the luon lifecycle

product lifecycle

Ever wonder how your favourite pair of yoga pants reached the shelves of your local store? Or what kind of impacts they had along the way? That’s one of the many things we think about when we imagine the products that will help our guests live a life they love. Take a look at some things we’re doing to tip the scales at each stage of our product’s lifecycle.


Our design process begins with strategic intent where our teams align on goals, innovation, colours and raw materials. Then our amazingly creative designers get down to business and come up with the blueprints for our technically beautiful products.

We always design with quality in mind. Our products are designed to last five years of intended use, which reduces the environmental impact over the product lifecycle.

We design beautiful pieces that solve for function first. Our designs transcend trends and will continue to serve you in your sweaty pursuits season after season.

Our designers are innovators and are inventing new materials, trims, features, and technology to create the best technical apparel in the world. The better the product, the longer it lasts.

Our designers come up with ingenious details such as cuffins, thumbholes, stash pockets, ventilation and secret love notes, in the hope that you'll feel a personal connection to your product, hang onto it for longer, and pass it on to a loved one when you're done.

Sometimes we make mistakes, and we end up with too many finished goods or too much material. Our fast-turn design pod reclaims these materials and uses them in innovative new gear.

We design close to market, only nine months ahead, so that we are able to design more accurately to our business and don't create extra product that we don't need.

raw material production
& pre-processing

This is where our products begin to take shape. Material development begins with resource extraction or agriculture, then to our fabric mills for yarn spinning, dyeing, knitting and finishing. At the end of this step of the lifecycle, our family of high-performance materials is born.

One third of our fabric mills are bluesign® system partners. Our partnership with bluesign® helps reduce our environmental impacts with emissions, waste, wastewater, soil contamination, and groundwater contamination.

Nearly 40 percent of our company's entire water impact comes from our supply chain.

We are currently investigating waterless dying technology for a number of our materials.

Water and carbon footprints at this stage of the lifecycle vary significantly between synthetic and natural fibres (luon and cotton, for example). Luon has higher emissions from the nylon and LYCRA® content, whereas cotton agriculture requires far more water.

We have a Restricted Substance List and work with third parties to ensure our values and standards are upheld by our manufacturing partners. This protects the health of everyone who touches our product.

Irrigation makes cotton agriculture a highly water-intensive process – 70 percent of a Scuba Hoodie's water footprint is in the raw material production stage of the lifecycle.

Love our fluff? Our down is supplied by a company that shares our core values. We do not use live-plucked or force-fed geese in our supply chain.

Our Pure Mat is made with all natural rubber. The rubber is tapped like maple syrup by making incisions in the bark of a tree, so no trees are cut in this process. Pure goodness.

The X-STATIC® technology used to power our Silverescent® fabric contains 99.99 percent pure metallic silver. It's not a nano-silver technology, which is good news for the ecosystem.

sourcing and manufacturing

From the mills our raw materials go on to the next stop in the lifecycle, the cut and sew factories, for assembling and finishing. We only work with partners who share our values of honesty, integrity, transparency and respect.

Our Code of Ethics is built on industry best practices and lets all our partners know exactly what we stand for when it comes to social and environmental sustainability.

We work with 35 partners in 80 facilities in 17 countries around the world.

We developed our code of ethics in collaboration with our factory partners because we see this as a true partnership rather than a set of rules to follow.

We work with a small number of vendors, which allows us to maintain close relationships built on openness, transparency, and accountability.

We work closely with our factory partners to figure out what kinds of programs would be most beneficial in their communities and then provide support and funding to help them realize these projects through Metta grants. Last year we supported a community centre in Sri Lanka and education for girls in Cambodia.

We have a team of sustainability experts in the field to ensure that our environmental and social sustainability practices are being upheld across the board. We also verify these results with the help of third-party auditors. No exceptions.

Nearly 60 percent of our entire carbon footprint comes from the supply chain, mostly driven by inexpensive, non-renewable energy sources around the world.

distribution and transportation

Our transportation team is doing some of the most innovative work in the company when it comes to goal setting and project management for sustainability. Our Shipped with Love philosophy, which guides the way ship product at lululemon, sets our intention to understand the impact we have on the business and the environment. It asks that when we create product shipments, we do so in a way that reflects how much we love our people and our stores.

Even though our products are shipped from overseas, transportation only makes up a small fraction of our overall footprint when you compare it to the emissions from manufacturing and guest use.

At the corporate level (that is, measuring the impact at stores, Store Support Centres and Distribution Centres), shipping is our largest source of organizational emissions, and something we're working to improve year over year.

We're currently working to recycle 100% of the polybags that our products come in, while we look at long-term solutions that will eliminate the polybag altogether.

In Canada, 8 percent of shipments to stores happen by air, although that accounts for 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions for Canadian shipments.

We are working with experts to reduce our shipping emissions by auditing our routes and developing a new sustainable logistics program called the SupplyChain Emissions Dashboard. We're setting goals and we will achieve them by continuously monitoring shipping lanes, shipping modes and frequency.

A number of our employees are passionate about reducing the impact of our packaging and are strategizing to get us there. As a company, we inspire people to take action since that builds leadership and community.

While 75 percent of products reach our Distribution Centre by ship, the other 25 percent still account for greater emissions.

Our Distribution Centre in Vancouver was recognized for excellence in environmental management and performance by the Building Owners and Managers Association of Canada.

Our Distribution Centre is working on programs to reduce waste in their facilities. Their latest initiative saves an impressive 300 cardboard boxes per month.

Energy-efficient lighting at our Distribution Centre in Burnaby reduces our energy consumption by roughly 20 percent per year.

store support centre

Rather than a traditional head office, we've got a Store Support Centre. Why? We are here to support our stores. Life at the SSC is pretty great, if we do say so ourselves, and we're working to make it an even better, and greener, place to be. Major #joblove, for sure.

people powered projects
We have over 30 employees at our SSC who are working on sustainability goals and projects in their various departments.learn more

We're renovating our building and it's with sustainability in mind: low-flush toilets, hand dryers, energy-efficient lighting and more.

Drink it up: our coffee is fair trade, our water is filtered tap.

By the end of 2013, we will have a living green wall spanning three floors high.

We are a few short blocks from the beach and our run club takes full advantage of the seawall and views when they head out a few times per week.

We've got a yoga and meditation studio on site with daily classes. Circuit training classes are also held throughout the week.

We are making big strides in our comprehensive recycling program and waste reduction initiatives. Jess and Joel are working to divert 99 percent of all internal waste by the end of 2013. We love a good #BHAG!

Community bikes are available for our employees to use any time. We have a bike room complete with tools for quick tune-ups, and shower facilities for everyone who gets to work on two wheels or two feet.


There are over 230 lululemon stores and every one of them is different. Each store reflects the local community it's a part of, which makes for a familiar yet uniquely awesome kitchen party experience. And each store takes its own approach to sustainability. It can get pretty creative.

We are actively involved in improving the health and wellbeing of our communities through yoga, run club, and community events.

Our stores approach sustainability projects and programs in ways that are unique to the opportunities and challenges in their regions.

Just 1.5 percent of our water footprint comes from the impact at our stores.

We're piloting a handprinter project at select stores across North America to do our part and ensure the world is better off with us than without us.

lululemon employees attended over 217,839 sweat classes in 2012. That's a lot of sweat!

We use reclaimed and recycled materials in many of our stores, working with local artisans and manufacturers to create hyper-local projects that promote social and environmental sustainability.

Decommissioned chairlift chairs found their forever home at a local Vermont lululemon storefront.

Our Mall of America store in Bloomington, Minnesota, won awards for its amazing lotus flower storefront design, sourced from local materials and assembled with zero waste and lead-free glaze by a local mosaic artist.

For energy efficiency we use LED lights in our stores.

guest use and end-of-life

The footprint our products have once they're in our homes outweighs the impacts of most other lifecycle stages. Crazy, right? Believe it or not, the way we launder our clothes has a huge impact on the overall footprint of the product. Let's chat about how we all can help.

environmental best practice
Almost 60 percent of our entire water footprint occurs when our guests wash their clothes. learn more

Warm-water washing uses 40 percent less energy than hot-water washing. Want to reduce laundering emissions even further? Wash your gear in cold water and hang to dry.

The cradle-to-grave water footprint of a pair of groove pants is 1,153 litres of water, roughly the same volume as a hot tub – with 64 percent of the impact occurring during guest use and washing.

We are working to reduce the end-of life impacts by recycling with our partners at debrand. Products that don't meet our quality standards are currently being recycled into punching bags, car insulation, and materials for equestrian rings.

We are piloting a clothing take-back program in 2013 at some of our Vancouver stores.

When you are done with your lululemon product, pass it on to someone else, or if it's well loved, turn it into something else. The only limits are your imagination and creativity! We've seen luon hammocks, polishing cloths, shower curtains and more.

Thank you
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