On Thursday, Mara Hoffman announced that it is now Climate Neutral Certified.
The certification — growing in popularity among the fashion industry with some 300 brands including Allbirds, Kora Organics and Reformation, boasting the status — is becoming one of the many sustainability badges of honor. These companies and more are measuring and offsetting their carbon footprint according to Climate Neutral’s standardized criteria that aligns with The Greenhouse Gas Protocol, and in many cases, requires use of tenured third-party verifiers in carbon accounting or offsetting.
Championing a company-wide effort, Dana Davis, vice president of sustainability at Mara Hoffman, shared more on the process with WWD. “The biggest obstacle is time. The certification process kicked off at the beginning of the year and was wrapped by mid-April so it’s a fast process. And when you’re a small team — and yet you need a dedicated lead on the project — it’s even more arduous. On top of time and bandwidth, you need your factories to send you data, which takes follow-up. Thankfully, we have a robust system in place for style data, which makes inputting information into the measuring tools supplied by Climate Neutral pretty easy.”
For Mara Hoffman, this means the label calculates its greenhouse gas emissions spanning its supply chain (coming out to 4,158 tonnes in 2021 whereas a large company is in the millions), purchases eligible verified carbon credits to offset that footprint and implements plans to reduce emissions next year and beyond. (Not to mention the designer’s efforts speaking out in support of Sen. Gillibrand’s “Fabric Act” earlier this month).
Under Climate Neutral, all brands are required to create a “Reduction Action Plan” using the Climate Neutral template that outlines how companies will reduce emissions within the next 12 to 24 months. Depending on revenue size, this can include one or two reduction methods. Mara Hoffman is cleaning up air freight and fiber sourcing to curb its emissions. To be eligible for renewal certifications, the brand must demonstrate progress made against actions included in the prior year’s plan.
To offset emissions, Mara Hoffman purchased two separate verified carbon credits, supporting renewable energy (via 33 sets of 1,500-kilowatt wind turbines) in a project dubbed the Guyuan Wuhuaping 49.5 MW Wind Power Project in North China and the Agrocortex Redd Project, which uses privately owned land to buffer negligent deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest.
As for whether the brand will eye more corporate cues such as B Corp status, it’s a matter of time and resources.
“Choosing certifications is always very difficult for us because we are still a small company with limited resources. But we do what we can with what we have,” said Davis.