Ganni believes that you can’t spell responsibility without the letter ‘B’.
The first ‘B’? Bananas.
Earlier this month, the Danish brand unveiled a new “breakthrough” fabric innovation that combines 65 percent Global Organic Textile Standard-certified organic cotton with 35 percent agriculture waste from banana farms in India.
Made by Madrid-based Pyratex, Pyratex Element 2 is part of Ganni’s Fabrics of the Future initiative, which it launched in 2019 to scale up promising new inputs for new collections. The proof of concept is a limited-edition three-piece tracksuit, comprising pants, a hoodie and a fitted crop top, that is currently available online at Ganni.com and at select stores.
There is a “long tradition” of burning agricultural waste in the South Asian nation, Pyratex said. When farmers harvest the banana tree, the leaves and trunks typically go up in smoke. The idea is that by intercepting this material, Pyratex will be able to eliminate some of those emissions while providing local producers with an additional source of income.
“By avoiding the carbon release that comes from burning agri-waste you alleviate a problem while simultaneously creating a responsible alternative to synthetic products—it’s that kind of circular mindset we need more of,” said Ganni founder Nicolaj Reffstrup. “We are super proud to be working with industry pioneers Pyratex who are paving the way for a more responsible fashion industry.”
Improving Ganni’s materials portfolio is a key goal of the Fabrics of the Future initiative, which previously incorporated mycelium leather Mylo and recycled cotton Circulose into the Cool Girl fave’s sourcing ecosystem. In June, Ganni teamed up with Copenhagen-based startup Stem to create a three-piece circular collection using a zero-waste production process that leaves nothing behind.
While adopting experimental materials and techniques isn’t without potential dangers—or extra costs—Reffstrup said that Ganni “refuses” to accept the “industry status quo.”
“Through Fabrics of the Future, we are committed to supporting start-ups in scaling their innovations,” he said. “Fabric innovations will play a crucial role in making fashion more circular as well as creating lower impact materials, but for that to happen brands need to place bets and take risks.”
It’s because Ganni is such a firm believer in change, the “not a sustainable brand” said, that it applied for—and was awarded this week—its second ‘B’: that is, B Corp certification. This means it’s now legally required to consider the impact of its decisions on people and the planet.
The process of becoming a B Corp isn’t for the faint-hearted. To qualify, a company must first score at least 80 out of 200 points on a deep-dive questionnaire known as the B Impact Assessment spanning five impact areas: governance, the environment, customers, community and workers.
Over 12 months Ganni worked to garner 90.6 points, which it said is “worth celebrating” but represents only the start of its journey. Its next goal is to hit 150 points by rolling out its carbon insetting scheme (a type of carbon offsetting, but within a company’s own value chain rather than someone else’s), scaling innovative fabrics and doubling down on circular business models like repair and resale.
So far, the brand has committed to phasing out virgin animal leather by 2023. By 2027, it plans to cut its absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent. B Corp certification, which mostly relies on self-reporting, isn’t perfect, Reffstrup admitted, but he doesn’t want to wait for legislation to catch up with his ambition before doing something.
“I have been hoping for industry-wide auditing for years because sustainability initiatives are still largely unregulated,” he said. “As long as our politicians keep proving they don’t have the guts to push the green agenda forward via legislation businesses are left to regulate themselves. B Corp offers a tangible and transparent framework for keeping businesses accountable and setting industry benchmarks.”