The news and social media feeds are full of stories and warnings about climate change. Carbon emissions, melting ice caps, deforestation and so on are a reality and Herring has taken steps to ensure it remains a sustainable business.
Our blogs have already discussed the merits of long-lasting products as opposed to the throw-away culture of buying cheap. See Slow fashion for your feet, Repair to extend the life of your shoes and Max McMurdo’s Spread the cost with slow fashion.
Ever since our business was established in 1966, Herring has created high quality footwear that is designed to last. We design some of our footwear with Goodyear welts, which means these shoes and boots can be repaired. These are easily identified on our website thanks to our ‘Repair service’ logo. You can enjoy the comfort of the leather upper that has moulded to your feet but easily replace the sole. This ensures our shoes can be worn for many years.
This is important. We don’t believe in fast fashion; we believe in slow fashion based on quality. In the past 15 years, global clothing production has doubled to meet demand for quick turnaround garments. Garments are often only worthy of a single social media post before they are thrown away or forgotten. More than half of fast fashion items are thrown away in less than a year.
We want our customers to get a good 10 years out of our shoes. We certainly don’t them to be purchased for a single Instagram post!
Aside from quality, there is the practicality of only dealing with factories that use respected European tanneries that are regulated to minimise environmental impact. We have been using 100% recycled cardboard for our shipping containers since 2016 and we use recyclable plastic and only where necessary or where it is the best choice. We also have a large photovoltaic array on our warehouse roof that harvests our lovely Devon sunshine and offsets 100% of our electricity usage.
At the start of this month, we began offsetting the carbon impact of all our shipments. To help us fund this, there is an optional customer contribution at the checkout to help us pay the fees.
Most of our shipments go through DHL and they have a cost per kilo surcharge that they then pay towards green energy, carbon offsetting and other projects. Where other couriers are not able to offer a carbon offset scheme, Herring will instead pledge to pay The Woodland Trust a donation based on the same calculation for all non-DHL shipments.
We estimate our voluntary carbon off-setting levy will be 45 pence at this stage. However, we will adjust this up or down to match the carbon usage as closely as possible. We will publish how much has been contributed by customers and by us when the scheme has been running for a while. Herring is introducing this carbon offset plan this because we believe it is the right thing to do. Some customers will choose not to pay the levy, so this will be a net cost to Herring but one that we think is well worth paying. For those of you that do choose to pay the levy, we hope you will enjoy ma king a difference with us.