Wellbeing Economy makes sound business sense

Firm saved by fair work practices.


Wellbeing Economy Secretary Neil Gray has visited a company whose commitment to fair work and sustainability helped it survive the pandemic.

While at ACS Clothing near Glasgow, Mr Gray heard how a major creditor was so impressed with the business’s approach to fair work and environmental practices it agreed to convert a debt to equity – investing enough to ensure the firm could continue through the pandemic. Then in the later stages of COVID 19, an ethical investor became aware of ACS’s reputation and also took a stake.

Now the sustainable fashion company is expanding to take on 20 new apprentices - four graduates and 16 modern apprentices across textile care and its warehouse operations.

Mr Gray said:

“ACS Clothing is proof that fair work and sustainability make sound business sense.

“This imaginative and successful company captures what a wellbeing economy is all about - supporting a transition to net zero while practicing fair work principles such as paying the real Living Wage, listening to its workforce and offering apprenticeships and internships.

“In return its staff are incentivised, employee turnover is reduced and investors are increasingly attracted by its ethics and ethos.”

Chief Operating Officer Anthony Burns said:

"At the start of the pandemic, we faced significant financial strain, as suppliers demanded payment and customers halted orders, leading to a bleak outlook.

“However, our investment in circular business models, and our positive environmental and social impacts, were rewarded when Circularity Capital, a well-known Scottish ethical investment firm invested significantly in our business.

“At ACS our commitment to fair work is not just a choice, but a responsibility we owe to our communities. It is the unwavering dedication to create environments where dignity, equality, and justice thrive, ensuring that every individual's efforts are valued and rewarded without bias or exploitation."


Home - ACS Clothing

ACS is based at Eurocentral near Glasgow and employs 190 staff. Through clothing renewal, rental, and resale, the company is prolonging the lifespan of clothes and diverting it from landfill/incineration.

As a certified carbon-neutral B-Corporation, ACS is committed to environmentally friendly production processes, and is on target to deliver a 50% reduction in carbon emissions in 2023 alone. It takes innovative approaches to textile sanitisation, water reuse and packaging, and also promotes biodiversity by creating a nurturing environment with beehives, wildflowers, a greenhouse, and a wormery.

Beyond its environmental impact, ACS contributes to social innovation by providing rewarding employment opportunities. With an online academy for hiring apprentices, it collaborates with schools to promote sustainability development goals, offers placements for prisoners, and provides supportive employment for refugees and people with disabilities.

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