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 over the last couple of years- especially due to fast fashion brands. Yet, home textiles have had a much quieter sustainability conversation. ‘Let’s wake up the market’- sustainable home goods brand Buffy thought. So, they created high quality sustainable bedding and measured their environmental footprint to prove it.

The Challenge

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

The Outcome

Buffy generated insights into their 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 their customers.

Sustainability never felt so soft – How Buffy measured the environmental footprint of their Sustainable Bedding7 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 at the same time. 

At Buffy, they believe climate change is very real, and it’s the result of our human activities. 

So, as a business making new things (that require resources and energy to produce), they believe they have an obligation 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

Unlike apparel, where sustainability has been a growing conversation in response to the rise of fast fashion brands, home textiles have had a much quieter sustainability conversation. 

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

Therefore, one has to start by seeking out fundamentally different materials to use, to make home textiles more sustainable. 

‘So let’s do exactly that’ – Buffy thought.

The need for a systemic approach

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

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

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

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

The environmental footprint of Buffy’s products

Buffy wanted to find out the environmental footprint of all the products they have– and gain precise insights into the impact occurring throughout their product’s value chains.

As Buffy is growing fast and expanding into new product categories over the next 2 years, this also requires them to make significant upfront materials decisions that will shape the direction of those product lines.

This means that knowing the environmental footprint of their products is not only a crucial part of their mission, it’s also the key to their growth. 

Indeed- Buffy needed a partner who could provide them with the tools and expertise to bring footprint modeling into their conversations at the speed they typically move as a business.

So, they reached out to Ecochain.

And by performing a Life Cycle Assessment of their entire product portfolio, we were able to answer all their wishes.

Methodology

The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was conducted by Ecochain using our Ecochain Environmental Intelligence software and reveals 30+ impact outcomes (including carbon footprint, water use, land depletion, etc). 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. 

Several alternatives of the same products with conventional materials were modeled for impact comparison. Additionally, Buffy’s complete supply chain was mapped in order to include primary data from processes of several product stages and transportation between their suppliers. 

The results in this case study are partially anonymized and summarized for illustration. If you want to learn more, do not hesitate to contact our specialist team.

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

With Ecochain, Buffy was able to model the impact of every product in their assortment 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), and hemp.

The results of the LCA showed that the biggest impact reduction when comparing Buffy’s products to conventional products came from the use of recycled polyester (also called rPET) instead of regular polyester (also called PET).

Indeed the carbon footprint of Buffy’s comforter made from rPET and eucalyptus lyocell (expressed in kg CO₂-eq) with 49,6 kg. CO₂-eq was almost a staggering 9% lower than that of a conventional comforter made from PET and cotton with 54,3 kg CO₂-eq. 

Overall, the carbon footprint (CO₂-eq) 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.

You can find Buffy’s full impact report below.

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

Sustainability is a journey

By consistently using the Ecochain platform, Buffy now has a comprehensive framework for measuring & sharing product impact – both within the company and with customers. 

Starting Earth Day (22nd of April, 2021), 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 continue to push themselves to be the most sustainable soft goods brand in the world.

With the environmental impact of their products as groundwork, Buffy is now using Ecochain to model the impact of the potential material choices for the new product categories and 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. 

And we can’t wait to see the results.