Calculating Carbon Emissions & Waste Impact of Fashion Products with Otrium
Computing the Impact of 5 Million Off-Price Fashion Products & Powering the Otrium 2022 Impact Report
The carbon emissions fashion emits are worrying for our planet. Otrium, the purpose-driven fashion outlet platform, has the vision of a circular economy for fashion, to lower the impact the fashion industry has on the environment. To help Otrium better understand the overall impact of its platform and the potential of the circular economy and reduced waste practices in the fashion industry, Otrium partnered with Vaayu to quantify the avoided carbon emissions and waste of modern off-price business models, including Otrium’s own off-price business model.
The research also explored the broader role that modern outlet business models like Otrium can play in contributing to a more circular industry, lowering the impact the fashion industry has on the environment, by providing an alternative to waste streams for unsold stock. As a result, the world can also get a clearer picture of the potential of the circular economy and reduced waste in the fashion industry, casting a more precise lens over the waste and carbon emissions fashion is responsible for. With one of the largest datasets on unsold stock practices, this represents a new contribution to the understanding of this kind of outlet and off-price business model, and is a key step to helping achieve the vision of a circular economy for fashion.
The Impact of Circular Fashion Business Models Needed More Calculation Data
The impact the fashion industry has on the environment is considerable. With retail responsible for 25% of global carbon emissions and the fashion sector on track to generate 2.1 billion metric tons of carbon emissions in 2030, shifting to a circular fashion business model — like an off-price business model that sells unsold stock — is one indisputable way to decarbonize retail and usher in the circular economy in sustainable fashion.
But, until now, there has been limited research on the unsold stock practices of this circular fashion business model and its related environmental impacts in the fashion industry, due to a lack of representative primary data. In order to support the transition to a circular economy in sustainable fashion, Otrium wanted to understand the carbon emissions and waste impact of its off-price business model.
Calculating Carbon Emissions Data from 5 Million Products and Insights from 45+ Brands
Otrium partnered with Vaayu to deliver a comprehensive, independent analysis of the avoided carbon emissions and waste of its off-price business model. Calculating carbon emissions and waste savings from circular practices is highly scientific, and Vaayu used a complex avoided carbon emission calculation method, that leverages comparative/consequential life cycle assessment (LCA) analysis, to achieve it.
Vaayu used its proprietary AI and machine learning technology, alongside its team of in-house LCA experts, to gather insights from over 45 fashion brands (both available on and off Otrium) and data from almost five million fashion products live on Otrium for science-based granular carbon calculations.
This unique waste and carbon emission calculation method is among the most accurate in the industry, providing a deeper understanding of the decarbonization potential of circular practices, reducing the carbon emissions fashion emits. For Vaayu’s full methodology in calculating Otrium’s off-price business model, click here.
One of the Largest Primary Datasets on Unsold Stock Practices
Vaayu’s work with Otrium is the first of its kind to investigate the carbon emission and waste saving potential of off-price business models. As one of the largest primary datasets on unsold stock practices, it’s a major contributor to the understanding of sustainable fashion and its environmental impact, bringing us one step closer to eradicating fashion industry pollution. Compared to an alternative scenario in which off-price businesses like Otrium do not exist, Vaayu calculated that:
Otrium prevented 6,496 tonnes of carbon emissions (CO₂e) in 2022
Otrium prevented 104 tonnes of waste in 2022
Equivalent to 2,219 round-trip flights between Amsterdam and New York for one passenger, or throwing away 130,524 pairs of jeans
Otrium is using this data to form its decarbonization strategy. By providing businesses with a level of granular data that is unmatched in the industry, Vaayu is helping to drive the adoption of circularity in fashion; shining a light on the waste and carbon emissions fashion is responsible for, helping avoid fashion industry pollution and providing a benchmark for other businesses. By understanding where their performance standards sit in the current market and where they need to improve, other brands and retailers can take meaningful steps towards becoming more circular and reducing their environmental impact.
When it comes to tackling fashion industry pollution, a greater understanding of this off-price business model will help empower the sector to make the transition to more circular business models, increasing the rates of more sustainable fashion and reducing its environmental impact. This first of its kind research can help lower the impact the fashion industry has on the environment.