Stella McCartney and Sustainability

British Fashion Council

Responsible. Modern. With a commitment to sustainability and ethics, the vegetarian brand’s collections are free from fur and leather.

Born and raised in London and England’s countryside, Stella McCartney graduated from Central Saint Martins. From her debut collection, the signature sharp tailoring, natural confidence and effortlessly feminine style that the house is known for today became immediately apparent. 

Following her role as Creative Director of Chloé in Paris with critical acclaim, Stella McCartney launched her eponymous fashion house in a partnership with Kering as a 50/50 joint venture, showing her first collection in 2001.

With a cruelty-free ethos and dedication to the environment, Stella McCartney’s collections and accessories are free from fur and leather.

Effortlessly feminine and naturally sexy designs inspire the confident Stella woman, while cool tailoring and sophisticated shapes are signature looks.

The brand’s Falabella bag has become an iconic and quintessential accessory. The newest member of the family – the Falabella Box – is made from vegetarian Eco Alter-Nappa and reimagined in a hard-edged structure. The Eco Alter-Nappa is made from polyester and polyurethane; and by using a coating made with over 50% vegetable oil – a renewable, natural resource – it means less petroleum is used in the product.

Stella McCartney continuously develops and engages with new ways to reduce environmental impacts, using innovative techniques throughout the supply chain and designs. Driving a modern and responsible sensibility, no leather or fur is used. The brand has implemented the use of regenerated cashmere instead of virgin cashmere, as well as sustainable viscose – both efforts have a less harmful effect on the environment. Another milestone for the brand’s environmental mission was publishing its first global Environmental Profit and Loss (EP&L) report for the full 2015 calendar year. 


The Environmental Profit and Loss (EP&L) is a form of natural capital accounting that measures and monetises the negative and positive impacts on the environment generated by a company’s activities – not just within its own operations, but also across all of its supply chains.

It is an innovative tool that goes far beyond traditional environmental reporting, enabling Stella McCartney to make better decisions. It provides the brand with a clear quantified understanding of its environmental impacts; Stella McCartney uses it to inform its product design, sourcing decisions, manufacturing, and research and development.

The EP&L analyses six major categories of environment impact (greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, water pollution, water consumption, waste, and changes in ecosystem services associated with land use change) across all of Stella McCartney's supply chain and its own operations, starting with the production of raw materials through to the sale of products to the customer.


Stella McCartney is a vegetarian brand that has never used leather, fur or skins in our products. This is a decision that Stella McCartney has always stood by both for ethical and environmental reasons and the EP&L for the wider Kering business that does use leather has helped to further highlight the environmental impact leather has. Through the EP&L we have been able to directly compare the impact of the synthetic alternatives that the brand uses to the impacts of leather use.

Leather impacts are driven by land use and greenhouse gas emissions associated with animal rearing, as well as the energy use and water consumption requirements of tanneries.

In Brazil for example, the cattle industry has been a driver of deforestation – resulting in a loss of important ecosystem services. Additionally, it is inefficient in terms of production per hectare. As a result, leather from Brazil has very high environmental impact per kg, as shown in the video, when compared to synthetic alternatives.


Cashmere has the highest impact environmentally out of all the raw materials Stella McCartney uses in its production chain – roughly 100 times the environmental impact of wool. As a result, the brand has ceased to use virgin cashmere in its knitwear collections and has begun using a regenerated cashmere yarn instead called Re.VersoTM made from post-factory waste in Italy. The regenerated cashmere has an 87% reduction in environmental impact when compared to virgin cashmere.

It takes 4 goats to produce enough fiber to make a single cashmere sweater – compare that to wool, where 1 sheep produces enough fiber to make up to 5 sweaters.

Cashmere has therefore traditionally been considered a luxury fiber; however, today casual cashmere products are widely available as affordable goods. This increase in the global demand for cashmere has resulted in an increase in the goat population, which is destroying the grasslands in Mongolia.

Cashmere has the highest impact environmentally out of all the raw materials Stella McCartney uses, this is why the brand has switched to regenerated cashmere.

Regenerated Cashmere, Stella McCartney


In 2014, Stella McCartney partnered with the NGO Canopy and made a commitment to ensure that all of its cellulose fabrics (viscose) meet strict sustainability standards by 2017.

Stella McCartney wanted to ensure that the raw materials used to make the brand's fabrics neither contributed to the loss of ancient and endangered forests nor originated from other controversial sources.

As of the Spring 2017 collection, Stella McCartney has met this commitment. All of the brand's viscose for RTW is coming from sustainably certified forests in Sweden – processed in Germany and fabrics are made in Italy, a fully European supply chain.

Stella McCartney's supply chain starts with a sustainably managed and certified forest in Sweden. The pulp goes from Sweden to Germany where it is turned into the high quality viscose filament that the brand uses. The filament is then sent to Italy where it is turned into Stella McCartney's fabrics. Each year more than 120 million trees are logged solely for fabric production.

The need for urgent change is compelling and abundantly clear. Cellulosic fabrics such as viscose and lyocell are a direct product of trees cut down exclusively to feed dissolving pulp mills. Forest ecosystems affected include the northern Boreal Forests of Canada and Russia, Coastal Temperate Rainforests of western North America, and the Tropical Rainforests of Indonesia, South East Asia and Brazil.

All of Stella McCartney's viscose for its ready to wear collection comes from sustainably certified forests in Sweden – processed in Germany and fabrics made in Italy.

Sustainable Viscose, Stella McCartney

Sustainable Viscose, Stella McCartney


Stella McCartney marked Earth Week 2017 with the Clevercare project, reminding us to consider the environment when caring for garments. Clevercare is a care symbol, a website and communication campaign all rolled into one initiative; and the symbol has featured on Stella McCartney garment labels since the brand’s Spring 2015 collection.

The brand highlighted the importance of making quality items that last for years without the need to throw away, and also to look after clothes with the environment in mind. 25% of the carbon footprint of clothes comes from the way we care for them and an estimated 350,000 tonnes of used clothing goes to landfill in the UK every year.

Extending the average life of clothes by just three months of active use per item would lead to a 5 to 10% reduction in each of the carbon, water and waste footprints. Laundry accounts for around one-quarter of the carbon footprint of clothing. Washing clothes less often, washing at a lower temperature, using larger loads and tumble drying less is an easy way to reduce environmental impact.

Ocean Legend

Revealed on World Ocean’s Day 2017, Stella McCartney’s Ocean Legend project with Parley for the Oceans and Sea Shepherd supported the protection of the oceans to prevent their destruction.

Parley for the Oceans is a space and network where the creative industries come together to raise awareness about the oceans and collaborate on projects that can end their destruction. In particular, the Parley Ocean Plastic Program – led by the Parley AIR Strategy (Avoid, Intercept and Redesign) – combats marine plastic pollution; one of the biggest threats to the ocean today.

As part of the collaboration between Stella McCartney and Parley for the Oceans, the brand designed a limited edition Falabella Go backpack made from Parley Ocean Plastic™ - yarn created from recycled marine plastic. 100% of the proceeds go towards supporting the Sea Shepherd mission.

Sea Shepherd is an international non-profit ocean conservation organisation founded in 1977 by Captain Paul Watson. Its mission - to protect all marine wildlife and end the oceans’ destruction. Sea Shepherd uses direct-action to expose and stop poaching, unsustainable fishing and habitat destruction as well as enforcing international conservation laws.

Credits: Story

This exhibit was created by the British Fashion Council in collaboration with Stella McCartney.

All rights belong to Stella McCartney unless otherwise specifically stated. All models and photographers have been credited where known.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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