The Schneider Group Sustainability Strategy
Combating Climate change through joint action across the wool industry supply chain.
‘Together 2030’ is the Sustainability Strategy of The Schneider Group, which sets clear Science Based Targets to combat climate change. In order to successfully implement the Together 2030 strategy, the Schneider Group has developed activities and projects in two areas: 1) industrial emissions reduction within all Schneider Group industrial plants and offices and 2) wool supply chain collaboration through the Authentico Integrity Scheme and beyond.
Time is running – Actions taken so far
The year 2030 is a timeframe that is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals and the respective 1.5 degree Celsius scenario defined by the UN IPCC. The year 2030 may still seem far away, but with climate change, the whole world is running against the clock, and only actions taken as early as possible will take the needed effect. We have always taken the environment into account and therefore our mills are already to the highest international standards but we needed to coordinate at group level the strategies for bigger impact and to create the right culture of internal collaboration and awareness that we need to give our biggest effort to tackle this endeavour. Only openness, quality data, determination and teamwork can get us there, TOGETHER.
Establishing what is through Life Cycle Assessment
To find our starting point, we decided to perform a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for our production, and our wool top. This led to measuring the impact of all our six mills – 4 wool and 2 cashmere mills – as well as the farming stage. Within the LCA we focused on the four most relevant indicators for our operations: energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, water stewardship, and land occupation.
Starting point: 750.000 tonnes of CO2e
In a nutshell, the biggest issue is that for all the wool tops we produce each year as a Group, we emit in the order of 750.000 tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent). Out of this, roughly 35.000 tonnes are from transporting the wool to our mills and processing it; whilst 715.000 tonnes are allocated to the wool production. Yes, amazingly 4,6% of the impact of GHG (greenhouse gases) is for industry and 95,4% for farming, according to current measuring methodologies; which we also strive to modify as an industry because they do not account for user phase and end of life phases nor for externalities such as microplastics nor oil leaks. However, we need to do our homework and assume responsibilities. To put things into perspective, according to recent studies from the EU the yearly emission per capita is 4,97 tonnes of CO2e. So The Schneider Group’s processing would equate to a town the size of Kawerau, Huntly or Portland (roughly 7.000 inhabitants); whereas the emissions allocated to the production of the greasy wool consumed by the group on yearly basis would be Geelong or Tauranga (roughly 143.000 inhabitants) in comparison.
Creation of Chief Sustainability Officer Position
In September 2020, we also created the position of the Chief Sustainability Officer which is carried out by Willy Gallia. This was an important step for the Group to fully integrate sustainability within our business structures and allow our teams and business units to better work together towards our sustainability goals.
Official commitment through Science Based Targets
On 14 April 2020, The Schneider Group officially committed to set science-based targets to reduce carbon emissions to keep a rise in global temperature to well below 2°C by joining the Science Based Target initiative.
We identified that science-based targets are the most demanding, precise and measurable target setting tools available. By committing to the Science Based Targets we want to hold ourselves accountable to the most serious and relevant sustainability credentials any company could aim for. While our commitment will not be a walk in the park, science-based targets will enable us to measure exactly where we stand and help us identify in which areas of the business we can create the most effective changes. It was TOGETHER through science and determination that we managed to win the battle against ozone depletion and we firmly believe this is the precise road that can lead us to win the battle against climate change.
Joining Climate Action Network
Over the past years, we connected with relevant organisations such as UNFCCC, UNECE, Textile Exchange and the IWTO Sustainable Practices Working Group. Just like our strategy name Together 2030, we believe that the necessary change needed in order to combat climate change and to ensure a sustainable future can only be achieved by joining forces and finding consensus. We therefore invest our people, time and resources into the organisations that share our goals. At the same time we also create our own network and provide a platform for collaboration through our Authentico and Wool Connect initiatives.
Integrity Scheme Authentico
Already in 2018, we launched the Authentico Integrity Scheme for wool and cashmere fibre. Authentico certified wool for example is mulesing-free merino wool grown to the highest standards by over 650 wool growers based in Australia, New Zealand and Argentina with more grower countries to join in the future. Authentico wool can be traced from farm all the way through the wool supply chain of all Schneider Group mills with Blockchain technology. Furthermore, Authentico’s aim is not only to create a transparent supply chain but also tell the beautiful stories of growing wool and carry the intangibles up to the end users.
Wool Connect Grower Conference
Another initiative under the umbrella Together 2030 is the Wool Connect grower conference. The three day online event invites all wool growers and supply chain partners to exchange knowledge and solutions to start building consensus that will allow us to work together to fight climate change and ensure a sustainable future for the wool industry which is also a healthier, more lucrative business for all. Only by collective action can we achieve the industry standards and positioning that we all aim for: TOGETHER.