default-output-block.skip-main
BoF Logo

The Business of Fashion

Agenda-setting intelligence, analysis and advice for the global fashion community.

FAQs: The BoF Sustainability Index

The BoF Sustainability Index aims to create a transparent and trusted benchmark to track clearly defined, measurable progress towards achieving sustainability goals in the fashion industry. Answers to questions about the underlying methodology and approach may be found below.
The Sustainability Gap
Illustration by Karan Singh for BoF.

Do you have a question about The BoF Sustainability Index? If so, please refer to our FAQs below. If you need further support, please contact us at support@businessoffashion.com.

Access

How do I access The BoF Sustainability Index?

The inaugural edition of The BoF Sustainability Index is available to be downloaded here.

Can I access the underlying data from the research?

The raw data is available upon request here.

How frequently will the Index be revisited?

The Index is a major part of BoF’s ongoing sustainability coverage.

Is it available in other languages?

There are currently no plans to translate The BoF Sustainability Index into other languages.

Company Selection

How did you choose the initial sample set of companies to assess? Why did you choose 15 in total?

The 15 companies assessed in the Index represent the largest publicly listed companies as measured by annual revenue in 2019 (according to McKinsey & Company) across three verticals: the largest five companies in luxury, the largest five in high street and the largest five in sportswear.

The initial sample size of 15 companies was considered broad enough to provide a representative sample of the largest industry players for the first iteration of the Index. We chose publicly listed companies as the assessment is based on public disclosures.

We intend to consider expanding the number of companies in scope for future iterations.

Were there any companies that did not make the final list?

We did not include companies that operate primarily as retailers, such as department stores or e-commerce platforms. The focus is on companies that own brands with a direct link to apparel and footwear manufacturing.

For the holding companies that are included in the analysis, do the scores represent averages across all subsidiaries?

The Index assesses companies at the corporate level. In most cases, companies must demonstrate they are implementing policies and practices across all brands and subsidiaries to meet the criteria in the Index. However, in some instances intended to capture more incremental stages of progress, a company may qualify if only a portion of its business meets the required criteria.

When data from companies was incomplete or not available, how did you account for this in the analysis?

The Index is based on information that was publicly available on or prior to December 31, 2020. This approach reflects the foundational importance of transparency in establishing sustainable business practices and ensuring accountability. Where public information was not available or was incomplete, companies were not considered to have demonstrated performance.

Did the companies get a chance to respond to the results of the index?

The Index is made up of a series of more than 300 binary metrics. We shared this list with each of the companies when we began our research and offered them the opportunity to respond directly. We also fact checked preliminary findings and shared a copy of our final results with each company and incorporated feedback where appropriate.

Are any of the companies advertisers or stakeholders in BoF?

BoF accepts advertising arrangements from a range of partners, some of which may appear in The BoF Sustainability Index. Such advertising arrangements and the Index are handled by separate parts of the business in order to ensure that BoF’s continued commitment to editorial integrity and independence is maintained, and any advertising arrangements between BoF and a partner shall have no impact on the methodology or outcome of the Index assessment.

Methodology and Scoring

What time frame is the data based on?

The analysis is based on publicly available information that was published on or before December 31, 2020.

Why did you choose 10 years as the time frame for companies to change?

The end of the decade is the deadline to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and a critical milestone in efforts to forestall a climate crisis. The aim of the Index is to track progress in transforming the fashion industry ahead of that 2030 milestone.

What does each company’s score across each of the six categories mean?

The Index assesses companies’ progress towards a series of ambitious targets. Each target is broken down into a binary set of metrics that enable an objective analysis of performance. Companies receive a point wherever they provide enough public information to indicate they meet the criteria to qualify for a given metric.

Companies’ scores represent the proportion of metrics within each category where they qualified for a point calculated as a percentage of the total.

How did you calculate overall company score?

The overall company score represents the mean average of the company’s scores in each of the six categories.

How did you determine the weightings of metrics, targets and categories in the calculation of overall company score?

Each of the six categories are weighted equally in determining a companies’ overall score, though the number of targets and metrics with each category vary (see The Methodology on pages 38-41 of the report for more information).

What are the targets that comprise each category?

Transparency

a. By 2022: Achieve full supply chain traceability and disclose suppliers.

b. By 2022: Analyse and disclose data on environmental and social impact.

Emissions

a. By 2030: Reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions 45 percent.

Water & Chemicals

a. By 2030: Reduce water use to naturally replenishable levels.

b. By 2030: Eliminate harmful pollution.

c. By 2030: Eliminate hazardous usage of chemicals.

d. The Baseline: Actively engage in industry efforts to minimise microfibre pollution.

Materials

a. By 2022: Procure 100 percent of materials from “preferred” sources.

b. By 2030: Procure 100 percent of all natural fibres from regenerative and socially responsible sources.

c. By 2030: Eliminate virgin polyester.

Workers’ Rights

a. The Baseline: Protecting human rights is embedded in corporate strategy.

b. By 2022: Fully align purchasing practices with commitments to ethical working conditions.

c. By 2025: Ensure workers receive a living wage.

Waste

a. By 2025: Eliminate waste to landfill and virgin and single-use plastic packaging.

b. By 2030: Establish waste-free production.

c. By 2025: Establish a circular business model.

How did you choose the targets comprising each category?

The targets were designed in consultation with an external council of sustainability experts and are intended as a framework to establish more environmentally and socially responsible business practices by the end of the decade

What are the metrics that comprise each target?

To quantifiably and objectively measure performance, we broke down each target into a series of metrics, questions with binary ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. These are initially basic, but become progressively more granular to cover implementation of best-in-class policies and practices. Together, they are intended to represent a comprehensive pathway to achieve each target. To view the complete set of metrics and guidance about how each is assessed, please click here.

Does the methodology vary by company type (e.g. sportswear, luxury)?

No, each company is assessed against the same set of criteria and in the same manner.

Is the methodology verified?

BoF created the Index targets and metrics in consultation with a council of external experts. We intend to update and build upon this initial framework. We welcome commentary and any suggestions can be shared with the BoF team by emailing support@businessoffashion.com.

Do the scores take into account effects of the coronavirus pandemic?

The Index did include metrics that interrogated how companies responded to the pandemic, particularly in regards to workers’ rights. However, the analysis is based upon information that was made public by year-end 2020 and most of the data available in this timeframe reflects performance in 2019. Information that is only becoming available in 2021 will give a clearer picture of how the last year of disruption has reshaped companies’ performance.

Sustainability Council

How did you select the members of the Sustainability Council?

The Sustainability Council was selected for its expertise of the environmental and social challenges and opportunities facing the fashion industry. Its 12 members represent an extensive knowledge-base that covers the issues raised across all six categories of the Index. For a full list of the members of the Sustainability Council see pages 46-47 of the report.

What role did the Sustainability Council play in the research?

The Sustainability Council was consulted on the methodology and assessment criteria but was not involved in researching or compiling the analysis for the Index.

How is the council impartial? For example, were any companies omitted from the Index because of their relationship with BoF or members of the advisory council?

The Sustainability Council was selected for its expertise and knowledge of the industry. Each members’ input was considered when designing the methodology to ensure no individual viewpoint coloured the outcome. Council members were not involved in the research or analysis phase of the process. For a full list of the members of the Sustainability Council see pages 46-47 of the report.

Sustainability Index
In This Article

© 2021 The Business of Fashion. All rights reserved. For more information read our Terms & Conditions

The Business of Fashion

Agenda-setting intelligence, analysis and advice for the global fashion community.
CONNECT WITH US ON
The State of Fashion: Technology
© 2022 The Business of Fashion. All rights reserved. For more information read our Terms & Conditions and Privacy policy.
The State of Fashion: Technology