Going to the gym is something I love to do and nothing motivates me more to go than knowing I have nice workout clothes. I am a huge fan of Gymshark apparel and knowing if they’re sustainable or not is very important, which is why I decided to review this product. The sweatshirt is a part of their new training range and has already sold out in the UK as, at £35, the jumper is affordable for most people. Personally, I think Gymshark still has a little way to go to become a truly sustainable company, but they are very transparent and have acknowledged the fact that they need to do more as well as laying out exactly what they’re going to do to better themselves.
The training sweatshirt is made of two different components: 80% cotton and 20% polyester. Cotton is quite an unsustainable material to use due to the vast quantities of water required to cultivate the plants. However, Gymshark is aware of this and has partnered with the non-profit, Better Cotton Initiative, which helps to make cotton production better for the environment and better for the people who work in the industry. This means they are actively working to make production and materials more sustainable. Polyester, however, is and always will be an unsustainable material to produce due to the fact that it is derived from petroleum and it is mostly non-biodegradable, making up a large portion of pollution around the world. It is possible for polyester to be recycled and this is a potential pathway for Gymshark to take to improve its sustainability. The packaging used by Gymshark is relatively good. All dead weight has been removed such as plastic handles as well as all swing tags to reduce the amount of packaging present. Non-recyclable stickers are being phased out and some manufacturers now print directly onto the shipping bags. Other than the stickers, all packaging is recyclable.
Each product comes with a description on the website and this includes the name of the factory where the garment is manufactured. This is very transparent and allows all customers to know exactly where the product comes from as well as allowing them to investigate further should they wish. On top of this, a full list of every manufacturer used by Gymshark is included in their Transparency Report. Gymshark divides its suppliers into tiers with Tier 1 being garment manufacturing all the way down to Tier 4, which is agriculture and raw materials. Currently, third-party assessors are being used to audit Tier 1 and 2 suppliers to ensure sustainability practices are upkeeped. Unfortunately, some work still needs to be done regarding the transparency of both Tier 3 and Tier 4 suppliers. Gymshark has also been certified by a number of different groups regarding their production processes such as the Fair Labour Association, Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals, and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. The SAC also gives them access to the Higg index which allows them to measure and improve their environmental impact.
Although Gymshark is not yet fully sustainable, they are changing for the better. The company has a very young workforce with 80% of their employees under the age of 35, with 30% being younger than 25! Hopefully, this will act as a catalyst for change in the coming months and years. Gymshark really cares about its employees and how they impact the world. Their so-called “Give a Shit” days allow employees days off in the year to spend time volunteering and helping out with causes close to their hearts. The company has bold promises and knows that they aren’t 100% sustainable stating, “We know we aren’t there. We also know we aren’t done.” regarding their environmental impact. This acknowledgment suggests to me that they are on their way to creating change and I have high hopes for Gymshark in the future.