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Bacher Work Wear:
Pioneering Sustainability in the Workwear Industry Through Reuse

Building on the knowledge gained from participating in our former program, Green Circular Transition, Bacher Work Wear has expanded its environmental initiatives. Their focus on reuse has become a key pillar of their sustainability profile and business model, mainly manifested in a compelling return and reuse program that salvages and reuses textiles, preventing unnecessary waste

In a series of articles, we look at where our past program participants stand today and how they have evolved toward increasingly sustainable business practices. In this feature, you can get to know Bacher Work Wear and learn more about their journey.

Bacher Work Wear is one of Denmark’s leading suppliers of workwear, uniforms, and safety equipment for the public and private sectors. 

Along with 39 other small and medium-sized Danish businesses, they emerged more robust and better prepared for a greener future after participating in our design-driven program, Green Circular Transition.

Throughout the course, they worked with systematic and strategic use of design methods and tools, all enhancing their business development. The EU-funded program ran from 2019-2022.

The design approach has significantly changed the operational landscape of Bacher Work Wear and reshaped the way they work today:

"Participating in Green Circular Transition has been transformative, significantly enhancing our strategy and helping us evolve our approach to circularity"

Marie Budtz

Head of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, Bacher Work Wear

Reuse, reuse, reuse

Marie Budtz, Head of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability at Bacher Work Wear, participated in the program.

It was their involvement in the program that shaped their new sustainability strategy. A strategy primarily centered on reusing workwear textiles, which not only minimizes environmental footprint but also aligns with the principles of a circular economy.

Unfortunately, it’s a common practice in many companies to throw away work clothing even though it’s still usable. Establishing and designing an effective system to reuse this workwear internally involves a complex setup that many companies find difficult to integrate into their everyday operations. Also, most work clothes often bear the company’s logo, which companies must protect. That makes it difficult to resell or donate the clothes to parties outside the company. 

The challenge prompted Bacher Work Wear to develop an effective return program: a system that allows existing customers to return used textiles, which are then collected in a ‘reuse bank.’ Customers can reorder and reuse these perfectly usable work textiles from here, creating a sustainable loop.

With this system, the company ensures that work clothes, still in excellent condition, are returned to the customer – washed, quality checked, and prepared to benefit a new user.

Invest and commit

Bacher’s return approach has paid off, as the company has experienced interest and acknowledgment after implementing the initiative. 

“It helps us get new contracts signed,” says Marie Budtz.

However, she points out that the increased interest isn’t necessarily reflected in higher product sales but is somewhat due to the return and reuse program, a service offered to encourage internal reuse among existing customers. The idea behind reuse is to buy fewer new products, thereby limiting the environmentally harmful production of new textiles.

“Sustainability is an investment right now. It’s not a profit-making business right now. You have to be willing to invest and commit to it”, says Marie Budtz.

 Fortunately, new numbers show that the company is welcoming more new customers thanks to its sustainable profile. 

“The most rewarding part is to see the tangible results of our commitment to sustainability and feel that it’s beginning to influence our competitiveness,” Marie says, adding that their commitment to designing sustainable practices has become a decisive factor that often tips the scales in favor of new customers choosing Bacher Work Wear.

"The most rewarding part is to see the tangible results of our commitment to sustainability and feel that it's beginning to influence our competitiveness"

Marie Budtz

Head of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, Bacher Work Wear

Targeting scope 3 emissions

Bacher Work Wear’s strategic shift to reuse results from an in-depth analysis of the company’s environmental impact, particularly its carbon footprint.

The analysis revealed that the most significant portion of their emissions, categorized as scope 3, originates from the logistical aspects of their operations. This category is often responsible for up to 90 percent of a company’s total emissions (Danish Industry). At Bacher Work Wear, this involves external order placements, clothing fabrication, and production processes.

Bacher Work Wear has adopted a reuse-first approach to reduce this impact, prioritizing it above recycling in its operational model. That is also the most climate-saving option.

As a rule of thumb, reuse is much more environmentally friendly than recycling. Companies should prioritize reuse as a strategy over recycling to contribute to a circular economy. The reason is that recycling requires a lot of energy and resources to maintain the value of products and materials.

In fact, a lot of value is lost in the energy-intensive recycling processes (e.g., strength and other essential material properties), so it’s actually more downcycling than recycling due to the loss of value.

So, by focusing on reuse as a strategy, Bacher Work Wear is helping to extend the lifetime of their products and ensure that they have more than one use cycle, minimizing their negative impact on the environment. An approach to conserve natural resources, promote sustainable consumption, and raise customer awareness.

Evolving sustainably

Bacher Work Wear’s participation in Green Circular Transition was initially driven by the need to identify developmental areas, assess their market position, understand their competitive standing, and determine where they could make the most significant sustainability impact.

“The program has sharpened our focus and made us more confident on our sustainability journey. It also taught us that we can’t do everything perfectly from the start. It’s a process, and it still is,” explains Marie, highlighting Bacher Work Wear’s ongoing commitment to sustainable progress. 

Their next initiative is the rollout of a robust climate accounting system.

About Bacher Work Wear

The Danish company Bacher Work Wear is one of Denmark’s leading work clothing suppliers for private and public sectors. They specialize in comprehensive solutions within workwear for all types of businesses and industries within the public and private sectors. They currently have activities in more than 23 countries worldwide. 

Employees: 75
Established: 1897

Gry Brostrøm

Mission Driver

Phone +45 3115 8670
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