How Everlane is creating a sustainable future in retail

"We're able to double click into a material, product or category basis so that we can find the ripest of the low-hanging fruit.”

everlane shoes

Everlane was founded on making a difference. The US-based apparel and footwear brand launched in 2010 with a commitment to creating high-quality products that are ethically and sustainably sourced, without charging luxury prices. “Measuring our impacts and trying to do something about it has always been part of our history,” says Katina Boutis, Everlane’s Director of Sustainability.

In keeping with the three pillars that guide their sustainability work—keep Earth cool, keep Earth clean, do right by people—Everlane set ambitious Science-Based Targets: 55% lower carbon emissions per product and 46% lower emissions in stores and offices by 2030, and net zero emissions by 2050 (or sooner).

But setting targets is the easy part. Achieving those targets—especially when you’re growing exponentially and sourcing products from over 40 factories in over 10 different countries—is where the real work happens.

From 8 months to 8 weeks

Everlane came to Watershed to accelerate its emissions measurement—and to shift from backward-looking analyses to forward-looking strategy. Previously, Everlane worked with consultants on carbon footprints that took upwards of eight months to produce.

Watershed is so impressive—they turned our data around so quickly. In about eight weeks, we had our full annual footprint.

Katina Boutis,
Director of Sustainability, Everlane

With the ability to quickly and efficiently measure, analyze, and drill into their emissions data, Everlane could finally turn its attention to what really mattered: how to increase future impact by bringing emissions reduction into company-level strategy and decision-making.

Designing the future

At Everlane, the process of creating a new product begins long before consumers can buy it.

“We’re sketching today what we’ll be producing in a year or more: what styles are we going to bring to life? What materials and processes are we going to use to make them in? And where are we going to find all of these materials and processes and partners around the world to help us bring them to life?” says Katina. “So we actually have a critical moment, a year ahead of time, to influence and understand what our impacts might be.

Using insights from Watershed, Everlane can map how different material or process choices impact their total footprint, and make an informed design decision.

With Watershed, we're able to double click into a material basis or a product basis or a category basis, so that we can find the ripest of the low-hanging fruit.

Katina Boutis,
Director of Sustainability

Finding opportunity in the supply chain

Like most apparel companies, the vast majority of Everlane’s emissions come from its supply chain (defined as Scope 3 by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol). Because these emissions are generated by external suppliers and vendors, they’re notoriously difficult to measure and reduce.

In fact, when first starting their climate work, Everlane realized something alarming: their strong company growth had them on track for a 10x emissions increase in as little as five years.

But with the right data and tools, Everlane has been able to make significant strides in addressing and reducing their Scope 3 emissions. “They’re not under our control, but they are under our influence,” Katina explains. By working directly with suppliers to model the impact of switching to recycled materials, developing innovative new materials like cactus leather and 100% recycled fabrics, and by encouraging vendors to enact their own emissions reduction initiatives, Everlane has achieved substantial per-product emissions reductions in just two years.

A win-win for climate and business

The insights Everlane has gained with Watershed have led to meaningful product changes—along with meaningful reductions to their carbon footprint.

The speed and agility and accuracy that we've been able to gain through our partnership with Watershed really helps us understand our impacts, inform our internal teams faster, and adapt our strategy. The ability to see different changes and how they've impacted our footprint is really, really crucial.

Katina Boutis,
Director of Sustainability

Everlane serves a highly discerning customer base, so every sustainability decision the company makes has a concrete impact on the bottom line. Having trusted, accurate, and streamlined insights to power their decisions means they can unlock powerful business value from climate work—and reach their climate goals faster than anticipated.

It can feel risky to go into the unknown, but being able to back it up with measurement and data in a way that’s credible and tangible has given us confidence.

Katina Boutis,
Director of Sustainability