Consumers behaviour

5 Tips For A Sustainability Report People Actually Read

Rachel founder Rethink Rebels

Hi!
I’m Rachel
You have gifts to
change the fashion 
industry and my job
is to help you
using them.

Read more

Why no one is reading boring sustainability reports? Well, maybe because it’s wrapped in dense corporate documentents that no one cares to read or feel involved in? (including the sustainability professionals from within…). As Mud Jeans does everything different, they completely tackled that boringness and made this sustainability reporting a nice to read filled with rich storytelling features.  We share and highlight 5 tips derrived from their report.

Reporting on sustainability of your organization becomes more important than ever. Investors globally continue to be concerned about climate change risks and the transition to a low-carbon economy. (Read here) But also citizens and potentially customers want to feel good about the companies they buy from. (Read here) Let’s dive into Mud Jeans’ sustainability report and learn why it’s actually being read instead to end up as desk (top) filling material.

Sustainability report Mud Jeans

MUD Jeans is a Dutch jeans brand, BCorp certified, selling circular jeans with recycled and organic content. Their goal is to make 100% zero waste & recycled jeans by 2020.

1. Transparency & Traceability

The first thing what strikes us immediately is that full transparency and traceability is given, no holding back or excuses to share. For instance; they work with 3 supply chain partners only. But also it includes names and locations of factories, locations and even it’s owner names. Also for each product/process each appointed certificate is named and explained. To start the report with interesting environmental rescues, saves and figures are presented. It that shows the massive impact this business makes in a positive way.

Some highlights

WATER: As we might know already, on average about 7000 liters water per pair of jeans is used. MUD Jeans uses 1500 liters of water to produce one pair of jeans, saving 5500 liters per jeans. This amounts to nearly 300 million liters of water in the past 3 years.

CO2: On average 8% of global greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions are produced by the apparel and footwear industries. MUD jeans emits 61% less CO2 than other regular denim brands. 61%! This amounts to 700.000 kilos of CO2 avoided in the past 3 years.

Recycling: 12.000 Jeans are saved from landfill in the past three years.

MUD jeans SDGs

Within MUD jeans’ circular denim, they contribute to achieve the above mentioned SDGs

2. Aligning with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

In 2015 all United Nations Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This agenda provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and planet. At its core, 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been set. These are an urgent call for action by both developed and developing countries in global partnership. “Ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests”, according to the UN members.

Did you know that during the integration of these 17 goals during the COP21 in Paris, the owner of MUD jeans Bert van Son got the opportunity to share their story during COP21 at l’Université de la terre!? Being a BCorp organization, and contributing to several SDGs, MUD jeans is making sure to use their business as a force for good. SDG12 – Responsible Consumption and Production is closely aligned with Mud Jeans’ mission and vision. This goal aims that business activities are developed within a sustainable way of consuming and producing. 

For example with their award winning Lease A Jeans concept, they offer customers a sustainable way of consuming and both it’s sustainably produced. They are creating awareness about the current state of the world in particular to fashion and apparel and they share why they do things in a different way.  Sustainable fashion means long lasting, high quality products that don’t need to change every season. Therefore they set a goal to grow until they reach a production level of 500.000 jeans/year and from there on they will stabilize their growth.

3. Storytelling

Throughout the report pictures and rich stories are being told to inspire the reader. Like above mentioned Bert’s story on his mission on COP21, but also the pictures of the makers are proudly presented and explained. Or on the part of Fair Factories whereas Mr. Habib Ben Mansour, owner of Yousstex International the garment supplier, likes to say that MUD Jeans makes ‘noble products’.

Personally I love the story on a team trip to Spain: “Two years ago, in 2016, Team MUD drove to Valencia in Spain to bring our first 3.000 returned Lease A Jeans to the recycling factory. During this tour we followed the recycling process and witnessed how new denim fabrics were born.” They include some personal pictures of this trip in the report to get a good feeling of how much fun they had, how inspirational it was for them including the interns and it’s clear how much they love to do what they do. 

And that is the power of storytelling: to really inspire and talk to the hearts of the readers. Make them a part of your story and part of the journey. 

MUD Jeans I made your clothes

4. Define Bold Goals

Definately MUD jeans is not afraid to set some heavy and bold goals with a clear time frame. Like their extensive 2020 goals:

– 100% of all components of MUD jeans are designed for recycling

– All fibres used in MUD jeans are preferred fibres as stated by the textile exchange preferred fiber or material benchmark

– By 2020 we want to develop one jeans fabric which is 100% recycled. Ambitious: we know!

– For 2020, through an LCA (Life Cycle Analysis) we will map the complete consumption of water throughout the supply chain and set specific goals concerning reduction.

– We will expand our take-back scheme beyong the free-shipping zone and include more shops to increase the volume of jeans recycled.

…and many more! SMART goals have been set. Now the readers will likely follow seeing you accomplishing these goals!

5. Interact with your stakeholders

Not only does MUD jeans interact with its consumers, retailers, supply chain partners and workers, academia & NGOs (such as Ellen Mac Arthur Foundation, Circle Economy, B Lab, AMFI, Saxion, Fontys), influencers and other denim brands. As we see Bert or his colleagues always interact with their audience during a talk, showing pictures and movies. But also sharing pictures from MUD jeans groupies the love to brag with. Also there is an enormous internal interaction going on at team MUD as well. Did you know they have wednesdays and fridays company runs, drive electric and bake their own bread?

What we really loved to see is their organised webinar to go into detail about their first sustainability report. Eva Engelen, CSR manager at MUD jeans explains it future forward: “With our first sustainability report, ever, we will look at the past and the future. As a circular denim brand and BCorp, we have a big impact, of that we are sure. However, being a scale-up we have not been able to precisely measure this impact, which we will do in the near future. Modern transparency is what we live by. In this light, we are extremely proud and excited to share with you how we strive to be more sustainable and circular.” Check out this webinar! Check out MUD jeans full sustainability report here.

Questions about sustainability reporting and/or MUD jeans? Write them down in our comments below. Do you like this? Perhaps you like our previous article on Australian fashion brand Maggie Marilyn ditching plastic polybags.  Do you see mistakes? Let us know! Do you want to stay informed? Sign up for our Newsletter or social via Facebook and Instagram.


Maggie Marilyn no plastic

Fashion Brand Maggie Marilyn Beats Plastic Polybags. Read here how.

Rachel founder Rethink Rebels

Hi!
I’m Rachel
You have gifts to change
the fashion industry
and my job is to help you
using them.

Read more

How do you know if ‘green’ disposable plastic products, marked bioplastic, biodegradable, or compostable are actually a good choice for planet & people? All the different terms are confusing. We need clarity. And we need it fast.

We all know that plastic is made of artificially created chemicals that don’t belong in our world. Plus they don’t mix well with nature. These plastics are a big source of pollution, in our water and food, creating toxic health hazards for communities as well as killing marine wildlife.

Plastic packaging biodegradable

The Solution To Plastic Polybags

Maggie Marilyn, a sustainable fashion brand from New Zealand uses biodegradable cassava polybags. They are made from the cassava root, vegetable oil, and vegetable polymers and are produced in Indonesia. These bags, created for them by ComPlast, decompose back to nature and dissolve in water. Maggie Marilyn explains “Some manufacturers of petroleum-based bags will add plant-based materials to the plastic and also claim these as “biodegradable”. A very frustrating piece of greenwashing!”

Currently, these bio-based polybags are commercially compostable (99.5% plant material) and they are developing towards home-composting. These bags completely biodegrade back into the environment without creating any type of microplastics (as the petroleum-based plastic do). Maggie Marilyn shares more detailed information on their website and by doing so, they hope to encourage other brands and retailers to demand more on this specific issue that is holding us back from being more accountable to our waste. Sharing = Caring!

Currently, these bio-based polybags are commercially compostable and hopefully soon for home-composting.

Maggie Marilyn ComPlast biodegradable bag from 100% natural products

Recycling bio-based plastics

The volume of bio-based plastics is still too small for separation or separate collection. But hey, isn’t this just like electric cars? At first, nobody bought one because there was no charging point. But then, nobody is going to install charging stations if there are no electric cars… Just the same case with the recycling of bio-based plastics. It’s ultimately up to waste companies to break through that problem. Overall, it is expected that by 2020 the share of bio-based and biodegradable plastics will increase to 2.5% of fossil plastics production (read here more about this). That’s only a half a year away from now…

Facilitate Consumers’ best behavior

Collection and sorting, which starts at consumers and their behavior, largely determine the (energy) efficiency of waste management systems. To facilitate consumers to choose the right route of disposal for packaging waste, pictograms can be used to indicate the preferred disposal route.

New Plastic Economy Ellen MacArthur

Six key points so that plastic never becomes waste

The New Plastics Economy (Ellen MacArthur Foundation) has defined six key points to catalyze change and shift towards a circular economy where plastic never becomes waste:

  1. Elimination of problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging through redesign, innovation, and new delivery models is a priority

  2. Reuse models are applied where relevant, reducing the need for single-use packaging

  3. All plastic packaging is 100% reusable, recyclable, or compostable

  4. All plastic packaging is reused, recycled (rPET), or composted in practice

  5. The use of plastic is fully decoupled from the consumption of finite resources

  6. All plastic packaging is free of hazardous chemicals, and the health, safety, and rights of all people involved are respected.

Questions about polybags & plastics? Write them down in our comments below. Do you like this? Perhaps you like our previous article on plastics in a circular economy.  Do you see mistakes? Let us know! Do you want to stay informed? Sign up for our Newsletter or social via Facebook and Instagram.


Chiara Indiaan in je Kast en Rachel

The Dutch Marie Kondo, Chiara Spruit, makes your wardrobe sustainable

Ever heard of the so-called Konmari method of Marie Kondo? Netflix hero Marie Kondo is so popular that it has already become a verb. I Marie Kondo, You Marie Kondo and we all Marie Kondo. Something like that. Marie Kondo is a cleanup guru in the USA. Totally at ease she will go through your pile of clothes with and you can keep it whenever you feel a ‘spark of joy’, everything else you say ‘thank you’ and say goodbye to. But there’s more! We know Chiara Spruit in the Netherlands. 

The consumer society in which we live consists of a repeated principle of buying, storing and throwing away. It is also called take-make-waste. We secretly no longer know what we actually have and no longer cherish our things. Chiara wants to change this and does this in a very personal way.

Chiara Spruit Marie Kondo style

I meet her during a circular fashion show at CIRCL and ask her a few questions about her way of working. First of all, she tells me where her name comes from. She calls herself Indian in your closet. Indian, because she was adopted from Colombia and in your closet because that is her favorite place. 

What are your tips & tricks that make people happy about their wardrobe again? 

“The first step really starts with yourself, what kind of person you are and what suits you and what makes you happy? What are your strengths and lesser points? Then you may wonder if you are going to shop sustainably, vintage shopping, swapping, borrowing or all in a mix. In addition, I think it is important that people cherish what they have, but also realize that there is a story behind every item of clothing. A piece of clothing that you buy in the store usually has no story. I’m trying to explain to really look at a piece of clothing and find out what feeling you get from that piece; does it give you a ‘spark of joy’? Yes or no? 

For example, think of that beautiful blouse with buttons from your grandma on it, you’ll never throw something like that away. I really look at a piece of clothing and ask myself ‘how you can I make this unique’. See, a basic is a basic. But a unique piece of clothing teaches you to look at the time spent on it. Five or ten years ago they were not really talking about sustainable fashion. I already did what I did. Learning to look at details and to cherish clothes has been introduced to me as a child”.

Chiara Indiaan in je Kast en Rachel

The basis for a sustainable wardrobe is self-knowledge. Chiara barely hears this in the media (do you want to know more about this? Then read the article with Clare Press).

Together with Chiara you gradually get closer to yourself, she also calls it peeling the layers of the onion until you are really on the core. Who am I, what do I want, what do I feel comfortable with? Not your partner, your employer, your children or whatever: no, it’s about you.

What about business clothing?

 “If you work for a corporate company and you have a meeting, it is nice that you have a nice jacket and pants. But a jacket and pants are very different if you wear this with a leopard belt or banana socks. This is, of course, just an example, but try to make things your own, and like this, you don’t have to buy a different (expensive) suit every time.

Always try to change something small, then it feels that it’s like new. If you can create a wardrobe for yourself that contains clothing that suits you, what you really wear, that you have an overview, and enjoy: then that is really sustainable.

How does a wardrobe session work?

“There are various options. You can book a workshop with a group of girlfriends, but I can also visit you at home. During a wardrobe session, I work thoroughly. It’s all about you. During a wardrobe session, all layers of the onion are peeled off to get to the core. Who are you? I make many sincere compliments, identify qualities and inspire people. A wardrobe session involves taking steps. A wardrobe is an accumulation of years and expresses itself in a certain world of thought: how did you see yourself versus who you are now? Change is slow, but I do try to set change processes in motion. For information, the prices are between 79 (workshop with girlfriends) and 500 euros (private wardrobe session of a day).

How do you see sustainability yourself?

“I am a proponent of sustainability, but whether I am a world improver? I think so, but we have to do it together. I can really only improve the world if people actually pick up my story. We improve the world together. Somewhere there is a bit of a smudge on my profession. As a stylist, you are often busy disapproving. This is out of fashion, this is no longer possible, you are too old / too young / too fat / too thin, etc. This is of course not really a sustainable idea and that does not suit me.

Do you have an ultimate shop tip?

“Yes, of course! Book a session with me: Indian in your closet and turn your own closet into your favorite clothing store! I want to make sure that you will be happy again from your own store, just at home. You don’t have to search for externally, everything starts with you!

Do you want to know more or do you have questions for Rachel? Or Chiara? Feel free to do that in the comments below. Do you see mistakes? Let us know! Do you want to stay informed? Sign up for our Newsletter or via Facebook and Instagram.


Chanel Trapman sustainable lifestyle and fashion advocate

Burning New Clothes. The New Standard? Chanel doesn't think so!

In July 2017, British fashion house Burberry, known for the check print, was in the news. No, not because of their latest collection, no it was revealed that the brand had burned more than 30 million euros in clothing. Say what?  In this way, the things remained out of the hands of counterfeiters who would like to copy their items. Smart idea, but very bad for the environment. Because in the end, it turned out that 100.5 million euros had gone up in smoke over the years.

In the Netherlands, 1.2 million items of clothing are destroyed every year. The environment is therefore extremely burdened and additional man-hours are required to process the textile waste. Why is this actually happening and why is there no legislation or regulation for this yet?

Frankenhuis recycling sustainable fashion Rethink Rebels

And how can 1 in 9 children live in poverty and therefore have no money for new clothes, while new clothes are burned? Entrepreneur Chanel Trapman does not understand this and decided, together with Green Left, Suzanne Kröger, to start a petition to get a ban on burning unsold clothing. Are you done with this too? then sign the petition.

Chanel has a huge mission to make people aware that fashion needs to be more sustainable and to inform about the many initiatives that exist. Something that naturally inspires me enormously. A few weeks ago I decided to interview her at The Impact Store in Amsterdam.

Where did your passion for fair fashion arise?

About four years ago when I saw The True Cost, a documentary on Netflix, I was a mother and student, so I didn’t have much money. My son was 2 years old and I regularly went to Primark, because hey he grew up fast. Actually, very ignorantly, I bought everything for him and for me. Isn’t that just how it works?

The True Cost has done so much with me. In the documentary you see children working with mothers and so I realized that I made a subconscious contribution to their nasty living conditions through my buying behavior. In combination with seeing The True Cost and my training as a documentary maker, a lot has been triggered. I knew I had to change this. My mission to make more people aware of this what is born.

Truecost Rethink Fashion Livingwage Rethink Rebels

However, the way and way was still very searching. That’s why I spent four years looking for initiatives with my camera, interviewing people, writing a lot and helping sustainable brands with their communication to the outside world. After 4 years, that resulted in the documentary Positive Chain of Change or my graduation project.

The documentary premiered on October 6, 2018, during the Dutch Sustainable Fashion week. The reactions were fantastic and I can’t wait to share this with the rest of the world and with the whole of the Netherlands (tip: hopefully early next year on NPO3). How can we solve the clothing problem? The problem is super complex, but the biggest problem is that we are shifting responsibility to someone else. The government, the market (companies/brands) and the consumer are the main players and actually point to each other. But if you point a finger at another, you point a finger at yourself. You as a consumer, yourself working for a (fashion) company, yourself working for the government. We must realize that we are connected to each other. We are all links in the chain, where cooperation can bring a positive chain reaction. It sounds logical, but unfortunately, it is not all that easy. I wanted to approach the documentary positively, emphasize positive examples in the market. People who want to make a change themselves, instead of waiting for it, and I went looking for all those people. Many of these people have quit their jobs to make this change. Just like at Hatsup  (during this interview Hatsup launches its brand in the Impact store).

Chanel en Rachel Hatsup The Impact Shop

Hatsup makes sustainable products and ensures that someone with a mental illness is helped with every purchase.

Why did you start The Impact Shop in Amsterdam?

The impact shop is an initiative of Liza Elsenburg, known among others for the Gelukszoekers. She did not want to do this on her own and via me, she ended up here. I had been in the sustainable fashion industry for a few years, I knew the players and I already worked with many brands with my own company Mumster.

.

The Impact Shop Chanel Trapman

I could offer a lot to companies, but it was just that last piece, the sale, that is ultimately what it’s all about, that I couldn’t offer them. By working together with Liza the puzzle was complete. The name, “The Impact Shop” actually says enough. It fits me really well.

Which clothing brands are sold in The Impact Shop?

The great thing about The Impact Shop is that research has been done into the brands that are being offered. Sustainable production, transparency in the chain, the materials used and working conditions are looked at. One brand is more sustainable than the other brand. Rhumaa is a brand that communicates very clearly that it is not yet 100% organic matter, but that they have consciously opted for a certain mix in order to make the product-life longer. Then it is also more sustainable and better for the environment. The Dutch bag brand Fraenck makes an impact on all areas, they are a lot further in the process.

Do you have some tips for more sustainable shopping?

  • Buy less (that is very strange to say with my shop, it is true)

  • Buy second hand: The Next Closet or Lena Library!

  • Find your personal style. That way you limit faulty-buying.

  • Buy products of better sustainable quality. This makes clothes last longer and you will not have to buy something new as quickly.

  • Do not throw away clothing immediately if it is broken, but have it repaired. Don’t like your clothes anymore? Give it a second life, bring your clothes to someone else or throw it in a textile bin.

  • Best tip; buy at The Impact Shop in Amsterdam!

Do you find yourself a world improver?

Oehhh, (short break, but full) YES! If you take it very literally, I am a world improver. Everything I do is all about improving the world. Sustainable fashion is of course about people and the environment, animal and welfare, everything – the world. But I also want to bring improvement to the next generation that comes into this world. We all live in the world and everything I do is about improving it.

When are you most happy?

I really get very happy when I notice that more and more people are becoming more aware of sustainability, the environment etc. It is good to hear that more people are starting to think about who they are and how they can contribute to improving the world in a positive way. But luckily I still get from my son, friends, and family. Ordinary life actually.

Do you want to know more about sustainable fashion, the petition or the documentary, do you have questions for Chanel or do you want to say something to her? Feel free to do that in the comments below. Do you see mistakes? Let us know! Do you want to stay informed? Sign up for our Newsletter or via Facebook or Instagram


Polluted river China by Fashion Industry

Fashion Fix Above Everything? Tips for a sustainable lifestyle

In recent years we have been bombarded with the word sustainability. Sustainable food, sustainable clothing, sustainable fairs, sustainable care, sustainable sports, sustainable work, and sustainable living. But what is it anyway?

We are the first generation to experience the impact of climate change, but also the last generation that can do something about it.

As it is now, we, as consumers, have to get to work

As it is, we, as consumers, have to get to work and think with each issue: “put your money where your mouth is”. If you are aware, there will naturally change. I personally experienced it a few months ago. I came to a halt from my busy and always hurried life.

Sustainable lifestyle life and family Rachel Cannegieter

Before I became aware of everything, I wanted to make a career, raise two sweet children, and I had an enormous drive to get up that ladder as much as possible.

Which ladder am I actually trying to climb and at what price is that really?

In my world, the fashion industry, it seems as if I’m struggling hard every time and then asking myself; where and for whom do I actually do this? It’s this undefined love/hate relationship with Fashion, I assume. Unfortunately, I rang the bell too late and I ended up in a sort of burnout status. In my stressed status, I thought about life. Am I still happy with my job, am I on the right track? Who was I again? And what do I actually want to give my children? If they see me go to work so unhappy, they never get my work ethos along. Is that the example I want to leave behind? And of course, there is also the complete exploitation in my fashion industry. What do I want to give to the next generations?

The textile industry is a very polluting industry

Rana Plaza, that disaster in Bangladesh in 2013, in which more than 1100 women and their children died, because the building did not meet the requirements for textile production. Do you remember that? Did you know that there is still slavery in the clothing industry and that people have to work extremely long days, sometimes 24/7, days and weeks in a row for our must-have outfit or Fashion Fix? The textile industry is a very polluting industry. 10% of CO2 emissions come from textiles. For comparison: 2.5% CO2 emissions come from the aviation industry. We then use around 10,000 liters of water per outfit (jeans + shirt) to produce it. In addition, I have not even talked about all the chemicals and dyes to make our jeans so special. These are namely dumped in nearby rivers. This way, the entire community can see which trendy color is “in fashion” in the West.

Polluted river China by Fashion Industry

The above is just the tip of the iceberg. But of course, you can now ask yourself why we still produce nature polluting and why the working conditions in the factories are so bad?

If we continue with our consumption this way there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050

This is such a typical case of the “pointing finger”. The fashion brands blame the consumer, the government blames the companies and the consumer blames the government. My father always said if you point a finger at the other, three points at yourself. So time to get started. If we continue to use our consumption in this way, there will be more plastic in 2050 than fish in our oceans (by weight).

Tips for a greener and more sustainable existence:

·         Pay and save greener: investing, saving but also daily banking can be done at greener banks/investment companies (eg Triodos)

·         Vote for green: use your voting rights and vote for people in politics who speak about climate change.

·         Buy plants: it absorbs CO2 and you get more balanced + you become more energetic with the color green.

·         Reduce your own CO2 footprint: buy solar panels, take a bicycle, take the bus, go carpooling with your colleague or opt for an electric car. But also separate your waste, do your shopping with cotton bags (also for fruit/vegetables), become vegetarian or eat less meat.

In the meantime, I have also started to live greener and more sustainably. I have introduced five different waste bins. That seems extreme (if you come from one or two), but trust me, it is not so bad once you do it (and you’re surprised by the number of single-use plastics).

Then I went to clean up waste after a wonderful day at the beach. A real hashtag has been created for this on Instagram: # 5minutesbeachcleanup. After the beach season

I thought; hey we have to do this in our neighborhood. You know; create awareness of roaming plastic. So we did just that. Because of this you are not only enjoying the walk, but you are also doing something good for fellow human beings and nature. Below a photo of the garbage disposal in our neighborhood. It was a fantastic evening.

Neighborhood clean up together we make a better world

Honest? I’m not there yet. I am still on my way and I would like to take you on a journey in my “greener” and more sustainable life without this having a goat wool socks image. In the end, I am still the fashionista who loves fashion. Sustainable fashion.

Do you want to know more about a sustainable existence or do you have questions for us? Feel free to do that in the comments below. Do you see mistakes? Let us know! Do you want to stay informed? Sign up for our Newsletter or via Facebook and Instagram.