Want to buy this jumper? It comes with a free sheep.

London based company, Sheep Inc. are creating ‘carbon negative’ jumpers and adopting a real life hardy sheep living in the wilds of the New Zealand comes as standard with every purchase.

Founders Edzard van der Wyck, Michael Wessely and Gavin Erasmus launched in October 2019 creating one unisex product, with a hope that it would fit into anyone’s wardrobe to spread the message of sustainability. The sweater is made from cashwool, a merino blend that’s soft like cashmere and temperature-regulating like wool. The design is classic, the fit not baggy or too tight. Designed by Alexander Lewis, the crew neck comes in 5 classic colours - three neutrals, plus clay red and Pacific blue. Each piece is crafted from ZQ certified merino wool, the world’s leading ethical wool. Produced in New Zealand, using the highest sheep welfare standards worldwide.

By including a free sheep with every purchase, hence the name Sheep inc, they hope to address consumption concerns and bring people back in touch with the brands they buy. To gently remind that every item of clothing started somewhere. They have clearly done their homework about what matters to a sustainable fashion consumer. After you buy one of the £190 jumpers, you can scan a permanently embedded tag found in the hem using your phone (no App required) to be allocated a sheep in one of the flocks. The handy NFC (Near Field Communication) chip lets you keep track of your sheep. Sheep Inc. will send you regular updates on the well being and day to day life of the animal you adopt letting you know information like when it gets a haircut, if it has lambs, and where it is.

Sheep inc. wants the customer link to their jumper to be tangible. The tag will also unlock details about the carbon footprint and manufacturing journey your new jumper has been on. Sheep Inc. is hoping that their transparency will help those that buy the product to become more in touch with where their clothing comes from. They will show customers them each stage of the process from the welfare of their sheep to the spinning of the wool in northern Italy to the manufacture in Spain alongside all of the efforts they are making to minimise their carbon footprint.

The company are proud to call themselves the world’s first carbon-negative fashion brand. 5% of the revenue taken for the symbolic “adoption” will be donated to biodiversity projects that offset the carbon emissions created by the jumper’s manufacture. Although 35kg of CO2 equivalents are generated by each item, the projects funded by the £9.50 donated remove a minimum of 325kg of carbon dioxide from the environment offsetting the jumpers footprint tenfold.

Sheep Inc also has an independent environmental panel that advises the company on all its offsetting projects, which includes Professor Mark Maslin, a climate change specialist at UCL. All projects chosen are externally audited, and include investing in the biodiversity of the farms the sheep come from, as well as areas which are negatively affected by the fashion industry.
Sheep Inc. is aiming for carbon negativity. This involves cutting emissions, offsetting any that are made, and acting regeneratively as a company so that you’re putting more back into the planet than you take out.

They tried to find the most environmentally friendly materials possible, and merino wool came out on top. It is 100 per cent biodegradable, doesn’t need to be washed often, and merino sheep are farmed in a sustainable manner that has minimal environmental impact. If looked after a jumper made from merino wool should last a lifetime – and more.

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By Anna Bance

December 2019