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Bendigo Bank/Upparel partnership announcement

24 August 2021 |Announcements
Sustainability first with Bendigo Bank’s new uniform range

The scheduled introduction of a fresh, new mix and match uniform for Bendigo Bank staff in August 2021 left the Bank with a dilemma.  What to do with the estimated 32-plus tonnes of used clothing in the old livery that can no longer be worn at Australia’s better big bank?

Mockup of new Bendigo Bank Staff Uniform

In a first of its kind initiative for a big bank, Bendigo Bank has partnered with Melbourne-based multi-award-winning recyclers Upparel to embark on a major end-to-end nationwide uniform recycling program to turn mountains of old clothing from up to 470 Australia-wide branches into soft filling that will be re-used and re-purposed.  

Richard Fennell, Executive Consumer Banking said: “We are proud to announce that Upparel has been chosen as our partner to assist with the upcycling of the old uniform range as we introduce a more contemporary ‘mix and match’ corporate wardrobe that really allows the personality of our Bendigo Bank team to shine through. 

"Rather than have all our discarded clothing end up in landfill and with our environmental and sustainability objectives firmly in mind, we have partnered with Upparel who will shred and upcycle our unwanted uniforms to use as filling in products including furniture".

The announcement also reflects the Bank’s commitment to supporting long-term strategies that contribute to a more sustainable future for all our stakeholders.

The Bank’s Climate Change Action Plan outlines the steps the Bank is taking over the next three years to improve its climate outcomes, drive cultural change, engage its people and customers, enhance its climate change governance and risk management framework, and report on its climate change performance.  

As part of this effort, the Bank has achieved carbon neutrality in 2021 and has also committed to purchasing 100 percent renewable energy by 2025 and reducing absolute emissions by 50 percent by 2030. 

"As we continue to reduce the carbon and environmental footprint of our national operations, Upparel, as leaders within the Australian textile recycling industry will give our old clothing range a new lease of life.

"We have forecast that there may be up to 10 kilograms of used uniform textiles per employee in storerooms and cupboards nationwide, so it’s important to us that nothing is dumped or sent off-shore for processing and that this material is sustainably reused."

At the end of the project, Upparel will provide Bendigo Bank with an impact statement including the total amount of textiles diverted from landfill and the amount of greenhouse gas emissions prevented.  Every kilogram of clothing sent to be recycled will prevent 3 - 4 kg of greenhouse gases from entering our atmosphere and each children’s flip up sofa made by Upparel will use 3kg of recycled textiles.

Additionally, Bendigo Bank staff can also arrange to have their old unwanted non-work clothing sent to Upparel for recycling. Staff can send up to 10 kilograms of old clothing, linen and shoes for reuse, repurpose and recycling.

The Bank’s 7,000 staff are also able to reduce their carbon footprint at home, with discounts offered on solar panels and batteries along with the opportunity to offset emissions from their car or lifestyle by supporting native revegetation.

"While making the switch to our new uniform range, we are pleased to join the growing movement committed to eradicating textiles from landfill and fostering a more sustainable fashion industry.  We hope this agreement will endure for many years as we fulfil our vision to become Australia’s bank of choice", Mr Fennell concluded.

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