Sustainability never felt so soft – How Buffy measured the environmental footprint of their Sustainable Bedding

Sustainability has become a growing conversation in the fashion industry- especially due to big fast fashion brands. Yet, home textiles have had a much quieter sustainability conversation. Sustainable home goods brand Buffy thought it was about time to wake up the market. So, they created high quality sustainable bedding and measured their environmental footprint to prove it.

The Challenge

Buffy wanted to measure the environmental footprint of all their products and hold them to the same standards they bring all other dimensions of their business. They needed a tool that could surface that environmental data without requiring an entirely separate in-house team to manage the process.

The Outcome

Buffy generated complete insights into its environmental footprint. Among others, their cloudy comforter’s carbon footprint is 9% lower than that of a conventional comforter. Buffy actively uses this information to communicate with its customers and model new product lines.

Sustainability never felt so soft – How Buffy measured the environmental footprint of their Sustainable Bedding6 min read

‘We’re on a mission to help you live comfortably—without making our planet uncomfortable.’

Meet Buffy. A sustainable home goods brand that uses earth-friendly fabrics and manufacturing methods to create sustainable comforters, bed linens & pillows.

From cloud pillows to eucalyptus sheets. Buffy offers everything you need to have the sleep of your dreams- and do it sustainably. 

Buffy believes climate change is very real, and it’s the result of our human activities. As a business making new things (that require resources & energy to produce), they believe they have an obligation. And that’s to first confront how they are contributing to the problem before they can be part of long-term solutions.

Waking up the home textiles industry

In apparel, sustainability has been a growing conversation in response to the rise of fast fashion brands. But, in home textiles there’s a much quieter sustainability conversation. 

And that’s because the fabrics in home textiles (and how they’re manufactured) are the entirety of the product. This makes it difficult to make meaningful change by adjusting existing products. 

So, one has to start at the core: by seeking out fundamentally different materials to use. Exactly Buffy’s plan.

Buffy’s need for a systemic approach to footprinting

When Buffy launched its Cloud Comforter in 2017 (their original incredibly soft comforter, covered in eucalyptus fabric), it was easy to draw a clear contrast between: the materials they were using vs. the typical materials used in down-alternative comforters in the market.

However, as their product line expanded over the past two years. They quickly realized they needed a systematic approach to understand how their environmental footprint was evolving. 

Buffy wanted to measure their environmental impact and hold it to the same standards they bring to every other dimension of their business. They needed a tool that could surface that data- without requiring an entirely separate in-house team to manage the process.

So, they reached out to Ecochain.

Image 1. The Buffy Cloud Comforter- Buffy’s original product. Source: buffy.co

The environmental footprint of Buffy’s products

Buffy wanted to measure the environmental footprint of their complete product portfolio. And gain insights into the impact occurring throughout every step in their value chains.

The company is growing fast and expanding into new product categories over the next 2 years. This requires them to make significant upfront materials decisions that will shape the direction of those product lines. Environmental data is key to their growth.

And by performing a Life Cycle Assessment of their entire product portfolio- all their questions could be answered.

“We needed a partner who could provide us with the right tools and supporting expertise to bring footprint modeling into our conversations at the speed we typically move as a business.”

Matt Breuer, CMO at Buffy

Methodology

The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was conducted with Ecochain’s tool Helix and revealed 15+ impact outcomes (e.g. carbon footprint, water use, land depletion, etc) for the entire portfolio. To determine the impact of Buffy’s goods, the material composition of the products was linked to Ecochain’s large database Ecoinvent.

  • All the product’s stages (spinning, weaving, finishing, and cutting & sewing) were included in the calculations. 
  • Buffy’s complete supply chain was mapped to include primary data from processes of several product stages and transportation between their suppliers. 
  • Several alternatives of the same products with conventional materials were modeled for impact comparison.

Results: The carbon footprint of Buffy’s cloudy comforter’s is 9% lower than its conventional counterpart

With Ecochain Helix, Buffy was able to model the impact of all their products and the stages they each go through. Starting at raw fiber intake all the way to delivery at a customer’s door. 

Buffy uses three main materials for its products:

  • Eucalyptus lyocell – a non-synthetic, sustainable fiber made from eucalyptus pulp.
  • Recycled PET fibers (rPET);
  • Hemp.

The biggest impact reduction of Buffy’s products compared to conventional products comes from the use of recycled polyester (rPET)- instead of regular polyester (PET).

The carbon footprint of Buffy’s comforter made from rPET & eucalyptus lyocell was 49,6 kg CO₂-eq. This is almost 9% lower than the conventional comforter made from PET & cotton with a carbon footprint of 54,3 kg CO₂-eq. 

Overall, the carbon footprint of a regular duvet cover made from cotton compared to a Buffy cover made from eucalyptus lyocell- is fairly similar. However, the impact derived from water use is almost 3.7 x higher for the production of the regular cover made from cotton.

“The data we have captured with Ecochain is being fed into every area of our business – how we assess materials in the earliest stage of product concepting, how we think about evolving our packaging & shipping solutions, and how we talk about our products with our customers.”

Matt Breuer, CMO of Buffy

Footprint data as groundwork for the future

By consistently using Ecochain Helix, Buffy now has a comprehensive framework for measuring & sharing product impact with all the relevant stakeholders.

Buffy has published global warming potential scores (carbon footprint) for all their products in an effort to create a footprint-forward shopping experience.

Ecochain has allowed Buffy to print footprint decisions to the earliest stage of our planning process, allowing us to proactively plan a more sustainable product line vs. forcing us to react months after a review. Our business has grown too fast for impact to be something we can afford to look at every few years – we needed the kind of always-on visibility that Ecochain creates.

Matt Breuer, CMO of Buffy

Buffy only had one goal when they reached out to Ecochain: To have the tools & understanding necessary to continuously push themselves to be the most sustainable soft goods brand in the world.

With the environmental footprint of their products as groundwork, Buffy now uses Ecochain Helix to model the impact of the potential material choices for:

  • The new product categories;
  • The materials under consideration for their 2022 & 2023 product lines- years before a product is even made. 

This means they can be intentional about the kind of impact these new categories will have on their business & the planet. 

We can’t wait to see the results.


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