LONDON — How low can Mulberry go?
As part of its Made to Last manifesto, the British accessories brand has created a limited-edition handbag capsule collection made with “the lowest carbon leather,” in the world.
The new bags are made at Mulberry’s carbon neutral factories in Somerset, England, and produced in partnership with Muirhead, one of Europe’s oldest tanneries, and a member of the Scottish Leather Group. Mulberry described the bags’ sourcing, supply chain and manufacturing as “hyper-local, and hyper-transparent.”
The capsule, known as The Lowest Carbon Collection, is the latest in Mulberry Editions, a series of collections and partnerships to mark the brand’s 50th anniversary year.
The collection itself is based on an existing Mulberry style: the small Amberley satchel. It has been created using Hawthorn heavy grain leather and comes in four colors: cornflower blue, coral orange, black and charcoal. It lands at Mulberry stores and on its website on Nov. 22 and is priced at 795 pounds.
The raw hides have been sourced from within the U.K. and Ireland, and tanned, treated and finished by Muirhead at its leather production site, 15 miles outside Glasgow, Scotland.
Muirhead said its leathers are produced with low-carbon intensity, or 1.1 kg of CO2 per hide. The Scottish company said it is able to do this by building close relationships with local farmers; using a “pioneering” thermal energy plant that generates heat from waste; and by maximizing water usage by filtering and recycling 40 percent of waste water back into leather production.
The Scottish tannery is known here as a leader in responsible innovation, and supplies a clutch of global, luxury brands as well as companies in the aviation, passenger transport and furniture industries.
Muirhead said it is independently verified by Life Cycle Analysis, a method used to evaluate the environmental impact of a product across its life cycle.
As reported, Mulberry has committed to setting science-based targets that will push the business onto a pathway to help limit global warming to 1.5 degrees as set out by the Paris Climate Agreement.
“I’m pleased to launch Mulberry’s first capsule collection of regenerative ‘farm to finished product,’” said Thierry Andretta, CEO of Mulberry.
“The collection represents the future of the business as we continue to build a network of regenerative and organic farms to supply the hides to create our leather across the U.K. and Europe. This reinforces Mulberry’s bold commitment to the future, outlined in our Made to Last manifesto,” which Mulberry outlined earlier this year.
Mulberry is working toward a regenerative and circular model for the entire supply chain and establishing a blueprint that can be replicated with a network of its partners. The brand has said its ambition is to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2035.
Nicholas Muirhead, managing director of Muirhead, said that his company has developed “the lowest carbon soft and supple leather” for the fashion industry in order to reduce carbon intensity in high-end luxury segment overall.
Mulberry launched its Made to Last Manifesto with a commitment to transform the business to “a regenerative and circular model, encompassing the entire supply chain, from field to wardrobe” by 2030.
Currently, some 80 percent of Mulberry’s products are made from leather that is sourced from environmentally accredited tanneries, and that figure will increase to 100 percent by the fall 2022 season, according to the company.
Mulberry is also doing bag repairs at its Somerset factories, restoring more than 10,000 bags a year. It has also become an accredited Living Wage Employer, meaning that it pays an hourly wage that is higher than the government-mandated minimum wage.
Carbon generation is top of mind among brands and consumers alike. As Mulberry launched the Amberley capsule, a survey was published this week looking at U.K. consumers’ concern about their carbon footprint ahead of the holiday shopping season.
Money.co.uk, an online comparison service and consumer credit broker, said in its 2021 Dirty Delivery Report that almost one in four U.K. shoppers “considers the environmental impact of their online purchases,” an 88.1 percent increase compared with last year.
The report said that Gen Z shoppers would be willing to pay “up to 8.84 pounds per delivery” to offset the carbon produced by their online purchases — more than any other age group in the report.
It added that deliveries from Black Friday shopping in the U.K. are estimated to release more than 386,243 tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere, the equivalent to 215,778 return flights between London and Sydney.
Amazon alone is forecast to produce 15,272 tons of carbon from Black Friday deliveries, down 23 percent on 2020, according to the Money.co.uk report.