A unique social enterprise that is helping over 200 high street fashion brands meet their environmental and corporate social responsibility ambitions has signed up to the government backed, Sustainable Clothing Action Plan.
Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children has been running its clothing recycling operation for more than 20 years, turning surplus high street fashion stock including clothes, shoes and handbags into life changing equipment for thousands of vulnerable and disadvantaged children across the UK.
Last year Newlife processed 2,200 tonnes of stock from its retail partners who include Primark, Peacocks and River Island; generating carbon savings of 10,800 tonnes – the equivalent of taking 4,500 cars off the road.
Newlife removes all labels to protect the brand integrity and prevent fraudulent returns to the original retailer, and sells the products in one of its six popular community fashion stores located in Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Merseyside. All profits generated by the sale of donated stock is used to fund essential equipment and other support services for disabled and terminally ill children across the UK.
In the last twelve months Newlife sold 2.8 million items through its stores, which resulted in the charity helping 2,775 children, all of whom were in desperate need of specialist equipment.
“We’ve built up our recycling operation over the last 20 years and are proud to be the trusted partner for hundreds of leading fashion brands and retailers,” explains Mrs Sheila Brown, OBE and Newlife’s CEO.
“Honoring the energy that goes into the manufacturing process in the first place, combined with keeping the clothes in productive use for as long as possible means we’re supporting brands to fulfil their own environmental obligations.
“However, the wider benefits associated with our work is helping them to demonstrate how they’re meeting their social responsibilities too. Not only are they helping to ease the pain and suffering of thousands of disabled children each year, they are supporting us to provide employment and volunteering opportunities for adults with learning disabilities.
“Becoming a member of SCAP will enable us to further enhance the way we work with our partners and continue to improve the environmental product management service we provide.”
Katharine Stewart, Primark’s Ethical Trade and Environmental Sustainability Director commented: “Newlife provides us with an invaluable service that ensures our unsold stock and buying samples can be re-sold in support of the charity, or recycled in an environmentally sound manner. Our partnership covers our growing network of stores across Europe and is facilitated by Newlife’s ability to adapt to our requirements.”