Sustainability is at the core of everything we do. We founded this business on the principle of having no negative impact at any stage of the process, hence the name! Here are just some of the ways we try to make ZNC as environmentally friendly as possible:
All of our products are certified as being made from organic cotton, recycled plastic, or a blend of the two. These have a drastically lower carbon footprint than conventional cotton or virgin polyester. We use only water-based, solvent-free, plastic-free inks and heat transfers for garment decoration - even the transfer backings are made of PET, which is all recycled! Any tags attached to garments are made of recycled card, attached by recycled string, and the invoice in every box is made of recycled paper.
Check out the We Impact page for more about the environmental impacts of our textiles.
Working From Home
We were ahead of the game on this, well before the COVID-19 era! We're a family business with a workshop on site, meaning no travel emissions to get to work every morning! Whenever we do travel to meet potential clients we assess the most environmentally friendly way of getting there, and go with that! We calculate our annual travel carbon footprint and offset this using tree planting schemes.
Our suppliers all have some form of environmental and labour accreditations, and each product page will list the certifications that apply to that particular product. You can read more about the different types of accreditation by clicking here. As everything we stock is either organic cotton, recycled plastic or a blend of the two, the carbon emissions used in their production are significantly less than conventional cotton and polyester. You can have a look at the We Impact page to see the environmental benefits of these materials.
The vast majority of our stock is held in the UK and delivered to us by DPD's carbon neutral service.
Our main partner factory in India is certificated as entirely carbon neutral, being powered by solar and wind energy. It has Carbon Trust certification that covers the cultivation and harvesting of cotton, fibre processing, textile production, packaging, transportation and warehousing as all being carbon neutral.
Everything sent out by ZNC is sent in plastic free packaging. For public customers ordering from the site, this takes the form of easily recycled letterbox-size cardboard boxes or craft paper bags. All our packaging now comes from Lil Packaging, and is 100% recyclable and biodegradable. It can even be composted right in your garden due to an additive in the material, and comes with instructions on the bag! It's printed with vegetable ink and made right here in the UK. Boxes are sealed with recyclable paper tape and paper stickers.
For bulk orders ZNC never purchases virgin cardboard boxes. We simply reuse boxes we've been sent ourselves from our various suppliers, and appreciate when our suppliers do this too - we once had an order delivered in an old Corn Flakes box! We use recyclable paper tape to seal them, and our postage labels are thermal printed, so no nasty inks there either!
Statistics are hard to come by in terms of the environmental impact of postage. The International Post Corporation's 2018 Sustainability Report suggests the carbon emissions of a letter sized delivery (as our t-shirts are classed as) is 35.3g, and parcels (for hoodies etc) is 423.9g. These stats are based on calculations from postal services all over the world, and it is likely that Royal Mail (the service we use for our direct to customer deliveries) outperforms this drastically. However, as the statistics are not readily available, we use the numbers as reported by the IPC. We add emissions created by our deliveries to our annual carbon footprint.
We send all bulk orders by DPD's carbon neutral service.
We use socket meters to accurately track our electricity usage over the course of a year. We can then add this number to our annual carbon footprint.
From 1 June 2020 our office and workshop will be powered by 100% green energy. The majority is generated by solar power, but there's also a bit of wind and biomass thrown in there too. Our energy supplier specialises in supplying only green power, just as we supply only sustainable clothing, so they're the perfect fit. They generate almost 4tWh of green energy a year, saving 3.6m tons of CO2 annually.
Wherever possible we ask suppliers to deliver to us in plastic free packaging. If this isn't possible, we separate all our waste in to different recycling groups using specific bins in our workshop and office, and recycle it through our local council. Because of this policy we divert the vast majority of our waste from landfill. Any returned/damaged garments that can't be sold are either worn by us for work, used as print samples, or donated to charity.
One of the most regularly used items in our workshop is parchment paper which is used to prevent ink transfer when printing designs on to garments. Traditionally this is coated in a waxy chemical to make it non-stick, which makes it very difficult to recycle, and this made up the vast majority of our landfill-bound waste. We scoured the internet to find an eco-friendly alternative and found one, made from FSC certified trees, chemical free and best of all - compostable! We now use this for all prints, reducing our waste even further.
Not only do we offer free educational talks on the environmental impact of the clothing industry and regularly post about the same on our social media pages, but we also are constantly learning within the company. All our team are currently undertaking a Diploma in Sustainable Business.
We aim to keep our carbon footprint as low as possible and actively take steps to reduce emissions and waste wherever possible. Where we can't avoid it, we add it into our annual footprint, calculated using the Carbon Footprint Calculator for small businesses, and then offset this using their tree planting programmes in the UK and around the world.
The Right Partners
We can be quite picky when it comes to who we work with. We're happy to provide clothing to companies and organisations who are genuinely trying to reduce their environmental impact and we have turned down orders from organisations who did not match our vision. If you're wanting a t-shirt that costs less than a cup of coffee, you're on the wrong website!
We will always do our best to provide the most competitive quotes for our clients, but this will not be at the expense of our environmental principles. You'll be surprised how affordable sustainable clothing can be and as we say - clothing needn't cost the earth, financially or environmentally.