Father and daughter team tackle green agenda at Barnsley-based clothing business

A Yorkshire company is set to play a major role in encouraging the clothing sector to adopt environmentally friendly policies.

Carl Firth, the co-director of Barnsley-based school uniform and workwear specialist Vortex Ltd, has appointed his University of Leeds graduate daughter Anna to a newly-created post of corporate sustainability manager.

In this post, she takes the lead on the company’s drive to reduce carbon emissions through its “net zero” strategy, and she will improve Vortex’s environmental, social and governance practices.

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Mr Firth said: “We all know we need to get on with tackling the impact our businesses have on the environment.

“It’s great to have Anna on board to drive this agenda forward.”

Mr Firth co-founded specialist embroidery and printing company Vortex with life-long friend Liam Stewart in 1984 and the enterprise has always been supported by their families, with wives, brothers, sons and nieces all having worked there.

The company launched its green initiative following participation in Net Zero Barnsley, an accelerator run by The Business Village, which is dedicated to helping businesses meet sustainability targets.

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All UK businesses need to work towards the Government’s legal requirement to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, with Barnsley council setting its own target to achieve this by 2045.

Carl Firth and daughter Anna Firth at the Vortex factory in Barnsley.Carl Firth and daughter Anna Firth at the Vortex factory in Barnsley.
Carl Firth and daughter Anna Firth at the Vortex factory in Barnsley.

Anna, who has gained three years’ experience working in environmental consultancies since graduating with a degree in ecology and environmental biology, is determined to ensure Vortex hits net zero well before national deadlines.

She said: “We’ve set ambitious but realistic targets for Vortex. There is no time to waste. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to help dad’s business become sustainable and I see this very much as a project which needs swift and effective action.”

Anna is involving all staff at the company’s Grange Lane factory in developing new energy efficient workplace practices.

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She said: “Everyone seems to be positive about this. We already sell school uniforms made from recycled plastic bottles but want to source more sustainable materials so we can be a pioneer for change in the textile industry.

"We’ll be launching a new range of more environmentally-friendly workwear in the new year, so customers wanting to reduce their own carbon footprint can confidently buy from us and know they are purchasing responsibly.”

Vortex supplies branded uniform to 26 Barnsley area schools and produces Barnsley Youth Choir’s hoodies and T-shirts for tours.