The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a universal urgent call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere. Launched in 2015 and set through to 2030, the goals cover the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection.
We use these goals as a blueprint for our Responsibly Joules strategy, focusing on the ones that are most relevant to our industry and where we can make the most positive impact.
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End poverty everywhere
Joules is a proud member of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), an alliance of companies and voluntary organisations working to improve the lives of workers worldwide. As members of the ETI we commit to acting responsibly and promoting decent work. We audit all our suppliers annually against the ETI base code, including clause five – ‘living wages are paid’. We also work with industry bodies such as the International Organisation of Employers and the International Labour Organisation to support social protection systems and protect poor and vulnerable people in our industry.
Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
Women are integral to the textile and garment industry making up around 80% of the workforce worldwide, and 86% of our colleagues here at Joules. However, sadly gender inequality persists worldwide, depriving women and girls of many basic rights and opportunities. We can see this in our industry and especially in the clothing supply chain, which is why we are working hard with our suppliers and across the industry to ensure the women making our clothing get a fair deal.
We audit all suppliers against the ETI base code, which includes clause seven – ‘no discrimination is practiced’, this includes gender and helps us to ensure that women have the same access to opportunities in the workplace such as hiring, compensation, training, promotion and retirement as men.
Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
Everyone has the right to clean water and sanitation – although not everyone has access to it. We’re very aware that the textile industry is a large contributor to fresh water pollution globally. That’s why, at Joules we’re working tirelessly to reduce our use of hazardous chemicals and audit our factories on their environmental impact against local law, to prevent discharge of hazardous chemicals into fresh water.
We are also currently working towards materials targets which will help to reduce the depletion of fresh water supplies and are working collaboratively with industry organisations also working on this such as the Better Cotton Initiative.
Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
At Joules we promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth. We want to be part of a world that drives progress, creates decent jobs for all and improves living standards. We want to use our voice and power to eradicate forced labour and modern slavery – two things that shouldn’t be part of today’s world but are unfortunately prevalent within the industry we work.
We are proud of the strong relationships we have established with our suppliers and aim to support them wherever possible. We use the findings of our supplier ethical audits to ensure that as we grow as a business we continue to work with suppliers who meet or exceed our expectations for fair and decent work for all.
Reduce inequality within and among countries
Inequality can be seen all over the world and can be based on income, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, race, class, ethnicity, religion and opportunity. As well as being a threat to long-term social and economic development, inequality can destroy a person’s sense of fulfilment and self-worth. At Joules, we audit against ETI base code, clause seven – ‘no discrimination is practised’ to ensure that all workers are treated fairly regardless of their differences.
We work hard to ensure Joules is a diverse and inclusive brand and employer. Our internal ‘Inclusively Joules’ action group works to build a better, more inclusive future for our people and our customers.
Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
We are only too aware of the impact the industry we are part of has on the environment. At Joules, we believe that our clothing should be built-to-last, so they can be passed on or handed down wherever possible. We work hard to ensure we deliver the quality needed to enable our customers to extend the life of their garments and thus minimise waste.
We’re working hard to move to more sustainable and recycled materials and reduce our use of unsustainable raw materials. To do this we have set ambitious short-term targets for all our key raw materials and will continue to make improvements to move to the most sustainable options wherever possible. You can read more about our raw materials targets here.
Take urgent action to combat climate change and it’s impacts
It’s now common knowledge that climate change is affecting every country on every continent. It is disrupting national economies and affecting lives. Weather patterns are changing, sea levels are rising, and as we know from recent summers and winters, weather events are becoming more extreme.
We report on the carbon emissions from our internal operations and energy usage within our Responsibly Joules report which forms part of our annual reporting. We are excited to have set targets to reduce these emissions and are working hard to put processes in place to meet these targets. We are also working on the next stage which is to set targets on the indirect emissions from our supply chain. You can read more about this target here.
We also aim to support climate action through our charity work and encourage our employees to involve themselves in charity and environmental work as part of their volunteering days in the company. Only last year we planted over 100,000 trees with The Woodland Trust, a charity that we hold close and that has the same values as Joules.
Looking after our oceans
Saving our seas and looking after our oceans must be a priority for everyone. Marine life is vitally important to the health of people and our planet. We know (if you’ll excuse the pun) that we’re a very small fish, but as the sea and coast are such a big part of what inspires us as a brand, we’re doing our part and want to do more.
We have set targets to reduce our use of synthetic materials and use more recycled materials in both our products and packaging, helping to reduce plastic waste and the use of virgin plastics. For many years, we have also teamed up with the Marine Conservation Society to encourage both customers and employees to take part in beach cleans up and down the UK. These events are important in educating and encouraging people to care for their coastlines.
Looking after our land
At Joules, everything we do is inspired by nature, so it saddens us deeply to know that wildlife and nature in every form is in retreat. As of today, humans have altered over 75% of the earth’s surface and the amount is increasing second by second.
We know, as a species and a business it’s impossible for us to halt our impact on the environment completely, however we are trying our best to lessen it.
We have set ambitious targets to move to sustainable sources for all the key raw materials used in our products. This includes sourcing materials such as viscose and rubber which are derived from wood to certified sustainable sources. We also have a strict animal welfare policy and support sustainable forest management with The Woodland Trust.
Working together to achieve these goals
These are not just our goals, not just the United Nations goals, and not just boxes we’re ticking to keep our investors happy.
We only have one planet, and it needs our help. Within our industry it’s only too easy to say nothing and do nothing. However, the days of profits before the health of the planet are gone.
We’ll be repeating this message to our employees, investors, shareholders, suppliers and customers – because if we want to achieve these goals, we need to work together.