ethically made. sustainable. fun.

Greener, Fairer, Better - 2023

Introducing our second annual update

We’re delighted to present our second annual update, setting out those projects and actions we’ve undertaken this year under our programme of continuous improvement, and introducing those we have planned for the next.

Each of the activities we undertake under our continuous improvement programme is focussed on supporting and strengthening our commitment to our three enduring core values:

  • Respect for the planet
  • Respect for people, and
  • Respect for quality

You can read more about our core values, and exactly what each one means to us here.

As we did in our last report, we've measured each of this year's achievements against commitments we made in the previous year, and we've looked forwards at what we’re planning on tackling in the coming year.

And as always, we'd love to hear your feedback and your ideas. We hope that you'll continue to help us shape ColieCo, our collections and our future.

Greener, Fairer, Better 2023 | ColieCo Lingerie

Our 2023 report

In the three sections below, each focused around one of our core values, you’ll find details of the activities we’ve completed in the past year under our continuous improvement programme, and activities we have planned for the coming year.

Respect for the environment

What we've been doing

Completing the switch to 100% renewable energy

Last year, we committed to transitioning to 100% green energy tariffs to power both the ColieCo Studio and ColieCo office, and in March we completed the switch with the help of our energy partner, EDP Commercial.

Our energy mix for 2023 to date has comprised 73% hydroelectric power, 9% wind power, and 18% from other renewable sources, including solar power.

The ColieCo Studio remains naturally air-conditioned.

Materials - expanding our TENCEL™ Intimate collection

Last May, we launched our TENCEL™ Intimate collection, and in last year's report, we committed to expanding our use of TENCEL™ Lyocell to represent a growing proportion of the natural-origin virgin fabric we use.

Following our 2022 report, we launched a new TENCEL™ mini-collection, featuring our REMI romper and ZOEY french knickers, and introduced three new colour options across the rest of our TENCEL™ Intimate collection. We have also continued the switch from organic cotton and bamboo jersey to TENCEL™ Lyocell gussets.

TENCEL™ Lyocell is widely considered to be one of the most sustainable organic origin fabrics available to the fashion industry.

The fibres used to produce TENCEL Lyocell are derived from sustainably grown wood harvested from certified and controlled sources, and processed using a unique closed loop system which recovers and reuses the solvents used, minimizing the environmental impact of production.

Our commitment to TENCEL™ Lyocell supports our Pledge on Sustainable Fabrics, which guarantees ColieCo customers that each and every fabric used in the creation of their lingerie, underwear and swimwear will meet one of our three criteria defining sustainable fabrics.

You can learn more about the environmental credentials of TENCEL Lyocell here.

Other components - elastics

Last year, we committed to increasing the proportion of our elastic which is manufactured locally, and we have continued to work with our new OEKO-TEX STeP programme-certified manufacturer here in Portugal to achieve this. 

All of our strapping elastic, with the exception of the elastic used to produce some of our suspenders and harnesses, will now be manufactured in Portugal. The rest of our elastic continues to be manufactured in Germany by another supplier carrying OEKO-TEX STeP programme certification.

Circularity - support and advice for customers

As introduced in our 2022 report, this year we have been working on various activities with the aim of helping our customers understand how they can best care for and dispose of their garments from an environmental perspective.

We have already added more information for customers to the care instructions in our product pages and published a respective blog post, and we are actively working on a more extensive care guide for, as well as providing a material-specific end-of-life guide for customers with each order we ship.  

What we have planned

Our targets for next year include:

  • The completion of the measurement of our Scope 1, 2 and 3 carbon emissions, and the definition of our carbon reduction goals and net zero transition plan
  • Continuing to examine new fabric options to ensure that we’re using the most sustainable fabrics available for the creation of your lingerie, underwear and swimwear (whilst continuing to maintain a balance between natural-origin virgin, recycled and reclaimed fabrics)
  • The completion of our project delivering more information for customers on how they can best care for, maintain and dispose of their garments from an environmental perspective.

Respect for people

What we’ve been doing

Code of Ethics and Conduct

In December last year, we published the first version of our Code of Ethics and Conduct (CoEC; we're currently employing version two of the Code, published in April this year and which you can read in full here.)

The CoEC sets standards which all of those working for and on behalf of ColieCo must follow. It includes sections defining our values, principles and responsibilities, and our standards for third parties acting in partnership with and supplying ColieCo.

The Code is also used to guide our Programme of Continuous Improvement - the programme that Greener, Fairer, Better reports on - and in the assessment and ongoing reassessment of the suitability of third party partners and suppliers.

In addition to setting out standards for both ColieCo and our suppliers with regard to workers' rights and working conditions, the CoEC also covers both environmental and social responsibility.

You can read the latest version of the CoEC here.

Supply chain assessments

In accordance with the requirements set out in our Code of Ethics and Conduct, we have begun the assessment of all of our virgin and recycled fabric manufacturers against the Code's standards, and completed the reviews of all of our virgin fabric manufacturers satisfactorily.

We've dedicated a huge amount of time to this activity this year, and whilst we have found most suppliers and manufacturers to be exceptionally helpful and transparent in their responses to our requests for information and evidence, others have been less forthcoming to the point of obstruction.

Whereas large, multinational brands may able to make direct demands of their manufacturers and other suppliers in such circumstances, leveraging the much more significant financial threat of the withdrawal of their business, SMEs like ourselves are not.

Nevertheless, transparency is critically important to us at ColieCo. There is no way for us, let alone our customers, to begin to measure ourselves against the newly reinforced standards we have set in supporting our core values unless we are able to collect and verify the data necessary to measure and monitor our supply chain.

As such, where we are met with obstruction by suppliers who are unwilling to demonstrate a commitment to transparency in their operations, we are left with no alternative other than to seek alternative partners.

More information about the suppliers and supply chains of all of our virgin and recycled fabrics can be found here

Representation of demographics across our customer base 

Further to commitments we made in last year's report, we have redoubled our efforts to ensure that ColieCo represents, supports and celebrates diversity not only through our collaborations with minority-led and minority-championing individuals and organisations, but also in our product photography and marketing, and specifically with regard to our representation of plus-sized customers.

Equity and community - pricing

At last year’s price review, we committed to freezing retail prices across the entire ColieCo range, with the sole exception of some garments using larger amounts of RPET fabric, due to the direct increased cost of this fabric to us.

This year we have again worked to freeze all of the prices across the ColieCo collection, and have been able to reduce the price of most of the items in our TENCEL™ Intimate collection. 

The global economic climate remains challenging, and we stand firm in our belief that businesses have a critical responsibility to help wherever and however possible with what is an enduring cost of living crisis facing people around the globe, particularly in controlling retail price inflation.  

Equity and community - activism

ColieCo continues to actively campaign for the improvement of rights, conditions and pay for textiles and garment workers in the developing world, supporting Labour Behind the Label and Fashion Revolution's Good Clothes, Fair Pay campaign. This year, for every order placed over the Black Friday weekend, we made a donation to the Awaj Foundation in Bangladesh to support garment workers affected by the violence surrounding their campaign for a fair living wage.

Civic engagement

We continue to actively support the Sagres Beach Clean project, a local volunteer initiative removing plastic waste, fishing gear and other refuse from the shorelines and coastal waters of the Costa Vicentina Natural Park, and aiming to raise awareness of the damage to the environment caused by plastic pollution.

What we have planned

Our targets for next year include:

  • Assessment of new potential suppliers against our Code of Ethics and Conduct. 

Respect for quality

What we’ve been doing

Garments - sizing

In order to provide a more convenient and standardised service to more of our customers, this year we have extended our standard size range from 2XS to 3XL across the entire ColieCo collection.

We've also extended our standard bra size range to offer cup sizes to F. We continue to offer a custom, made-to-measure service for customers between sizes, outside our standard size range or with specific or unique requirements.

Garments - other materials

From January 2024, all of the hook fastenings, rings and sliders we'll be using across our collection (with the exception of our HEARTBREAKER suspender belt and thigh harnesses) will be sourced in Europe and made from 24K pure gold finished zamak.

This premium quality hardware does not tarnish, is 100% nickel-free, and is also OEKO-TEX STANDARD 100 certified.

What we have planned

Our targets for next year include:

  • Several updates to existing garment designs to deliver even greater comfort
  • The introduction of customer accounts to help improve end-to-end customer experience, including access to order information, post-sale services, and return customer benefits 

A message from our founder

Thanks for catching up with our second annual update. It has been another incredibly busy year in both the ColieCo Studio and our office, working hard to deliver you the very best collection and services we're able to offer, and, as importantly, in the right way. 

If you have any comments or questions about any of the activities in this review, if you'd like further details, or if there are other areas of the business you’d like to hear more about or for us to focus on, please get in touch with us by email at or connect with us via social media (you'll find our links under 'Connect with us' at the bottom of the page), and we promise that we’ll get back to you super quick.

Thank you, as always, to all of those who have supported indie brands, local enterprises, activist brands, and organisations representing and championing the slow fashion movement this year. Let's ensure 2024 is another year of positive progress in shaping a more sustainable and fairer fashion future.

Nicole x 

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