Global wardrobe makeover: Sustainability Edition
Global wardrobe makeover: Sustainability Edition
uniform-solutions

Global wardrobe makeover: Sustainability Edition

ANZ shares with stakeholders their sustainability journey and the changes they have been able to put in place.

ANZ has more than 10,000 employees globally who wear a uniform. Each employee may have up to 18 different items, and these are refreshed every year.

That's a lot of materials – not just the garments themselves, but also what's needed to make, label, protect and send them to our employees around the world.

Together with our global wardrobe supplier (Workwear Group), our Global Wardrobe Team has been working hard to reduce the environmental footprint of the ANZ branded apparel worn by our ANZ staff around the world.

It's definitely a journey, rather than a destination, but it's one we're very excited about embarking on,

says Sonya Mitchell, who is the New Zealand representative on the global wardrobe steering committee, as well as a member of the Sustainability Working Group.

"We had feedback from staff who were concerned with the huge amount of plastic packaging that is used to distribute the wardrobe items. So we've been working really hard with our global supplier to implement some changes for the 2021 refresh, and there's more in the pipeline for later in the year."

Some of the big wins so far (including some that are coming with the March 2021 refresh):

  • Plastic hangers have been removed from all our ladies' casual jackets and dresses – these will now be flat packed, resulting in 2,300 fewer plastic hangers each year
  • A large reduction in internal plastics on all our business style shirts, resulting in approximately 10,000 fewer pieces of plastic each year
  • The ANZ branded garment tags, known as Swing Tags, are now made on recycled and FSC approved card and use soy printing
  • All ANZ internal labels on all garments are now made with recycled thread as opposed to normal thread
  • All suiting and shirting garments now come in oxo-biodegrable outer plastic packaging, which is necessary to keep the garments clean and protected (still a work in progress to improve this further).
  • A massive 300,000 garments or approximately 54 tonne, was diverted from landfill during the global recall of the previous ANZ uniforms
  • In addition, another 4,800 wardrobe pieces from the previous range were ‘de-branded' and donated to ANZ Social Partners to be reused by those less fortunate
  • Staff are now able to opt out of receiving certain items that they won't wear, instead of having to receive the complete pack (applicable for NZ only).

Next on the wardrobe sustainability slate is to look at using sustainable cotton and other recycled fibres, threads and yarns in our garment fabric bases, as well as researching all options for more sustainable zippers, buttons and tags. Continued testing and investigation will also occur within the packaging and disposal solutions as well.

There's lots of options and methods to investigate on this journey," says Sonya.

"But it's a key part of our purpose and it feels great to be able to chip away. Because we have so many employees, each small change can make a big difference.

Workwear Group has been working in partnership with ANZ since 1987 and we are proud to continue on this sustainability journey with them.

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