but the value and purpose behind the brand was never lost. Oh Polly has donated over £600k to the charity in the last few years.
Our brand is built on ethical values, and we believe we have a responsibility to help the planet, just as we're helping communities in southeast Asia. We’re performance driven and we’re committed to giving our customers unique, high-quality designs without compromising the principles that Oh Polly was built on.
Measuring our emissions
In collaboration with Carbon Footprint Limited we’ve calculated and verified our FY22 Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions to comply with Streamline Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR). We produced 20.52 tCO2e (market-based). We're in the process of measuring our Scope 3 emissions for the same time period. From this, we’ll be able to establish a baseline for future reporting and locate emission hot spots, allowing us to create a carbon reduction plan.
We’ve partnered with Engenera who have installed ground-breaking combined heat and power units (CHP) on site. But why is this important? This specially designed system offers a clean and renewable heat source for the entire warehouse and office space at our Bromborough, UK site.
Low impact deliveries
We have the following low impact delivery options for UK customers (only):
Click & Collect store or InPost lockers. see the data to back it up here.
DPD offset all delivery emissions so whenever you select them at checkout, you're opting for a carbon neutral service.
Cycle to work scheme
We’ve introduced a new incentive scheme for our staff, to opt for a bike instead of a car, when travelling to work. They can purchase a bike of their choice and then pay it back at an affordable rate straight from their pay slips.
Where possible, our staff love to carpool! If there are up to four of you in a car, that's up to three cars off the road making the same journey. This is great for reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions, mitigating traffic and reducing the demand for parking infrastructure. You can do this too!
The lighting in our distribution centre is motion activated so that we minimise energy use. All lights are LED.
Animal welfare & vegan
All products are produced using faux fabrics. They are vegan.
This means that you no longer receive an invoice inside your order. We’ve cut back on ~1,350,000 pieces of paper a year! To return your parcel, please use our returns portal here.
We work with ReCover IT who are a local IT disposal company in Liverpool, UK. They securely destroy all data on our end-of-life devices. The remaining hardware is repaired or recycled! They donate a portion of their sales to charity.
Recycling and general waste
B&M Waste Management, a carbon neutral company, takes all the waste from our office and distribution centre, in Bromborough, UK. This is separated and diverted to the correct waste streams in the depo. From this, renewable energy is generated. From their most recent report (01/09/2021-31/08/2022), 100% of our waste from the site has been diverted from landfill. You can find out more here.
We've started phasing out boxes to reduce the amount of resources we use and minimise waste.
Boxes - They’re 100% recyclable and made from FSC certified materials.
Mailing bags - They’re made from 30% recycled low density polyethylene (LDPE). These can be 100% recycled anywhere you see the LDPE4 logo, i.e. supermarket and travel hubs.
Please use this link to locate your local recycling centre:
Donate for a discount
You can donate your preloved items to charity for free through us with our new scheme, in partnership with The Salvation Army - they don’t have to be Oh Polly items, it can be any brand! To find out more about this, please follow this link. This is only for UK customers.
Product recovery scheme: Repair and Rewear
If you receive a less than perfect item, we may be able to help you! We offer a sustainable option, by refunding 20% of the item value. This allows you to take the item to your local tailor or fix it yourself! Did you know that extending a garment’s life by just nine months can reduce its carbon, waste, and water footprints by between 20 to 30 per cent?!* Remember to fix it before you ditch it! Please note that all cases are reviewed individually and we’re not legally liable for any damages after six months
Spot wash machine
93% of our returns are re-sellable. Wonder what we do with the rest? We have an inhouse spot wash machine that we use on 4% of returns. This means that they can be cleaned and re-packaged in perfect condition to be sent back out.
Parker Lane help us to re-distribute end of season, slow selling stock and damaged items to areas that we don't have as much footfall. This helps to prolong the end-use of our products. They also take the remaining 3% of returns! Find out more here.
Corporate social responsibility
We’re following our Code of Conduct across the whole value chain, especially within production and manufacturing. You can find more information about how we manufacture below.
71% of our senior roles are held by women. 70% of our employees within the company are women.
Zero tolerance: discrimination
We have a zero-tolerance policy for any form of discrimination or harassment based on someone’s sexual orientation, gender, civil status, family status, religion, race, age, or disability. 30 of our managers have received a Level 2 Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion. All members of our team complete a training module about Equality and Diversity and Bullying and Harassment within their first 2 weeks at Oh Polly.
As well as our own charity, The Brannerson Foundation, we also regularly donate a portion of our profits to different charities throughout the year. Each charity helps to combat different environmental or social issues across the globe. Our employee of the month also picks a charity to donate £250! They are always personal charities that we love to help.
We are a Suicide Safer Organisation. We have 18 Mental Health First Aiders, 12 Suicide Prevention First Aiders and 12 Sucide Alert Helpers on site. The courses are delivered by the Martin Gallier Project through their Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST).
Employee assistance program
Colleagues can also access a confidential helpline, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Alongside other mental wellbeing resources.
Take a look at how much we've donated this year alone! Since 2016, we've donated £871,900.90
A large portion of our donations go towards our charity in Cambodia, The Brannerson Foundation. Every purchase made at Oh Polly helps to support a number of children in one of the poorest regions in the world. As the brand continues to grow, all thanks to the community who love wearing our clothes, so does the level of support The Brannerson Foundation is able to offer. Click the link below to find out more.
We know that there’s still a lot more to be done! Every year we keep getting bigger and better, which means we need to take even more responsibility for the sustainability of our brand. Over the next few years, we’re looking to:
- Review our packaging
- Invest in low impact materials
- Offer additional low impact delivery options with efficient couriers
- Install EV charging points at our Bromborough, UK location
- Provide further information about how we produce and manufacture
- Outline official targets for the upcoming years, with a main focus for 2030
- Work with partners, who align with our values, to ensure we’re on track to hitting our goals
We’re working hard on our official sustainability strategy and carbon reduction plan. Once we’ve completed this, we’ll update our progression, promises and targets for 2025-2050.
There are plenty of other exciting projects happening behind the scenes. We’ll make sure to keep everyone updated.
If you’re a fashion fanatic who knows their stuff, then we’re sure you don’t need us to remind you of the harmful effects the industry currently has on the planet. Here at Oh Polly, we’re proud to say our pledge to the planet is one we take seriously.
Oh Polly creates iconic stand out pieces that are sure to get you noticed, but wearing them once just isn’t enough. From new season trends you don’t want to miss to wardrobe essentials that can be dressed up or down, we’ve got shapes and styles for all. It’s become all too familiar that the jaw-dropping dress you’ve had your eye on for months gets worn only once for cocktails with your friends. As soon as you click “post” on that all important Insta pic, you better believe it’s thrown to the side, never to be worn again. But why?
Once you feel like you’ve reached your max amount of wear then why don't you find your clothes a new home, or upcycle them? These pieces were built to last. Made from high-quality, durable materials, our styles were designed to be worn time and time again. So, once you feel like your clothing has served its time, and you’re on the hunt for a refresh, make sure to list it up, donate them or give them a new lease of life! By doing this, you’re saving your item from going to landfills that release masses of harmful carbon dioxide into the air.
We advise against throwing clothes away. Click the link below for alternative solutions to landfill!
Our product development and manufacturing process is unique to most. At Oh Polly, we like to be different and always with you in mind! An environment that is safe and beneficial for our staff is our top priority here at Oh Polly. Here are some examples of how we take care of our workforce.
Here at Oh Polly, we're more than just dreamy outfits! Our founders, Mike and Claire set up our two main supplier factories, meaning that more than half of our stock and production is tightly managed by us.
For the factories that our founders don't own, we like to choose our supplier carefully. We prefer to form a direct association with manufacturers so we can have full visibility on working standards and quality control. This means, we also have a presence in all our manufacturing units to ensure worker welfare at every stage. We follow a strict code of conduct in our own factory and make sure these are implemented with our manufacturing partners.
We recruit the most skilled employees in each market, from design, to pattern cutting and sewing. We understand what our customers love, which is why our products continue to outshine the competition. We inspect all our goods at an AQL2.5 quality standard. This reduces the number of defects across our products that make it into circulation, so what's delivered to your door is in excellent condition.
A doctor and nurse visit the factory for consultations free of charge.
We provide a life pension for the low-income family of a worker who has passed away in hospital from a health-related issue.
Paid time off
For short-term sickness.
Wage advances and interest-free micro plans
We do this to help ease the pressure on employees when unexpected expenses occur.
We’ve issued our Bangladesh factory with a 2% profit share, each year for the past five years.
Everyone who works in our factories must be of legal working age in that country. This is usually 17 or 18 years old. For an apprentice, they must be older than 16.
Bribery and corruption
All our staff choose to work there. We do not allow people to be coerced or forced into labour.
Everyone in our factories is paid for the work they do. No unpaid overtime.
Anything less than the minimum wage
We personally make sure that all workers are paid for the hours they do, and this must be above the legal minimum wage in their country.
When overtime is required for certain projects, it’s always proportional and paid at the correct rate, for example time and a half.
Unsafe working practices
Employees are given the necessary equipment to do their jobs, provided with training on how to use the machinery and are made aware of the health and safety regulations.
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