SUSTAINABILITY – DID YOU KNOW THAT FASHION IS
THE SECOND MOST POLLUTING INDUSTRY IN THE WORLD?
Sustainability is at the core of our company. Most of all we want the world to be a better place, thus we need a deeper understanding of the topic sustainability. Therefore we present you facts and figures about the different aspects we approach. Because just like our pair of jeans, it’s what’s inside that really counts.
First things first. It all starts with cotton growth. Cotton has the nickname ‘a dirty crop’. Just 2.4% of the world cultivated land is planted with cotton, yet it accounts for 24% of the world’s insecticide market and 11% of sale of global pesticides. Therefore it is the most pesticide-intensive crop grown on the planet.
While Organic cotton uses no Genetically Modified (GM) seeds, there are two types that do. Conventional Cotton and cotton used by companies certified by Better Cotton Initiative do use GM seeds. Around 70 to 80% of organic cotton production is rain-fed rather than irrigated. As a result there’s a lower water footprint in comparison to conventional Cotton. BCI pursues the goal of reducing the damaging effects of global cotton production on people and the environment. Although tangible results have been achieved, no exact data have been published yet. Recycled cotton typically saves 40% of water, also uses no pesticides or insecticides and eliminates landfill by disposed garments.
It’s our goal to use the type of cotton that has the least impact on the environment and allows farmers to have a living wage. Ultimately we strive to use recycled cotton only for obvious reasons – to reach this we are working with several partners on techniques that enable us to increase the use of recycled cotton in our jeans and knits.
FASHION IS THE SECOND LARGEST INDUSTRY
FOR WATER CONSUMPTION, SUSTAINABILITY IS CRUCIAL.
The global production of all textile fibers consumes 1 trillion gallons of water.
Several sustainability reports have been published in which the water consumption per jeans in conventional production has been measured. Generally the figure is between 7.000 and 8.000 liters per pair of jeans. In terms of greenhouse gasses the figure is typically 23,5 KG of CO2 per pair of jeans. Together with BlueDot we have conducted a study in which we analyzed our production process from cotton to jeans. The results are very encouraging.
These results are achieved through our mill partners who recycle 85% of their water and produce zero wastewater. Also our partner in garment manufacturing and laundering in Tunisia (Yousstex International) largely contributes by recycling up to 90% of the water consumed. This in combination with latest washing techniques such as laser, ozone and Jeanologia’s E-Flow. For example our denims in DAVEBLACKOD have not been touched by any chemicals at all; the worn in effect is achieved by a combination of laser, ozone and stonewash.
O U R
D R E A M S
Use no chemicals at all
If water is required: ensure a closed circuit for 100% recycling
Produce the first carbon neutral pair of jeans
Together with our partner Yousstex in Tunisia we focus on the use of Laser technique and Ozone, which both dramatically reduce the impact on the environment in jeans manufacturing.
Treatment of the jeans by laser is replacing the conventional use of sandpaper and potassium permanganate. Sandpaper is used to brush the surface of the fabric and basically ‘open up the yarns’ to make the white base of the yarns visible. This will only become apparent after applying the chemical substance of potassium permanganate. By the use of laser we basically burn of the surface (and consequently part of the indigo dye stuff) of the yarns. The white, worn effect, will become more apparent after applying Ozone to it. With this process we eliminate though manual labour and the use of harmful substances. Also, the jeans will be stronger because the yarns are less damaged by the manual brushing.
Oxygen (O2) is converted to ozone gas (O3), jeans are dampened, exposed to the ozone, and rinsed; the ozone is reconverted to ordinary oxygen before release into the environment. While chemical bleaching or stonewashing uses six to seven washes and rinses, ozone finishing requires two to three.
Ozone finishing reduces energy consumption. Because it reduces the amount of water that must be heated for wet finishing and the temperature required. Furthermore, replacing some traditional finishing with ozone reduces effluent, including the sludge pumice stones create.
Ozone bleaches more quickly than chemicals and stonewashing. Ozone can clean back stains in three seconds. At optimum concentrations, it bleaches denim in 15 minutes to levels commonly desired by fashion today, versus 30 to 45 minutes with traditional methods.
Our goals are already achieved in some of our products: use of only laser and ozone and no hand-brushing and chemicals.
Next steps: achieve this for all our denims.
Traditionally sourcing strategies are subject to the search of the lowest possible manufacturing costs. Unfortunately this is often at the cost of the employees in the factories. To clarify: bad working conditions and low wages are the results of brands, retailers and also consumers looking for the lowest price. We are consciously sourcing our goods in nearby factories. We are able to visit the factory frequently. And we have the same mindset as the factory owners; transparency – fair wages – good working conditions are at the top of our list. We are proud to be part of the Young Designer Program of Fairwear Foundation. They help us in assessing and improving the standards at our partner factory. The factory and MUD Jeans both have the philosophy that we want to be totally transparent. There are definitely points for improvement, but by sharing our challenges we can better take them on (with input from others if needed). And besides that others can learn from it as well.
Read the Audit Report here.
We want to work towards a situation where we can guarantee above average living wages for the workers in the factories we work with. And we are proud to state that working conditions and -hours are well taken care off at our manufacturing partners.
Joining the Young Designer Program of Fair Wear Foundation means we report on the results of the labor conditions policy. For 2016 we have monitored 88% of our production facilities (Stanley&Stella and Yousstex International). In 2017 will see this figure go past 90%
With over 80% of sales being in jeans we have strategically decided to work with one garment manufacturer only, which also has its in house laundry. In that way MUD Jeans creates a true partnership and slowly but surely gets leverage with Yousstex.
FAST FASHION IS THE CLOTHING EQUIVALENT OF FAST FOOD
Fast fashion encourages consumers to purchase un-needed clothes at rapid rate. Around 30% of garments in wardrobes isn’t worn for a year. In fact it is estimated that the average person throws away 32 kg (70 pounds) of clothing per year. That adds up to 1,7 billion kg (3.8 billion pounds) of unnecessary waste added to our land fils. Clothing and household textiles currently make up 5.2% of the waste in land falls. (source: SMART: Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles).
The starting point of our designs is recycling. The fabrics we use contain at least 98% of cotton, we don’t use leather labels but printed logo’s and on our knits we use buttons made out of recycled cotton. No polybags are use in our packing and hangtags are made out of recycled paper. We reuse the fabrics and make them useful again. That’s why worn out jeans are sent factories to Spain or to Italy. Here the jeans are shredded and mixed with new organic cotton. A new spun yarn containing recycled denim is born out of which new products are manufactured. An added value is that this circular process promotes job creation in the fields of recycling and remanufacturing (Ellen MacArthur Foundation).
Our objective in this regard: create the ‘cradle to cradle’ jeans on a scale that is commercially and aesthetically feasible.
WHAT IF WE CLOSED OUR OWN LOOP?
Do you really need to be the owner of the jeans you’re wearing? The idea of a performance economy was developed by Walter Stahel in the 1970s. He believed in the importance of selling services rather than products. This would lead to a world in which products are depots of raw materials. End users pay for the performance only so that manufacturers retain access to the raw materials.
Dutch architect Thomas Rau employed the principles of a performance model throughout his working space. When considering lighting, Rau did not want to purchase an expensive lighting infrastructure that he would eventually need to replace and dispose, but rather light as a service. RAU worked with Philips to develop a system that could work within this new way of thinking.
B E N E F I T S
T H E
C I R C U L A R
E C O N O M Y
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, sees the potential for 100,000 new jobs globally within five years of a shift to the circular economy, with jobs opening up in the areas of remanufacturing and recycling.
Customer only pay for the service they use and often receive a better service as the manufacturer has a greater interest in providing a product that lasts.
In the circular economy, products are designed to be made again. We create products that are highly efficient and durable.
REPACK: TRASH-FREE PACKAGING
For sustainability reasons, MUD Jeans is sending out its products only with RePack.
RePack is a returnable and reusable packaging that rewards you for every order. It is a sustainable alternative for packaging trash and throw-away consumerism, as RePack can be reused up to 20 times.
RePack can be returned simply by dropping it into any post box, anywhere in the world. Free of charge. Once the RePack is returned, you will get a 10% discount voucher in your email – for every MUD Jeans+RePack order you make. This voucher can then be used in any web store using RePack.