Sustainability sewn in: M&S launches low-impact jeans

Marks & Spencer (M&S) is introducing new men's jeans that have been produced using five time less water than conventional methods, as well as having a reduced energy and chemical footprints.

Launching this Summer, the “Sustainable Selvedge” jeans use low-impact technology from industrial laser machinery producers Jeanologia to reduce the environmental impacts of each product. The new product requires just 14 litres of water during the manufacturing process, compared to 70 litres used in conventional practices.

The jeans also offer lower impacts for energy consumption and chemical use and achieved a score of 21 on the Environmental Impact Measurement Score for garment finishes, well below the low-impact score of 33.

The new ranges, which are available in store and online for £45, were designed as part of the M&S Plan A 2025 commitment, which was recently updated. Commitments under the plan include 100% of M&S products having a Plan A sustainability attribute by 2020, and sourcing 100% of cotton from sustainable sources by 2019.

An M&S spokesperson confirmed that the Jeanologia technology will be used across men’s and women’s denim ranges.

“The new styles of this jean have been designed as part of the M&S Plan A 2025 commitment, with the aim of sourcing 100% of cotton by 2019,” the spokesperson told edie. “We are constantly looking for ways to make every part of the process sustainable, and continue to work with Jeanologia on our core men’s and women’s denim ranges.”

Jeanologia is present in more than 45 countries and specialises in finishing technologies for textile, coding, packaging, and other industrial applications. The company utilises machinery with high outputs, flexible operating systems and shop-ready versions to reduce environmental impacts associated with energy, water and chemicals.

The new M&S range is fitted with biodegradable leather patches and recycled thread and zip tape. The product fits in with the 2025 commitment as cotton is sourced through the Better Cotton Initiative.

Planning ahead

So far, Plan A has delivered 296 eco and ethical commitments, including improving the energy efficiency of UK and Ireland-located facilities by 39% and reducing carrier bag usage by 80% since 2008.

The wide-spreading initiative has saved more than £750m for M&S and has seen more than 27 million items of clothing “shwopped” since 2008. 

M&S has also taken steps with its cotton target. The retailer teamed with other corporates and Forum for the Future to convene a new cross-industry initiative, Cotton 2040, aimed at turning sustainable cotton into a mainstream commodity.

Matt Mace

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