Better Cotton Launches New Chain of Custody Advisory Group

Last month, the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) launched its new Chain of Custody Advisory Group.

The purpose of the new Advisory Group is to provide advice on the development of the Better Cotton Chain of Custody – the key framework that connects demand with supply of Better Cotton and helps to incentivise cotton farmers to adopt more sustainable practices.

Consisting of BCI Members and non-members, the Advisory Group will ensure any new Chain of Custody developments are commercially relevant, feasible and attractive to BCI’s multi-stakeholder membership.

Chain of Custody Advisory Group Members

Retailers and Brands

  • Karen Perry | John Lewis & Partners
  • Ethan Barr | Target
  • Syed Rizwan Vajahat | IKEA
  • German Garcia | Inditex

Suppliers, Manufacturers and Traders

  • Philippe Saner | Paul Reinhart AG
  • Besim Ozek | Bossa Sanayi ve Ticaret Isletmeleri TAS
  • Fawzia Yasmeen | Pahartali Textile and Hosiery Mills

Producer Organisation

  • Todd Straley | Quarterway Cotton Growers

Civil Society

  • Melissa Ho & Anis Ragland | WWF

Non-members

  • Aminah Ang | RSPO
  • Chuck Rogers | Bureau Veritas Consumer Product Services

Though it is not a decision-making body, the group will provide strategic advice to the BCI Membership and Supply Chain Team and allow for more focused discussions on the Better Cotton Chain of Custody.

It is such a diverse group, and members have a wide range of expertise and experience. We are excited to work together to help shape the future of the Better Cotton Chain of Custody.” – Joyce Lam, Supply Chain Integrity Manager, BCI.

Find out more about the Better Cotton Chain of Custody.

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Better Cotton Publishes Revised Chain of Custody Guidelines

The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) has launched a revised version of the Better Cotton Chain of Custody Guidelines.

Chain of Custody Guidelines V1.4

The Better Cotton Chain of Custody (CoC) is the key framework that connects demand with supply of Better Cotton and helps to incentivise cotton farmers to adopt more sustainable practices. The CoC Guidelines incorporate two different chain of custody models: product segregation between the farm and gin and mass-balance after the gin level.

The latest CoC Guideline revisions focused predominately on removing outdated CoC requirements, clarifying and strengthening existing requirements, addressing any ambiguous language and restructuring the layout of the document. The updated CoC Guidelines V1.4 now also clearly define and distinguish between mandatory requirements and best practice guidance.

Importantly, the basic Chain of Custody requirements have not changed – BCI still requires a product segregation model in place between farm and gin level (i.e. Better Cotton must be kept segregated from conventional cotton) and a mass-balance chain of custody model is applicable after gin level. More information on these models and requirements for different supply chain organisations can be found in the the CoC Guidelines.

The revised guidelines replace the previous V1.3 and will be effective as of 1 August 2020, which is the beginning of the ICAC international cotton season.For more information, please read the FAQ and summary of the key changes documents.

Find out more about the Better Cotton Chain of Custody on the BCI website.

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Sustainable Cotton Reaches 22% of Global Production as 2.3 Million Farmers Receive Training on Improved Agricultural Practices

 
Today, the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) launched its 2019 Annual Report. In the report, BCI shares that Better Cotton – cotton produced by licensed BCI Farmers in line with the initiative’s Better Cotton Principles and Criteria – now accounts for 22% of global cotton production*.

In the 2018-19 cotton season, together with expert on-the-ground Implementing Partners and with support from more than 1,800 members, BCI provided training on more sustainable agricultural practices to 2.3 million cotton farmers – 2.1 million gained a license to sell Better Cotton. This drove the volume of more sustainably produced cotton available on the global market to a new level.

At the opposite end of the supply chain, BCI’s Retailer and Brand Members passed a significant milestoneat the end of 2019, sourcing more than 1.5 million metric tonnes of Better Cotton ¬≠– a record for BCI. That’s a 40% increase on 2018 and sends a clear signal to the market that Better Cotton is becoming a sustainable mainstream commodity. Better Cotton uptake now accounts for 6% of global cotton production.

It is particularly pleasing to share the progress BCI is making, thanks to the concerted efforts of our members, partners and other stakeholders, towards our 2020 targets. With two more cotton seasons (2019-20 and 2020-21) within which to make further advances at field level, we are committed to not only continuing to deliver beneficial change at field level, but also to learning from the experience and adapting to become more effective. We do not yet know how close we will come to our 2020 targets, and we are still assessing how the current Covid-19 pandemic will impact our efforts. But one thing is certain, we have made significant and undeniable progress over the past 10 years, and there are many successes to celebrate.” – Alan McClay, CEO, BCI.

2019 Report Highlights

  • Better Cotton was grown in 23 countries in the 2018-19 cotton season.
  • Licensed BCI Farmers produced 5.6 million metric tonnes of Better Cotton. That is enough cotton to make approximately 8 billion pairs of jeans, a pair each for every person in the world.
  • Better Cotton now accounts for 22% of global cotton production.
  • BCI and its 76 field-level partners delivered training and support to a total of 2.3 million farmers.
  • 2.1 million cotton farmers received a BCI license to sell their cotton as Better Cotton – 99% are smallholders farming on less than 20 hectares.
  • BCI Retailer and Brand Members sourced 1.5 million metric tonnes of cotton as Better Cotton in 2019 – a record volume.
  • Uptake of Better Cotton now accounts for 6% of global cotton production.
  • BCI welcomed more than 400 new members in 2019.
  • By the end of the year, BCI had 1,842 members across five membership categories, a 29% increase on 2018.

Access the interactive BCI 2019 Annual Report to learn more about our successes, challenges and the progress we are making towards our 2020 targets.

*The percentage has been calculated using ICAC’s 2019 global production figures.

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Better Cotton Creates New Chain of Custody Advisory Group: Apply Now

 
As BCI develops its 2030 strategy and targets for the next decade, in addition to deepening BCI’s impact at field level, the focus remains on scaling the sustainable production and sourcing of Better Cotton – the cotton grown by licensed BCI Farmers in line with the Better Cotton Principles and Criteria.

Under this target area, BCI will consider the existing Better Cotton Chain of Custody (CoC), which constitutes the key framework that connects supply with demand of Better Cotton and helps to incentivise cotton farmers to adopt more sustainable practices.

The Better Cotton CoC currently incorporates two different chain of custody models: product segregation at the beginning of the supply chain (farm to gin) and mass-balance after the gin stage*. Going forward, BCI will consider whether it can provide a wider range ofchain of custodyoptions for all Better Cotton supply chain players, both BCI Members and non-members.

The purpose of BCI’s new member-based Chain of Custody Advisory Group is to provide advice on the development of the Better Cotton CoC, including projects and activities such asgin monitoring visits and supply chain audits in key Better Cotton producing countries.

Consisting of BCI Members and non-members, the Advisory Group will ensure any new chain of custody developments are commercially relevant, feasible and attractive to BCI’s multi-stakeholder membership. Though it is not a decision-making body for the organisation, the group will provide strategic advice and allow for more focused discussions on the Better Cotton CoC.

BCI would like to invite interested stakeholders to join the new Chain of Custody Advisory Group to help shape the future of BCI.

Download the application form.

You can find further background information, details on the Advisory Group scope of work, and the Terms of Reference here.

The deadline to apply for the Chain of Custody Advisory Group is Friday 8 May 2020.

Please contact BCI Supply Chain Integrity Manager Joyce Lam at [email protected] if you would like to participate, or if you require further information.

*In the segregation method, the purpose is to ensure that Better Cotton is not mixed or substituted with conventional cotton between the farm and gin. In the mass balance approach, the objective is to ensure that the quantity of Better Cotton purchased does not exceed the quantity of Better Cotton sold. Find out more about the Better Cotton Chain of Custody here.

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2020 Sustainable Cotton Ranking Launched

 
For the fourth time, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Solidaridad and the Pesticide Action Network (PAN) UK have published the Sustainable Cotton Ranking. The ranking analysed the 77 largest cotton users among international apparel brands and retailers, reviewing their policies, actual uptake of more sustainable cotton and transparency in their supply chains.

Access the 2020 Sustainable Cotton Ranking.

Adidas scored the highest in the 2020 Sustainable Cotton Ranking, followed by IKEA, H&M Group, C&A, Otto Group, Marks and Spencer Group, Levi Strauss & Co., Tchibo, Nike Inc., Decathlon Group and Bestseller, who all fell into the “leading the way’ category. Nine of these companies are BCI Retailer and Brand Members and also sit at the top of the Better Cotton Leaderboard, based on volumes of cotton sourced as Better Cotton.

The 2020 Sustainable Cotton Ranking illustrated that 11 companies are “leading the way’ when it comes to their sustainable cotton sourcing efforts, followed by 13 more companies that are “well on their way’ and 15 others which are “starting the journey’. According to the report, the remaining 38 companies have not yet started the journey.

Overall, the report found that progress has been made across the board on policy, uptake and traceability. Increasing numbers of companies are sourcing more sustainable cotton including Organic, Fairtrade, CmiA and Better Cotton, and overall uptake of more sustainable cotton has increased.

However, there is still a long way to go. With this ranking, PAN UK, Solidaridad and WWF hope to accelerate demand and uptake of more sustainable cotton by clothing and home-textile retailing companies around the world.

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Better Cotton Retailer and Brand Members Increase Better Cotton Sourcing by 40% in 2019

 
In 2019, 150 of the world’s most recognised retailers and brands collectively sourced more than 1.5 million metric tonnes of cotton as “Better Cotton’ – that is enough cotton to make approximately 1.5 billion pairs of jeans. The retailers, who are all members of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), hit a new sourcing milestone and sent a clear signal to the market that there is increasing demand for more sustainably grown cotton.

Uptake1 of Better Cotton – cotton produced by licensed BCI Farmers in line with the Better Cotton Principles and Criteriaincreased by 40% on the previous year. The volume sourced by BCI’s 150 Retailer and Brand Members in 2019 represents 6% of global cotton production2. By increasing sourcing commitments year-on-year and integrating Better Cotton into their sustainable sourcing strategies, BCI Retailer and Brand Members are driving demand for more sustainable cotton production worldwide.

Long-standing BCI Member Decathlon shared their thoughts on BCI and Better Cotton; ”While physical Better Cotton is not traceable to the end-product, what matters is that the funds channelled through BCI end up contributing to farmer training and expanding the network of cotton farmers who are improving their livelihoods, while protecting and restoring the environment.Decathlon has a target to source 100% more sustainable cotton by 2020 – this is a combination ofBetter Cotton together with organic and recycled cotton. This commitment has generatedahigh level of motivation internally at Decathlon. The BCI Team has also always been supportive of our journey, listeningto our needs and quickly responding to any challengeswe met,” says Nagy Bensid, Director Yarns and Fibres, Decathlon

BCI’s demand-driven funding model means that retailer and brand sourcing of Better Cotton directly translates into increased investment in training for cotton farmers on more sustainable practices. For example, in the 2018-19 cotton season, Retailer and Brand Members, public donors (DFAT) and IDH (the Sustainable Trade Initiative) contributed more than ‚Ǩ11 million to field-level projects, enabling more than 1.3 million cotton farmers in China, India, Pakistan, Turkey, Tajikistan and Mozambique to receive support, capacity building and training.3

BCI Supplier and Manufacturer Members also play a crucial role in increasing uptake as they bridge the gap between Better Cotton supply and demand. In 2019, suppliers and manufacturers sourced more than two million metric tonnes of cotton as Better Cotton, ensuring that there was enough supply available to meet retailers’ needs.

The retailers and brands, cotton traders and spinners who sourced the largest volumes of Better Cotton in 2019 will be revealed in the 2019 Better Cotton Leaderboard, launching at the 2020 Global Cotton Sustainability Conference in June. You can view the 2018 Leaderboard here.

Notes

1Uptake refers to the sourcing and purchasing of more sustainable cotton in a supply chain.By “sourcing cotton as Better Cotton,’ BCI is referring to the action taken by members when they place orders for cotton-containing products. It does not refer to the cotton present in the finished product. BCI uses a chain of custody model called Mass Balance whereby volumes of Better Cotton are tracked on an online sourcing platform. Better Cotton may be mixed with or replaced by conventional cotton in its journey from field to product, however, the volumes of Better Cotton claimed by members on the online platform never exceeds the volumes physically procured by spinners and traders.
2As per the global cotton production figures reported by ICAC. More information is availablehere.
3While the investment from BCI Retailer and Brand Members, public donors (DFAT), and IDH (the Sustainable Trade Initiative), mobilised through the Better Cotton Growth and Innovation Fund, reached over 1.3 million farmers in the 2018-2019 season, the Better Cotton Initiativeis forecast to reach more than 2.5 million cotton farmers in the season. The final figures (including final licensing figures) will be released in spring 2020 in BCI’s 2019 Annual Report.
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Which Global Brands Are Leaders in Sustainable Cotton Sourcing?

 
The Better Cotton Initiative’s (BCI) Retailer and Brand Members are forging the way for more sustainable cotton production by integrating Better Cotton into their raw material sourcing strategies and driving demand for more sustainable practices worldwide.

In 2018, 92 BCI Retailer and Brand Members sourced more than one million metric tonnes of Better Cotton – a record for BCI! This represents 4% of global cotton consumption*. BCI’s demand-driven funding model means that retailer and brand sourcing of Better Cotton directly translates into increased investment in training for cotton farmers on more sustainable practices.

While all BCI Retailer and Brand Members are contributing to the sustainable future of cotton, we would like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the leaders. The following members are the top 15 (in descending order) based on their total Better Cotton sourcing volumes in the 2018 calendar year. Together they represent a significant proportion (88%) of the Better Cotton that was sourced last year.

1 – Hennes & Mauritz AB

2 – IKEA Supply AG

3 – Gap Inc.

4 – adidas AG

5 – Nike, Inc.

6 – Levi Strauss & Co.

7 – C&A AG

8 – PVH Corp.

9 – VF Corporation

10 – BESTSELLER

11 – DECATHLON S.A.

12 – Target Corporation

13 – Marks and Spencer PLC

14 – Tesco

15 – OVS Spa

Access the Better Cotton Leaderboard 2018.

Since September 2015, all of the cotton we source for IKEA products is responsibly sourced – 85% of that is sourced as Better Cotton.It took a decade of determination and hard work to embed sustainability into our supply chain and we are pleased to have reached our 100% sustainable cotton target. We won’t stop there though. We are committed to creating positive change throughout the entire cotton industry and continue to collaborate with our partnersto make this a reality,” says Rahul Ganju, Sustainability Manager Textiles, IKEA of Sweden.

Cotton is our main raw material and it’s a natural choice for our consumers. However, we know that being natural doesn’t necessarily mean being sustainable. That’s why, in 2016, we decided to source only more sustainable cotton by 2020. BCI represents a core pillar in our strategy to reach that goal as the initiative increases cotton farmers’ capabilities to adopt sustainable agricultural practices and focus on continuous improvement,” says Simone Colombo, Head of Corporate Sustainability, OVS Spa.

“BESTSELLER joined BCI in 2011 and we’ve been an active member since then. We’ve increased our uptake of Better Cotton year on year and invested in farmer training and support. BESTSELLER has a target to source 100% of its cotton more sustainably by 2022 – to achieve this we source Better Cotton, Cotton made in Africa, organic cotton and recycled cotton,” says Dorte Rye Olsen, Sustainability Manager, BESTSELLER.

In addition to considering the absolute volumes of Better Cotton sourced, the proportional amount of Better Cotton as a percentage of total cotton consumption is important to highlight. For some Retailer and Brand Members, Better Cotton accounts for a substantial percentage of their total cotton sourcing. In 2018, the companies who sourced more than 90% of their cotton as Better Cotton were adidas AG, HEMA BV and Stadium AB. Decathlon SA, Fatface Ltd, Hennes & Mauritz AB, and IKEA AG sourced more than 75% of their cotton as Better Cotton.

The “fastest movers’ of 2018 (listed in alphabetical order) are Benetton, Burberry Ltd, Fatface Ltd, GANT AB, Gap Inc., HEMA BV, La Redoute, Nike Inc., Olymp Bezner KG, Peak Performance, PVH Corp. and Stadium AB. These retailers and brands increased their volumes of cotton sourced as Better Cotton by more than 20 percentage points compared to 2017, demonstrating that sourcing cotton more sustainably can become the norm for organisations of all sizes.

BCI has a goal to reach and train fivemillion cotton farmers by 2020.In order to achieve this, BCI calls upon its current Retailer and Brand Members as well as new members to be as ambitious as possible in setting Better Cotton sourcing targets. Increased sourcing generates essential funding for farmer training and support. We’re pleased to note that of BCI’s current 125 Retailer and Brand Members, 27 already have a public target to source 100% of their cotton more sustainably by 2020. An additional 23 members have sustainable sourcing targets that are set for just beyond 2020.

We’re now looking for the next wave of sustainability leaders to join BCI and close the gap between the supply of Better Cotton on the market (19% of global cotton production in the 2017-18 cotton season) and demand from Retailer and Brand Members (4% of global cotton consumption in the 2017-18 cotton season*). In the 2019-20 cotton season, Better Cotton is forecast to account for 30% of global cotton production.

Access the Better Cotton Leaderboard 2018.

As demand for Better Cotton increases, more and more organisations throughout the cotton supply chain are joining BCI and supporting increased uptake of Better Cotton. In the coming weeks, we will launch cotton merchant and cotton mill leaderboards, highlighting who sourced the largest volumes of cotton as Better Cotton in 2018.

*Global cotton consumption figures as reported by ICAC. More information is availablehere.

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Important Better Cotton Platform Updates

 
As part of BCI’s commitment to continual improvement, we are making some changes to how Better Cotton Claims Units (BCCUs) can be transferred through the BCP and the supply chain. Thisis designed toprotect the credibility of BCI’s chain of custody system and simplify the transfer of BCCUs.

What is the Better Cotton Platform?

The Better Cotton Platform (BCP) is an online system owned by BCI, and used by ginners, traders, spinners, other textile supply chain actors, and retailers and brands to document their Better Cotton sourcing volumes.Find out more about the Better Cotton Platform.

What are Better Cotton Claims Units?

A BCCU is the designated unit that corresponds to 1 kg of Better Cotton lint sold by a participating ginner.

Important Changes

  • As of 1 January 2020, companies wishing to transfer Better Cotton Claim Units (BCCUs) must do so electronically through the BCP. Starting on this date, members or BCP non-member suppliers* will no longer be able to transfer BCCUs using the manual entry option that is currently available in the BCP.
  • If a company is already a member of BCI or a BCP non-member supplier, no action is required.
  • Paper/hard copy Output Declaration Forms (ODFs) will no longer be accepted as a transaction entry method in the Better Cotton Platform.
  • BCI Retailer and Brands Members will have until 31 March 2020 to manually addBCCUs to their accounts (for ODFs generated before 31 Dec 2019).
  • The annual BCP access fee will be reduced from ‚Ǩ750 to ‚Ǩ500 on 1 June 2019.
  • There will be a 20% promotional discount available for those who sign up for a new BCP account between 1 June – 30 September 2019.

*A BCP non-member supplier is a company that is not a BCI member but has access to the BCP and can transfer BCCUs electronically using a supplier, end-product manufacturer, non-lint trader or sourcing agent account type.

For more information, please visit the BCP homepage.

 

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Contributing to a More Sustainable Way of Doing Fashion: Q&A with Monki

 
This year Monki (a brand of BCI Member Hennes & Mauritz Group) achieved its goal to sustainably source 100% of its cotton. The retailer’s longer-term goalis to source only recycled or other more sustainable materials by 2030.We caught up with Irene Haglund, Sustainability Manager, to talk about their achievement and what is next for the brand.

Monki has achieved its goal to sustainably source 100% of its cotton. Tell us about your journey and your sustainable cotton portfolio.

From using organic cotton, to partnering with organisations like the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), to adhering to our ’no-go’ material list, we are making conscious decisions to help minimise any environmental impact our materials have on the world. With milestones such as our 100% organic denim range launched in summer 2016 to our current goal of100%sustainably sourced cotton, we continuously strive to make the world a kinder place and believe that sustainability is a large part of this.

How have you worked withBCIto communicate Monki’s commitments to Better Cotton in a way that maintains Monki’s tone of voice and resonates with your customers?

BCI has been an essential partner in helping us to communicate our achievement of 100% sustainably sourced cotton. The fun, friendly, brave and empowering ways of our communication together withBCI’s specialist role in sustainability and their deep knowledge of the subject have together resulted in accessible and informative communication that speaks to our customer and community.

What response have your sustainable cotton communications received?

We saw positive engagement and support from our own community in the Monki social media channels as well as keen interest in the topic from international media outlets.It is a great feeling being able to present concrete steps and achievements towards a kinder future for all and the response we receive shows us that we are on the right path.We know thatour customers want something more than just products, and we work actively to have an honest dialogue, to listen and to improve. We love feedback, positive or negative, because this means that our community is committed, engaged and wants to be a part of Monki.

Now that you’ve achieved your 100% goal with regards to sustainable cotton sourcing, what is next for Monki?

Our aim is to source recycled or other more sustainable materials only, by 2030. In the long run it’s a step towards contributing to a more sustainable way of doing fashion. Through various initiatives, such as only using 100% organic cotton on all denim collections, sustainably sourced cotton in all products, and offering garment and textile recycling in all stores and offices, Monki is working towardsbecoming climate positive throughout our entire value chain by 2040.We are continuously re-analysing and adjusting ways to make a difference and to achieve a circular production model. Design,materials, production, garment care and the lifecycle of garments are just a part of this. Other projects include LED lighting in all new stores, reducing non-commercial goods, and paper bags replacing plastic bags.

Visit Monki Cares to find out more about Monki’s sustainability initiatives.

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Contributing to a More Sustainable Way of Doing Fashion: Q&A with Monki

This year, Monki (a brand of BCI Member Hennes & Mauritz Group) achieved its goal to sustainably source 100% of its cotton. The retailer’s longer-term goalis to source only recycled or other more sustainable materials by 2030.We caught up with Irene Haglund, Sustainability Manager, to talk about their achievement and what is next for the brand.

 

Monki has achieved its goal to sustainably source 100% of its cotton. Tell us about your journey and your sustainable cotton portfolio.

From using organic cotton, to partnering with organisations like the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), to adhering to our ’no-go’ material list, we are making conscious decisions to help minimise any environmental impact our materials have on the world. With milestones such as our 100% organic denim range launched in summer 2016 to our current goal of100%sustainably sourced cotton, we continuously strive to make the world a kinder place and believe that sustainability is a large part of this.

 

How have you worked withBCIto communicate Monki’s commitments to Better Cotton in a way that maintains Monki’s tone of voice and resonates with your customers?

BCI has been an essential partner in helping us to communicate our achievement of 100% sustainably sourced cotton. The fun, friendly, brave and empowering ways of our communication together withBCI’s specialist role in sustainability and their deep knowledge of the subject have together resulted in accessible and informative communication that speaks to our customer and community.

 

What response have your sustainable cotton communications received?

We saw positive engagement and support from our own community in the Monki social media channels as well as keen interest in the topic from international media outlets.It is a great feeling being able to present concrete steps and achievements towards a kinder future for all and the response we receive shows us that we are on the right path.We know thatour customers want something more than just products, and we work actively to have an honest dialogue, to listen and to improve. We love feedback, positive or negative, because this means that our community is committed, engaged and wants to be a part of Monki.

 

Now that you’ve achieved your 100% goal with regards to sustainable cotton sourcing, what is next for Monki?

Our aim is to source recycled or other more sustainable materials only, by 2030. In the long run it’s a step towards contributing to a more sustainable way of doing fashion. Through various initiatives, such as only using 100% organic cotton on all denim collections, sustainably sourced cotton in all products, and offering garment and textile recycling in all stores and offices, Monki is working towardsbecoming climate positive throughout our entire value chain by 2040.We are continuously re-analysing and adjusting ways to make a difference and to achieve a circular production model. Design,materials, production, garment care and the lifecycle of garments are just a part of this. Other projects include LED lighting in all new stores, reducing non-commercial goods, and paper bags replacing plastic bags.

 

Visit Monki Cares to find out more about Monki’s sustainability initiatives.

 

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