Sustainability Stories

Johnstons of Elgin presented with Queen’s Award for Enterprise for unwavering commitment to sustainability

Walpole member Johnstons of Elgin, the UK’s largest independent producer of luxury cashmere and fine woollens has received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Sustainability. 
27th Oct 2021
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Sustainability Stories Johnstons of Elgin presented with Queen’s Award for Enterprise for unwavering commitment to sustainability

The occasion was marked by a formal tree planting ceremony at the firm’s Eglin mill by Mark Leishman, CVO, Executive Director of the Royal Warrant Holder’s Association (RWHA), which followed the award presentation by Major General the Honourable Seymour Monro CBE LVO, Lord Lieutenant of Moray on behalf of by Her Majesty The Queen. 

Delayed due to lockdown restrictions earlier in the year, the award for the Sustainable Development category was given to the 224-year-old family-owned firm for its 360-degree approach to sustainability and as a leader in ethical manufacturing. 

This is the fourth award for the Moray-based manufacturer, previously landing the Queen’s Award for Export Achievement in 1978,1994 and 2002.

As well as its centuries old approach to working with natural, renewable, and biodegradable fibres, Johnstons’ was praised for its wider industry commitments to limiting environmental impact, animal welfare, its people and approach to sustainable textiles manufacturing. 

The firm’s ongoing work as part of its sustainability programme includes:

  • In 2015 the firm was one of three founders of the non-profit Sustainable Fibre Alliance (SFA) set up to sustain the pasture lands and welfare of animals in cashmere producing regions
  • The implementation of the Sustainable Grassland Management training programme for young Mongolian herders, which embeds modern sustainability practices within the Mongolian cultural heritage.  
  • As part of the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC), Johnstons of Elgin has successfully eliminated all harmful chemicals from its supply chain, while 100% of the wool bought by the firm is certified to the Responsible Wool Standard
  • Between 2016 and 2020 Johnstons of Elgin reduced its carbon emissions by 53% through technology advancements and an increase in the use of renewable energy across manufacturing sites
  • A reduction of shrink wrap shipments by 65% and complete redesign of its customer packaging, which now features 100% FSC recycled paper.
  • All deliveries within the UK and mainland Europe are now shipped automatically by longer, road freight options, significantly reducing the carbon impact of travel.
  • Reusing 97% of its waste materials, in 2019 Johnstons launched the EveryYarn range, which uses the leftover yarn from its main collections.
  • Recognising that every garment reaches end-of-life, Johnstons of Elgin has partnered with Cashmere Circle, supporting their customers to return garments to be repaired or resold and enabling the garment to start a new life with a new owner.   

Established in 1797, Johnstons of Elgin is one of the last few remaining vertical mills in the UK that still process the raw cashmere and fine woollen fibres right through to the finished product. 

Commenting on the award, the Moray firm’s chief executive Simon Cotton said: “When we talk about sustainability at Johnstons of Elgin, we try to cover every aspect of our product’s life as well as the value of every thread. Throughout our 224-year history we have stayed true to this ethos through animal welfare initiatives, grassland preservation, fair work, reducing manufacturing waste, and so much more. 


Throughout our 224-year history we have stayed true to this ethos through animal welfare initiatives, grassland preservation, fair work, reducing manufacturing waste, and so much more. 

“The reduction of waste and regeneration of resources has been part of our business for hundreds of years and receiving this award coincides with a significant period for Johnstons of Elgin as we move to the next phase of our sustainability programme.

“It is with enormous pride that we have been recognised by Her Majesty the Queen for our commitment to sustainable development. We recognise we are on a journey and our commitment to sustainability is unwavering.”

Established in 1797, Johnstons of Elgin now exports to up to 65 countries and employs 900 people at its two Scottish mills in Elgin and Hawick. The company was granted The Royal Warrant by HRH Prince of Wales for the manufacture and supply of Estate Tweed cloth to the Royal household in 2013. 

www.johnstonsofelgin.com

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