How Boden Hit Their Carbon Neutral Target in 2022 with Ben Dreyer, Strategy, Sustainability, and Operations Director (episode 421)

Ben Dreyer is the Strategy, Sustainability, and Operations Director at Boden. The fashion brand Boden was founded in 1991, and Ben’s been there since 1998! Selling globally they now do £350 million a year.

Ben Dreyer Boden on eCommerce MasterPlan Podcast

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Sustainability from Day 1

Boden’s sustainability program is called Doing the Right Thing, and they’ve been at it since the beginning.

At Boden, they design and make clothes that people will want to wear again and again and even pass on to other people. They also make sure to work with the right factories. They even went to the extent of investing in a rainforest to protect it.

Sustainability is a tricky business, according to Ben, and you really need to have people taking the lead and talking about the challenges and what to do about them. But it has always been a priority at Boden since the 90s.

Carbon Reduction

For Ben, an area in sustainability where you can have a quick win is carbon reduction.

There are two things you can do:

  • Reduce your carbon usage
  • Offsetting what you do use

At Boden, they were aiming to get carbon neutral by 2025 on scopes one and two, which cover items you’re directly responsible for. But they were able to do it this year because they found a lot of quick wins on that front.

Making Packaging More Sustainable

At Boden, their aim in terms of packaging is to be 100% recycled and 100% recyclable by 2025, and Ben says they’re in pretty good shape in reaching their target.

With packaging, the key thing to remember is that you want your customer to receive their package undamaged. You want to make sure your packaging does what it’s meant to do which is protect your product.

Ben shares they continue to encounter challenges but are also making good progress on the packaging front.

The Grey Area with Sustainability

Still on the topic of sustainability, Ben admits there are nuances around it. You can be doing the right things, but people can still be worried about taking too many risks.

The whole dilemma is that everything has its pros and cons, and in the clothing industry, there are real challenges because it doesn’t have a good reputation in terms of sustainability.

However, they’re doing what they can at Boden to make sure you get clothing that’s not only beautiful but also created with the planet in mind.

How to Shout About Your Progress

Ben says people are really engaged with the subject of sustainability, and their team at Boden is no different.

Even those who look at the business from a more financial and commercial point of view quickly get on board with the idea of sustainability. Ben explains that you just have to talk to them about it, and you’ll immediately begin to land some positives.

eCommerce Book Top Tip

Commerce Traffic Top Tip

  • Ben’s tip is recommend a friend. When you get that up and running and find ways to make it effective, recommending a friend can be a great strategy for any business.

Tool Top Tip

  • After more than 2 years of the pandemic, face-to-face interaction is something that Ben’s enjoying at the moment. It’s not a tool, but it’s something that can generate a lot of positive energy.

Growth Top Tip

  • Going back to Jim Collins’s book Good to Great, Ben says to keep it simple and focus on what you’re really good at, then channel your energy into what you do best.

Interview Links

Related episodes

  • Boden’s Head of Online Trade and eCommerce Nick Stragnell discusses everything eCommerce (episode 236)
  • Embedding ethics and sustainability into luxury brand Elvis & Kresse – super inspiring story (episode 392)
  • What does successful sustainability marketing look like in 2023? With Sustainable eCommerce’s Giles Smith (episode 415)

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