Introduction

We are reducing our impact on the earth.

We know it’s under pressure, a lot of this caused by our industry: too big, too self-involved, too fast, too cheap. Our outlook, motivation and experience mean we want to pioneer change.

This manifesto is a snapshot of our work so far and our plans for the future. Every time we bring you an update you’ll see that we’ve done even more.

Paradise

This June 2018, we’re launching our Paradise Capsule alongside our sustainability manifesto. This is a new exploration in denim designed to ignite more sustainable action throughout the industry.

The Paradise Capsule includes the best in low impact fabrics and processes:

  • Certified Organic Cotton
  • Dyed and finished with certified low impact treatments
  • Treated with innovative laser technology and water-reducing washes
  • Low impact trims including recycled polyester badges, and recycled paper hangtags

Our Paradise denim capsule collection is the most sustainable and lowest impact denim we can make today. Our goal is to reach this level of sustainability for all our jeans by 2020.

For 2018, 50% of the cotton in our jeans already comes from more sustainable sources including organic and Better Cotton (BCI), and this number will keep increasing.

Timeline

2016

  • Introduced GOTS approved treatments and laser finishing for denim
  • Incorporated recycled materials into store fits, including recycled denim and yoghurt pots

2017

  • Started sourcing certified cotton including GOTS organic and Better Cotton (BCI)

2018

  • Launched Paradise capsule, our lowest impact denim produced to date
  • Sourced 50% of cotton across collections from more sustainable sources including organic and BCI
  • Used water-reducing laser technology for 80% of denim washes
  • Introduced recycled cashmere to replace conventional cashmere
  • Started using biodegradable plastic bags and hangtags
  • Introduced recycled brand labels and leather patches
  • Launched jeans recycling service

2019

  • Start using reduced impact metal buttons and rivets
  • Target for 10% denim to contain post-consumer recycled cotton
  • All woven, paper and leather brand labels to be made from recycled materials

2020

  • Target for 80% of cotton to come from more sustainable sources, including certified organic, BCI, and post-consumer recycled cotton
  • Goal for 70% of jeans to be washed with GOTS approved treatments
  • Target for 100% of washes to be carried out with laser technology

The Future

For the future, M.i.h Jeans is committed to ensuring all collections are created in alignment with our Responsible Sourcing Strategy.

We are focusing on the key areas of transparency, reducing our impacts, and closing the loop. Working towards the targets we set in these areas will require us to:

  • Ensure the ethical performance of our garment makers
  • Require traceable cotton from our denim suppliers
  • Work to reduce our environmental impacts across the supply chain, from raw materials to end of use

We are constantly assessing how we work, in order to set targets to further improve our performance.

Transparency

We should all ask questions about the impact of our clothes, and where they come from. From seeking traceable cotton to partnerships with our garment workers, we pursue transparency and traceability throughout our supply chain.

We’re especially concerned with knowing where our cotton comes from and how it is grown. Seeking to use certified cotton can help with traceability, along with ensuring that human and environmental conditions are the best they can be.

Responsible sourcing

We aim to ensure the responsible performance of our suppliers and garment makers by screening them for negative social and environmental practices. We seek to work with those using low impact manufacturing processes and practicing fair and safe labour. Suppliers are required to complete an assessment form aligned with M.i.h’s supplier Code of Conduct.

Cotton

We only source denim from carefully selected mills that meet our responsible sourcing criteria. This includes not working with suppliers that source cotton from countries where health and safety risks are heightened, and/or where forced labour has been identified in cotton supply chains, including Uzbekistan, Syria, and Turkmenistan.

Product transparency

We aim to share supply chain information about every jean on our website, such as raw materials certifications, information about our water saving washes, denim suppliers, laundries, and country of manufacture. Then, we plan to extend product transparency across our range.

Impact reduction

We are incorporating Environmental Impact Management (EIM) software in our wash processes to benchmark the water, energy and chemical savings that are possible. Then we will set impact reduction targets for 2020.

We already operate a restricted substance list based on REACH, Prop 65 and ZDHC guidelines, which are the highest standards currently set internationally.

Reducing Impact

To create 1 kilogram of conventional cotton (roughly the amount needed for a shirt and a pair of jeans) can take an astounding 10,000 – 20,000 litres of water.

As a crop, cotton has a raging thirst. That means we need to be careful about where and how our cotton is cultivated. Because cotton isn’t all we use to make jeans, we’re looking at all the processes in our supply chain, from dyeing to fading.

Cotton

We aim to reduce our overall impact through reducing our use of conventional cotton. This means that by 2020 at least 80% of our cotton should from more sustainable sources, including certified organic, Better Cotton (BCI), and post-consumer recycled cotton.

For AW18, 50% of the cotton in our jeans already comes from more sustainable sources, including organic and BCI. By SS19 an additional 10% of cotton used each season will be recycled from post-consumer sources.

Water reduction

We are committed to reducing our use of water by exploring innovative treatment technologies and are developing an action plan to further reduce water use in our wash processes.

60% of our jeans are currently faded and finished with laser technology, which uses up to 97.5% less water than conventional methods. Our goal is for all dry treatments to be laser by 2020.

Water quality

We are committed to reducing the use of non-organic chemicals in our supply chain, from how our denim is dyed to how are jeans are washed. In our denim laundering we use enzymes and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) approved treatments wherever possible. 50% of our jeans are currently washed using GOTS approved treatments and our goal is to increase this to 70% by 2020.

By 2019, all of our metal trims will also be finished with reduced water and chemical processes.

Carbon reduction

At M.i.h we source 90% of our fabric locally to Europe, where we make our garments, reducing airfreight and limiting related emissions. The exception to this rule is when we use Japanese denim, which is a key part of our luxury denim edit.

Our partners

Our criteria in selecting our partners are focused on innovation and sustainability. In addition to insisting on closed-loop water purification facilities, our laundry partners work to measure and reduce their impacts holistically throughout the washing process.

For example, 80% of our jeans are made in a laundry that has reduced chemical and enzyme usage by 60%, water usage by 70% and energy consumption by 20% since 2014. In 2011 it took roughly 120lts of water to wash a pair of jeans, and in 2017 it only took on average 30lts to wash a pair of our jeans.

Closing the Loop

There are 100 billion new garments made from virgin resources each year, many of which are forgotten about or discarded too soon. We’d rather our customers’ wardrobes contain fewer high quality pieces, so we make our clothes to last. If you do need to get them fixed, we’ll be launching a repair service to make sure you can have them repaired by experts. We’re also working on a recycling service so that in the future, when your jeans finally do reach the end of their life with you, we can create new yarns and garments from your old ones.

Closing the loop

M.i.h Jeans is a member of the Alliance for Responsible Denim, involved in exploring the future of post-consumer recycled denim.

By 2020 we undertake to be leaders in the use of post-consumer recycled cotton in our denim, launching a jeans recycling service for customers and working together to close the loop by allowing old denim to be recycled into new denim.

We’ve already started using recycled materials in our store fits, choosing innovative furniture made with pre-loved jeans and food packaging.

By 2019 all woven, paper and leather brand labels are to be made from recycled materials. We will also be adding D2W to our polybags and plastic hangtags in 2018, to make our plastic more biodegradable (180 days to be precise).

Repair re-wear

We’re committed to celebrating the emotional durability of clothes, so we plan to launch a repair service for our denim, as loved clothes last.

We also believe in combining vintage with new, so we elevate thrifted clothes as part of our brand edit.