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Scottish clothing brand Endura aims to plant one million trees a year for the next decade

Joseph Delves
23 Jul 2020

Forest creation and experiments with recycling aim to reduce firm’s environmental impact

With the clothing sector in the spotlight for its environmental impact, UK-based cycling kit maker Endura is taking steps to offset and reduce its footprint.

Key to this is a promise to plant one million trees each year for the next decade. Funding schemes in Mozambique, these provide both employment and a way to expand the country’s mangrove forests which act as an enormous carbon sink.

With the textile industry second only to oil in terms of global carbon emissions, Endura’s founders claim the company is now making sustainability a key focus, even at the expense of conventional marketing. Last year the brand stopped sponsoring the Movistar team.

‘Our environmental impact lies in three main areas,’ explains co-founder Pamela Barclay. ‘The dyeing of fabrics, the energy required to run factories and product end-of-life’.

As much as any brand can choose ethical partners, energy infrastructure and the provision of recycling are out of the hands of manufacturers. This is partly the reason end-of-life issues are a particular concern.

‘When a pair of Endura shorts finds its way to the charity shop or council collection, it’ll likely have the same environmentally-damaging fate as the majority of other clothing – its final destination after onward use in poorer countries' landfill, dumping or burning.'

Part of the solution could be a chemical recycling process for synthetic material, something Endura says it’s already working on. While this will take time and industry-wide effort to develop, the million trees initiative aims to do something more immediate.

‘The one thing we must focus on now is the climate emergency,' says Barclay’s fellow co-founder Jim McFarlane.

‘Once the ice caps have melted you’re not going to refreeze them any time soon. That’s the reason for our Million Trees initiative.’

While the majority of the trees Endura has paid to be planted are growing in Mozambique, there’s also been work closer to home. This has seen 80,000 birch trees planted in Scotland.

While pushing for infrastructure change at government level, McFarlane believes that the actions of individual companies need to outstrip the pace of legislation.

‘In 20 years, you’ll be out of business if you’re not really good at this,’ says McFarlane. ‘It’ll be the customer who drives this, not legislation – legislation is too slow.’

With 619,962 trees already in the ground this year, Endura’s re-foresting promise comes in addition to its current policy of donating 1% of its net profits to good causes.

You can find more info on the scheme here: stories.endurasport.com/1-million-trees-every-year

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