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How sustainable is Icebreaker ?

Icebreaker & sustainability


Icebreaker-logo
First milestones, should be better Click here for score rapport: 6 out of 34

Sustainability summary

Icebreaker has achieved the D-Label. This is toward the lower end of the rankings. The main reason for this is that Icebreaker is not very transparent about how fairly, climate-friendly and environmentally friendly their own products are manufactured and traded. From the consumer's point of view, it is therefore difficult to judge whether products from Icebreaker are recommendable in terms of sustainability.

Brand owner: Icebreaker Ltd.
Head office: Wellington, New Zealand
Sector: Sport & outdoor clothing
Categories : Male, Female, Kids
Free Tags: Caps, Shirts, Pullover, Jackets, Dress

What's your sustainability news about Icebreaker?

Icebreaker sustainability score report

Last edited: 3 April 2019 by RSM - Students
Last reviewed: 29 March 2018 by Mario

Questions about Climate Change/ Carbon Emissions

0 out of 6
1. Has the brand (owner) disclosed the annual absolute climate footprint of its 'own operations', and has it accomplished an overall absolute climate footprint reduction compared to the result of the previous reporting year? Icebreaker has not published any climate footprint of its own operations from 2016 to 2018. Source
2. Is at least 50% of the electricity used by the brand (company) generated from renewable resources, such as wind or solar energy? Icebreaker refers to the grid average of 82% renewable energy, but does not account for the reason why this portion can be attributed to the brand (see link, page 36). Source
3. Is all the electricity used by the brand (company) generated from renewable resources, such as wind or solar energy? See remark for carbon emissions policy question 2. Source
4. Has the brand (owner) disclosed the annual absolute climate footprint of its supply chain that is 'beyond own operations'? Icebreaker has not published any climate footprint of its supply chain from 2016 to 2018 (see link, page 75). Source
5. Has the brand (owner) accomplished a reduction of this annual absolute climate footprint 'beyond own operations' compared to the result of the previous reporting year? See remark for carbon emissions policy question 4. Source
6. Has the brand (owner) set a target to make at least its own operations fully climate neutral by 2030, and is the brand on track to achieve this target? Icebreaker has set no target to make its operations fully climate neutral. Source

Questions about Environmental Policy

1 out of 12
1. Does the brand (company) use environmentally 'preferred' raw materials for more than 5% of its volume? Icebreaker products are comprised of 79% merino wool, which is not classified as an environmentally 'preferred' fiber by default. Around 9% of the entire collection is made of more environmentally preferred fibres like TencelĀ®, recycled polyester and organic cotton (see link, page 48). Source
2. Does the brand (company) use environmentally 'preferred' raw materials for more than 10% of its volume? See remark for environmental policy question 1. Source
3. Does the brand (company) use environmentally 'preferred' raw materials for more than 25% of its volume? See remark for environmental policy question 1. Source
4. Does the brand (company) use environmentally 'preferred' raw materials for more than 50% of its volume? See remark for environmental policy question 1. Source
5. Does the brand (company) use environmentally 'preferred' raw materials for more than 75% of its volume? See remark for environmental policy question 1. Source
6. Does the brand (company) use environmentally 'preferred' raw materials for more than 90% of its volume? See remark for environmental policy question 1. Source
7. Is there a policy for the brand (company) to eliminate all hazardous chemicals from the whole lifecycle and all production procedures to make the clothes and footwear? Icebreaker implements measures to limit the use of hazardous chemicals, but specifies reporting on results only for the Oeko-Tex 100 standard for textiles. This standard is not eligible for this question since it does not cover criteria to chemical use during the production stages (see link, page 51, 66, 67, & 89). Source
8. Has the brand (company) eliminated at least one suspect chemical group, such as Phthalates or Per fluorinated chemicals from its entire garment production? Icebreaker reports on its measures and targets to eliminate suspect chemical groups, such as eliminating PFCs by the end of 2020. But whether at least one suspect chemical group can already be considered as fully eliminated from its entire production remains unclear (see link, page 19-21, 49, & 75). Source
9. Has the brand (company) eliminated at least three suspect chemical groups, such as Phthalates or Per fluorinated chemicals from its entire garment production? See remark for environmental policy question 8. Source
10. Does the brand (owner) report what percentage of its consumer packaging materials are renewable or made from recycled materials, and does the brand implement best practices or concrete policies which have reduced the environmental impact of their packaging materials? Icebreaker reports using carrier bags that are biodegradable or FSC-certified with post-consumer recycled content, but does not always specify the material type, reports an annual increase rather than decrease in packaging materials, and is still working toward using 100% FSC-certified paper (see previous link, page 50-51, and current link, page 49-50). Source
11. Does the brand (owner) publish its absolute waste materials footprint and implement concrete policies to minimize waste, by reducing, re-using and recycling, thereby decreasing its waste footprint compared to the previous reporting year? Icebreaker communicates a waste reduction policy, but does not report the overall waste footprint of their own operations (see link, page 84). Source
12. Does the brand (company) encourage the return or re-use of garments? Icebreaker states to not have a garment recycling program in place, but to have set a goal to establish one by 2022. Source

Questions about Labour Conditions/ Fair Trade

5 out of 16
1. Does the brand (owner) have a supplier Code of Conduct (CoC) which includes all standards to ensure workers' rights such as no child labour, no bonded labour, a safe workplace and no excessive overwork? And is there at least a progress report once every two years on implementation of this Code of Conduct? Icebreaker includes all these standards in its supplier workplace Code of Conduct (see link, page 116-118) and has published a progress report with a summary of social compliance in the supply chain on its website, albeit that it could be more specific about results accomplished and corrective action (see previous link, pages 70-71). Source
2. Does the brand (owner) have a policy to make sure there is a proper grievance mechanism in place for factory workers and are at least 25% of workers informed about their rights regarding this mechanism (e.g. through training)? Icebreaker has installed a grievance mechanism in its factories, but it is not clear if the system provides for complaints handlers outside the factory (see link, page 61). Source
3. Does the brand (company) have a published list of direct suppliers, that have collectively contributed to more than 90% of the purchase volume? Icebreaker publishes a list of its direct suppliers (see link, pages 92-105). Source
4. Is this supplier list specific? Are e.g. the addresses of direct suppliers included, and/or are the specific products mentioned per factory? Icebreaker's list of direct suppliers includes factory addresses and products manufactured per factory (see link, pages 92-105). Source
5.  Is the list of direct suppliers extended with suppliers further down the supply chain, with a minimum of 40% in number compared to the direct suppliers? Icebreaker also provides a list of its indirect suppliers (see link, page 92-105). Source
6. Is the brand (owner) a member of a collective initiative that aims to improve labor conditions, in which civil society organizations like NGOs and labor unions have a decisive voice, or does the brand purchase at least 50% from certified manufacturers with improved labor conditions? Icebreaker does not report being a member of a multi-stakeholder initiative, but aims to complete a full review of industry certification and memberships by 2019 (see link, page 79). Source
7. Does this initiative require clear minimum performance levels for member brands? See remark for labor conditions policy question 6. Source
8. Is at least 25% of the total production volume at direct suppliers verified under monitoring concerning good labour conditions? Icebreaker's factories receive an average audit score of 9.2/10, but it remains unclear whether at least 25% of the production volume is verified as compliant against the standards from eligible third parties, such as Fairwear Foundation, or certification schemes, such as SA8000 (see link, page 70). Source
9. Is at least 50% of the total production volume at direct suppliers verified under monitoring concerning good labour conditions? See remark for labor conditions policy question 8. Source
10. Is at least 75% of the total production volume at direct suppliers verified under monitoring concerning good labour conditions? See remark for labor conditions policy question 8. Source
11. Is at least 95% of the total production volume at direct suppliers verified under monitoring concerning good labour conditions? See remark for labor conditions policy question 8. Source
12. Does the brand (company) annually report on the results of its labor conditions policy for the leather, yarn and fabric production phases, including a reasonable overview of the number and region of workplaces covered by the policy in relation to the total production volume? Icebreaker publishes an overview of audits of their factories, but they do not report on their audit process, grievance procedures, capacity building efforts, non-compliance findings and remediation efforts and strategies (see link, page 70-71). Source
13. Does the brand (owner) publicly commit to a living wage benchmark with defined wages per production region or factory? Icebreaker states in its code of conduct that living wages should be paid (see link, page 60), but does not publicly commit to a specific living wage benchmark. Source
14. Does the brand (owner) set a target to establish the payment of living wages at its apparel manufacturers, and is the brand on track to achieve this target? Icebreaker does not provide concrete information on whether living wage payments are realized at its apparel manufacturers. Source
15. Has the brand (owner) realised payment of living wages for at least 10% of its production volume? Icebreaker does not report on its payment of living wages. Source
16. Does the brand (owner) adhere to buying practices that enable living wages and good labour conditions, such as long-term relations with factories, and concentrating production at limited number of factories? Icebreaker reports that 10% of its business relationships exist for at least 5 years, and 30% for at least 10 years. Source