Pequeño Leclerc, Felipe; Granato, Danilo; Wiche, Pia
Baby clothes are notorious for their short use time, especially in the first year, when babies use up to three different sizes. This study analyzes how extending the life of a baby garment can reduce environmental impacts and increase revenues for the store. To reduce the environmental impact associated with a short life, an expansible collection of baby clothing is designed by a baby garment business in Chile. The new line comprises a one-piece pajama, a bodysuit, a pair of pants, and a romper whose size can be adjusted to fit a baby from 0 to 12 months. These are expected to replace their traditional models of sizes 0-3, 3-6 and 6-12 months. A life cycle analysis (LCA) is conducted to show the environmental benefits of the eco-designed collection over the traditional one. Accessories are considered to compare both collections equally. For example, the traditional pants have feet, but the eco-designed don’t, needing an extra pair of socks to equalize the functional unit of “dressing a baby with cotton clothing for a year”. The LCA is performed with ReCiPe (H) impact model at end point and shows a 30% reduction of environmental impact (considering extra accessories), mainly due to lower cotton usage. Because the new collection will displace three products with only one, a simple financial forecast model is made to show how it would affect business revenues. The model considers the shop sells 5 of the 72 pieces of traditional clothing a baby would need in her first year and drops to 4 eco-designed garments. Assuming a 67% price increase and 10% customer growth from the current 240 customers the yearly revenue is 45% higher in the first year. The eco-design also has economic benefits for the parents, who would spend about half in clothing in their baby’s first year. In conclusion, selling a product with extended life has environmental and economic benefits, especially for businesses which can increase their customer base, even when selling fewer units.