Is becoming a sustainable business possible?
 At Vortex, we want to make sure sustainability lies at the core of our business strategy. We are doing everything we can to ensure our processes and products are as “eco-conscious” as possible. We are part of the movement that wants to contribute towards a better planet for our future generations.We have created this page to explain each element of our sustainability strategy. You can read about our materials, packaging, certifications, supplier code of conduct, supply chain pathways and staff commitments. The more we promote the benefits of shopping from companies with strong sustainability policies, the more we hope our consumers will see the value of purchasing habits that are less impactful to the environment.


Our materials
As a supplier of work, promotional and school wear, we have to provide a wide range of products to meet the individual needs of our clients. It has been difficult navigating the sourcing process, but in 2018, we decided start transitioning some of our garment lines to less energy consuming and polluting materials like organic cotton and recycled polyester rather than virgin polyester. Every school blazer we sell is now made from 17 plastic bottles (63% recycled polyester, 33% biodegradable viscose & 4% elastase fabric), and is GRS certified (Global Recycling Standard). Our product line has expanded dramatically to include organic and recycled materials from well known brands such as Adidas, Nike, Craghoppers, Jack Wolfskin, Regatta, Ecologie, Orn, Result and many more. Hence, over the next 8 years we aim to completely phase out none eco-conscious materials in line with our supplier’s progress, without compromising on quality.


We make sure to find suppliers that meet high levels of both environmental and social standards. For more information about our suppliers, please read our Product Sourcing page.


Supplier code of conduct
Our supplier code of conduct is a tool that can be used to assess current and future suppliers on the values and policies that take environmental and social governance into consideration. It acts as our baseline for all suppliers, partners and collaborators, and our continued relationships with them will be monitored in a similar mode to our environmental impact assessments.


  • All subcontractors, partners and suppliers must plan and implement strategies to improve their impact on the environment;

  • All regulatory requirements and legislation regarding waste, energy, air, chemical and water management must be met;

  • All subcontractors, partners and suppliers must aim to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.


  • No business can employ any person under the age of 15 years / under the national legal working age;

  • All employees must be kept from psychological, physical, sexual or verbal abuse or harassment;

  • All subcontractors, partners and suppliers are prohibited to use forces, bonded, indentured, prison labour or otherwise, or permit the trafficking of persons for the purpose of forced labour;

  • All subcontractors, partners and suppliers must refrain from discriminating in recruitment and employment practices;

  • All subcontractors, partners and suppliers must respect and recognise the rights of all employees regarding industrial disputes, grievances and communications;

  • All subcontractors, partners and suppliers must comply with overtime regulations and limit workers from exceeding a 48 hour week;

  • All subcontractors, partners and suppliers must meet legal requirements regarding wages and employee benefits.

Health & Safety

  • All subcontractors, partners and suppliers must adhere to strict health and safety procedures which prevent accident and injury;

  • They must also protect employees from toxic substances and fires.

Human Rights

  • We recognise the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals set out by the United Nations, the International Bill of Human Rights and the 25 Year Environment Plan by the UK government, and stand for them. As such we require all subcontractors, partners and suppliers to refrain from abusing human rights.


Over recent years, we have thankfully seen a dramatic increase in the number of companies who choose to send their products in packaging made with materials that are less harmful to the environment. Paper, card, sugarcane, recycled plastic have all been added into the mix. We have consistently sent our products in re-used cardboard boxes but we recognise that individual bagging of garments in plastic bags is no longer an option. Our packaging provider is working closely with us to find materials that meet our specifications for transportation and garment protection. We are trialling sugarcane based paper bags, recycled tape and recycled paper at the moment, and hope to implement this across our entire product line in the next year.


Following the guidance and advice provided by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), companies must aim for rapid decarbonisation of 90-95% from their baseline year figure, limiting offsets to 10%. We have investigated a number of options for carbon offsetting and feel strongly that the best option for both decarbonisation and biodiversity is the restoration of certain habitats which act as carbon sinks (carbon sinks absorb and/or utilise carbon, pulling it out of the atmosphere). Peat lands and forests are two of these habitats, both of which are key to the diversity and health of flora and fauna in the United Kingdom. We aim to construct a robust financial strategy before 2030 that will support with habitat creation and restoration, contributing to the creation of high quality habitat corridors for wildlife to migrate as the climate changes.


Building a strategy
Since opening our doors, we have always tried to minimise our impact on the environment whether its through our product choices, production methods or packaging. However, it wasn’t until June 2022 that we started to properly strategise and evolve our business model to make decisions with the future of the environment in mind.


Reaching net zero
More and more companies are starting to join us on this journey of improvement and have set various targets to reach net zero green house gas emissions before or by 2050. We aim to reduce our emissions by 50% before 2030 and by 90-95% by 2050 in line with the Science Based Targets Initiative, the SME Climate Hub and the Race to Zero Campaign backed by the United Nations.


The textile industry change
We were one of the first companies to join the Barnsley Net Zero Programme too, and have taken on board valuable information regarding not just green house gas emissions, but the impacts of a linear supply chain and customer education and incentives to opt for the eco-conscious choice. We recognise that the textile industry is a huge contributor to the problem, not only because of the production process but also because of consumer habits in a growing population and the increasing quantity of textile waste sent to landfill every year.


Small-medium sized businesses have a duty of care
92 million tonnes of clothing is discarded every year and by 2030 this is expected to reach 134 million tonnes.  The industry also contributes to 10% of all green house gas emissions. As a small company, it might seem like our impact is negligible compared to the big retailers, but 90% of business is conducted by small-medium sized businesses and therefore, our efforts are absolutely vital to the cause.


Beginning our journey
We are at the very beginning of our journey, but we have already made progressive changes in the materials we sell. We have switched out virgin polyester to recycled polyester garments which use 30-50% less energy and have adopted the use of organic cotton, backed by the better cotton initiative, which has a reduced impact on environmental systems. We have also set up an energy agreement with British Gas to provide us with 72% renewable energy and 28% nuclear energy.


Decarbonisation plans
We have strategised plans to switch out all lighting systems to LED low energy bulbs and to install solar panels on our roofing as to create a cleaner energy source for our machinery. We have also made plans to switch out plastic packaging and have found alternative materials made from sugarcane and recyclable materials. Vortex is also hot on the heels of our suppliers to encourage them to follow us on this path. For a full break down of our strategy please keep an eye out for our first ‘Decarbonisation Plan and Report’ due in early 2023.


A journey of continuous improvement
We realise we have a long way to go and that’s why we don’t want to advertise ourselves as a sustainable business. Ultimately, we can only achieve this status through collective agreement and action from all of our stakeholders, as well as foster a fully circular supply chain, but we will do our best to make ethical choices for both the people and the planet, without comprising on quality and service.


Why “eco-conscious” and not “sustainable”?  
Sustainability is difficult to define and explanations vary across industries. We believe this to be the simplest definition: “the ability to fulfil the needs of current generations without compromising the needs of future generations, whilst ensuring a balance between economic growth, environmental care and social well-being”. It’s important to note that no company is truly “sustainable” until they meet this criteria. That means all of their processes and products must have a circular lifecycle or that the resources they utilise are renewable, they avoid the use of virgin materials which can’t be replaced, they effectively manage their waste systems and ensure emissions are kept to a level which protects the climate from breakdown… so what does this mean for us? Vortex is not sustainable, instead we prefer to use the term “eco-conscious”. We are aware of our impact on the environment, we recognise that it is not insignificant and that we have a duty to reduce this as much as possible. We know that sustainability is a continuous journey of improvement and don’t want to sell you the idea that we are already there. We hope to encourage our customers, suppliers and all other stakeholders to support us with this transition. It is only together that we can truly make a positive impact.

Read our sustainability policy!

Decarbonisation plan now available!

This includes our carbon inventory (a break down of all our emission sources), a strategy for decarbonisation until 2025 and an accompanying budget.


Sustainability strategy due summer 2023.  
Our sustainability strategy will encompass the three pillars (people, planet, profit). We will first conduct a baseline assessment of our performance, set sustainability goals in line with our 5 year and 10 year decarbonisation plans, analyse where we might make improvements through a strengths and weaknesses analysis, and set key performance indicators that we can monitor over time.

For all sustainability enquiries, please contact