For 25 years, TOAST has championed a slow and considered way of life. We are keenly aware of our impact on people and the planet. We create clothes and home products that are durable - both in their life cycle and in their style - making it possible to use them for many years.We want to understand where and how we can make a difference as our business grows. With growth comes responsibility, and opportunity to drive change.
Community is at the heart of every facet of our business and we believe our best path forward isn’t as a singular voice but a collaborative one, working closely with our customers, suppliers and makers. Global clothing consumption continues to rise, and while our human consumption creates jobs and growth in developing nations, it also has an enormous environmental and social cost. As a result, we have created a roadmap to tackle this that reflects our purpose and values.
At TOAST, social conscience is an active journey considering our areas of impact in which we strive to enrich and educate, cherish our materials and minimise our waste. Together, we hope to create long-lasting products to be cherished both today and tomorrow.
Our annual Social Conscience Report outlines progress against our commitments, the challenges we face and our next steps.
Our Latest Social Conscience Report (opens as a PDF file in a new window)
Enrich & Educate
We hope to educate and inspire you to make more informed choices and for you to regularly engage in sustainable practices aided by our clothing care, repair and community initiatives.
- We profile makers, factories, and provide an insight into the making of our products alongside interviews with people who inspire us and share our thoughtful ethos.
- We foster a thoughtful workplace, nurturing individual growth. We value creativity and encourage employees to present their ideas and to find meaning in their roles.
- We provide detailed information about TOAST materials, explaining our approach to fibre sourcing and creating our fabrics as well as online care advice for all fabrics to ensure they last.
- New Makers, now in its fifth year running, is providing a platform along with one-on-one mentoring for emerging makers. To date we have helped launch the careers of 25 emerging makers.
- We run repair workshops across the UK and online, with helpful guides to mastering traditional techniques such as sashiko, as well as other forms of reuse through the lenses of sustainability, culture and storytelling.
- We ensure our communications, imagery, and tone of voice are more representative of our growing community of thoughtful creatives from diverse backgrounds. However, we still have a long way to go to ensure our brand is more inclusive, and commit to continued action.
- We will track against our Social Conscience Attributes, and aim to show year-on-year improvements. This detailed supplier and product information allows you to make more informed choices.
- We will commit to partnering with mentorship programmes supporting creative students and graduates each year from 2023, offering guided experience in various departments of the business.
- We aim to provide an inclusive setting, one where we celebrate and nurture our thoughtful, diverse creatives, both locally and internationally.
- We will support creative communities through long-term commitments to global and local charities and organisations.
Cherish Materials & Make
For 25 years, we have honoured the importance of timeless design and quality, long-lasting garments. Our circular principles continue to guide our approach to product design, materials and manufacture. We believe that everyone within our communities should be treated with fairness and thoughtfulness and we strive to work collaboratively to achieve fair wages, equality and a supportive culture.
- We have long-standing relationships with our makers, suppliers and artisans - we have been working with those responsible for 80% of our clothing production for at least ten years.
- We ensure each of our suppliers follow our ethical policy; annual audits review areas of social compliance including safe working conditions, fair working hours and pay.
- We drive transparency across our supply chain to build trust within our community. As well as our makers, we also work with fabric developers, dyers and growers. We continue to map our supply chain showing where our leading fibres and fabrics are sourced and woven.
- When developing fabrics we consider all aspects from origin, durability, look, feel and texture, and choose the right materials for the right garment. We aim to use natural fibres and yarns that are biodegradable. In some instances, we may choose to use recycled synthetic materials to ensure our products last as long as possible.
- Organic cotton remains our priority. We are committed to switching to organic cotton wherever the option is available to us.
- We keep our costs under close review ensuring that we are able to grow our business in a responsible and sustainable way. Higher prices are often related to increases in the price of fibres, materials and services we use, as well as ensuring that labour is adequately remunerated to remain in line with legal standards.
- We seek out collaborations with makers, supporting the diverse global craft community. Currently 17% of our collections have been produced by either small-scale makers that utilise craft techniques.
- We will ensure 85% of our products use natural fibres and we will increase our use of certified materials in our collections.
- We will increase our use of recycled fibres - with recycled alternatives to polyamide, polyester and nylon used in socks and knitwear yarns. Wherever synthetic content is used, it can be no more than 20% of the fabric.
- We will share the audit results of suppliers and makers responsible for 80% of our clothing production by 2024, and ensure we are sharing best practice to address any areas highlighted for improvement.
- We will determine the production miles used in the creation of our core womenswear and menswear products. Analysis of this data will allow us to identify where we can increase our locally sourced materials and lower production miles.
- We will continue to build our database of partners who are specialists in their field including sourcing raw materials locally.
Together with our community, we treat pre-loved garments as a resource to recycle, rather than waste. Our existing initiatives aim to foster longevity and support you to do the same. We will continue to introduce new production and repurposing initiatives to further reduce our waste.
- With a vision of becoming fully circular, repurposing surplus materials and incorporating circular strategies into collection planning and initiatives is essential. We begin by exploring our existing fabrics before sourcing new ones, which prompt new ideas for products, fabric combinations and techniques. Previous examples include deadstock shirts hand embroidered by Tom of Holland, deadstock sweaters hand embroidered by Amy Goacher and communal weaving workshops using TOAST fabrics and yarns.
- Through TOAST Circle, we explore resourceful ways to keep our garments in use for longer, helping you to play a part in conscious consumption. Through TOAST Repair we have mended more than 3,200 garments; TOAST Exchange has enabled more than 2,900 swaps and newest initiative TOAST Renewed shifts perspectives that tears, holes and other flaws diminish the beauty of well-crafted pieces.
- We are always thinking of creative ways to manage and reduce the by-products of our production. We continue to challenge unnecessary waste through the use of 3D pattern cutting, placing smaller buys and managing our flow of stock.
- We evaluate our supply chain and interrogate the provenance of our materials to support our aim of using locally sourced materials. Some of our suppliers work with local mills that are between 20 – 200 kilometres away from the factory. We actively support UK-based makers to reduce our production miles.
- All our DHL deliveries (UK and International) are climate neutral, by offsetting through a range of climate protection projects. In 2021, we offset 804,564kg of CO2e (equivalent to 3.6 million miles driven in a car in the UK, on average).
- We will expand TOAST Circle to encompass TOAST Reworn, the donation and resale of secondhand TOAST garments. It is our ambition that a percentage of our sales will be generated through circular models in the coming years.
- We will repurpose surplus materials in our collections and reuse unsellable garments returned to TOAST by upcycling to create unique designs.
- We will continue to produce more focused collections to reduce our levels of surplus stock, creating a flow of newness across the season
As we publish a new report each year to keep track of the progress against our commitments, you may wish to read previous reports.
2020-2021 Social Conscience Report (opens as a PDF file in a new window)
Crafts Council UK
As part of our commitment to creative communities, we are currently supporting Crafts Council UK, the national charity for craft. Funds raised through our seasonal events programme and activities will support the work they do to inspire making, empower learning and nurture craft businesses. We jointly believe craft skills and knowledge enrich and uplift us as individuals, and, in doing so, will change our world for the better. We are proud to be an advocate for their projects, which are focused on social justice, environmental responsibility and talent development in the craft sector.
Find more information about how you can support Crafts Council and their important work on their website.