Founder and Creative Director, Naja Munthe
FOREWORD BY THE FOUNDER
I was raised with the conviction, that privilege and responsibility always go hand in hand. When you receive something – even when it is something as intangible as success, or happiness – you are grateful to give something back.
Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR) is an area that - rightly - is placed highly on the fashion agenda these days. At MUNTHE, CSR is a part of our DNA and is vital to who we are as a company. It is something that is integrated how we work and is one of the key outlines of our strategy.
In 2001, we designed a t-shirt to benefit breast cancer research. Since then, we have been involved in many meaningful projects. From designing an exclusive jacket in collaboration with ELLE and PLAN International, produced by Indian women, with the object of raising money to educate more female seamstresses. To donating the entire revenue from sample/stock sales to The Mothers Aid. Most recently, we designed a t-shirt in organic cotton to commemorate the International Women’s Day. All proceeds went to Danish Women’s Society.
Personally, it is a great honor and pleasure for me to be an active and involved Red Cross Ambassador.
Sustainability thinking and social responsibility is a natural part of everything we do. The first step towards a conscious, sustainable and responsible fashion choice is taken by our designers, at the drawing board. Choosing the most sustainable fabrics, suppliers and the most considerate means of transportation has a real impact on the environment and the people we work with, across our value chain.
At MUNTHE, we are committed to playing our part in meeting the global challenge of climate change, operating as a socially and environmentally responsible business. I am grateful and humble for what we have achieved in the past 25 years, and I look forward to the next 25 years of doing what we love, while developing a business that grows increasingly more sustainable every day.
Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement, nothing can be done without hope and confidence.
Love, Naja Munthe
OUR SUSTAINABILITY AMBITIONS
We are passionate about finding ways to be socially and environmentally responsible in everything we do – from investing in the communities at the heart of our production to creating innovative ways to tackle the most pressing issues faced by our industry.
The cornerstone of our sustainability ambition is that we want to be proud of our products, their quality and how they are made and used.
The ambition is shaped further by our main social, environmental and ethical challenges and especially how we take responsibility for these.
We want to take responsibility for our own employees and the direct environmental impact of our business operations. Many people are affected by - or can influence - the choices we make as a company. When developing our sustainability ambition, we therefore always have our stakeholders in mind. An open dialogue with stakeholders is important to rank social and environmental actions and to continuously develop and improve our sustainability efforts.
OUR FRONT RUNNERS' CRITERIA ARE:
- Sustainable fabrics
- Minimal use of resources and waste
- Respect for people and animal welfare
- Long-lasting design and quality
THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS (SDG)
The sustainable development goals are a new, universal set of goals, targets and indicators that UN member states will be expected to use to frame their agendas and political policies over the next 10 years.
For us, these goals present an opportunity to step up our efforts on sustainability and aspiration of minimizing our environmental impact. We see the SDGs as an opportunity to align our priorities with those that can support global development.
We believe that we first need to understand where we can boost our positive impact and reduce our negative impact on the SDGs. The conclusion is that we mainly impact:
- Goal 5: Gender Equality
- Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
- Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and production
- Goal 15: Life on Land
ACHIEVE GENDER EQUALITY AND EMPOWER ALL WOMEN AND GIRLS
Gender equality is regarded as a prerequisite for economic growth, democracy and welfare, and as the basis for the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms in political, economic, social, cultural and civil spheres of life. When societies treat women and girls fairly, there is less societal conflict and more economic stability!
We believe that a broadly composed employee and management team ensures more nuances and perspectives and provides for a wider spectrum of competences. This increases the quality of our approach to tasks and decision-making and thus benefit our customers. Different experiences and competences boost learning and creativity, which are both strong elements of our culture. Diversity is also about ensuring equal opportunities for all – and to us, diversity comprises gender, age and cultural background.
We support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human and labor rights. We are strongly opposed to any kind of corruption, including extortion and bribery. All suppliers must commit to and sign our Code of Conduct, which is aligned with relevant legislation, international conventions and the ten principles in the UN Global Compact. Furthermore, we expect suppliers to regularly document how they are meeting our requirements.
The fashion industry is widely known to have an impact on young people/girls and their beauty ideals. To be able to spread healthy ideals we need to collaborate throughout the whole industry. For that reason, we embrace and signed an initiative launched by Danish Fashion Ethical Charter to guarantee promoting healthy body images (healthiness checks) salaries, beauty ideals (age and weight) and social responsibility.
Read more here.
CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION
ENSURE ACCESS TO WATER AND SANITATION FOR ALL
One in three people live without sanitation. This is causing unnecessary disease and death. Although huge strides have been made with access to clean drinking water, lack of sanitation is undermining these advances. If we provide affordable equipment and education in hygiene practices, we can stop this senseless suffering and loss of life.
We always strive for long-lasting design – and we strive to offer more products with more sustainable materials. We also strive to find solutions and processes to limit the use of water in fabric and garment manufacturing.
In addition to raw fabrics, production processes such as tanning, dyeing, printing, washing and finishing can also have a lasting effect in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution, water consumption and energy use. We try to take various actions to reduce these impacts depending on the processed material, wanted design and technology used.
We want to enable our customers to take care of the clothes to maintain the quality. The energy and water used for washing and tumble drying represent a big share of the environmental impact of garments. Through our care instructions, we want to motivate our customers to be aware of the impact of their own behavior. We always recommend washing garments at low temperatures, dry cleaning and to avoid tumble drying.
RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION
ENSURE SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION PATTERNS
It is important to remove or substitute chemical substances that are critical in relation to health and environment. We investigate opportunities of circular processes, which can support the brand in terms of material flow and product development.
We focus on textile waste streams and find solutions together with suppliers and subsidiaries for recycling or upcycling of textile waste. We constantly increase the amount of recycled or alternative environmentally friendly raw materials in our textile production – and develop more sustainable solutions without compromising the quality of our products.
We want our customers to value our products. Only by using a product we know what can be done better. Customers claims are always evaluated to learn where we can improve to prevent issues in the future. Because of this strategy, our customer claims rate has steadily decreased in the past years across all our markets. This year our share of customer claims remained at the same low level as last year with a 1,9% claims rate.
If possible, we always repair the clothes at our Headquarter – and send it back.
We want to make sure that all our clothes find a home and we try to sell as much as possible through our stores and sellers. We make every effort to minimize waste, from start to finish and we only produce by orders – and if there are remaining items, they end up in our sample sale or are donated to charity. They are never thrown away!
We design our products with great care and believe that a product that is not sold or used is an enormous waste of the natural resources.
We try to reduce our impact and the risks through the choice of materials in our products, practices in production and our partners in the value chain. But most importantly, we carefully plan our orders and sales to prevent overproduction. Our aim is to not produce more than needed.
For us, that means increasing our purchase precision and ordering long-lasting products of quality, style and value, as well as enabling our products a second life, for example through Luxury vintage and secondhand stores.
We strive to build long-term relationships with our suppliers, and we aim for long-term and rewarding relationships, based on mutual trust. We like to work with few suppliers that contribute to good quality, responsible development and dialogue.
To ensure we all work towards common goals, we follow the performance of our suppliers in the above-mentioned areas very closely. We conduct continuous assessments of their performance. We make visits to our suppliers' production, as well as to some of their essential sub-suppliers, so we can create the best action plan, dialogue and follow the development very closely.
Before we enter into a partnership with new suppliers, they must sign a document where they commit to effectuate our Code of Conduct, which contains the principles of the UN Global Compact, as well as essential international guidelines and law. These include freedom of association, no forced labor, legal compliance, no child labor, non-discrimination, health and safety in the workplace, conditions of employment and work, anti-corruption and a responsible environmental point of view.
Air travel is now one of the fastest-growing contributors to climate change. This means that choosing not to fly is a powerful pro-environmental action that helps you shrink your carbon footprint.
We aim to manage distribution of deliveries to customers in the most environmental efficient way. This means that we strive to have full loads of trains and ship as well as look into geographical delivery to create the most effective routes. We primarily use transport services from logistics and transportation suppliers who actively work with their CSR activities and environmental impact.
We constantly strive to optimize the transportation efficiency of our products with the aim to decrease the company’s CO2 emissions.
We work to reduce carbon emissions by consolidating the transport of our goods and selecting less carbon intense modes of transport. Therefore, we have substituted 68% of our transport from aircraft – to rail and sea, which will help preserve the environment throughout the world.
LIFE ON LAND
SUSTAINABLY MANAGE FORESTS, COMBAT DESERTIFICATION, STOP AND REVERSE LAND DEGRADATION, STOP BIODIVERSITY LOSS
Biodiversity – the variety of life on Earth – makes our planet habitable and beautiful. Many of us look to the natural environment for pleasure, inspiration or recreation. We also depend on it for food, energy, raw materials, air and water – the elements that make life as we know it possible and drive our economies. Yet despite its unique value, we often take nature for granted.
A major part of our sustainability ambition is geared towards the design and production of our products. We enable long term product use through high quality standards and reuse and recycling of materials.
Our suppliers also adhere to our strict requirements for quality and substance - and together, we continuously look for sustainable production or substance alternatives to further reduce our environmental impact.
RETHINKING OUR MATERIALS
There is a limited amount of raw materials available worldwide, and therefore, it is our responsibility to study innovations that reduce the use of raw materials and develop processes where recycled materials can substitute virgin materials. As a brand with strong focus on high quality, we also meet the demand of resource efficiency by creating materials with a long lifespan and, in the long run, have less impact on the environment.
Using the best raw materials is our starting point. Reflecting this, almost 75% of the textiles in our collection are made from recycled cotton, organic cotton, EcoVero viscose and recycled polyester. We are aware of the environmental impact of our products and the risks concerning chemical substances, waste, wastewater, scarce resources and quality. Hence, we are continuously looking into how to operate even more sustainable and collaborate with suppliers to ensure the most environmental responsible approach to production.
We use organic cotton for all our cotton t-shirts. Organic cotton is grown without toxic chemicals. Therefore, organic cotton is better for the ecosystem. It causes less soil and water pollution and health problems for the farmers, manufacturers and consumers. No toxic chemicals are used in the growing of organic cotton. It doesn’t damage the soil, has less impact on the air and uses 71% less water and 62% less energy than conventional cotton. Read more here.
Recycled cotton is made of pre-consumer waste, leftover cotton from cutting rooms, non-used yarns or unsold items. The leftover fabric is cut up in small pieces, then carded and spun again. The advantage of recycled cotton is less waste as there is no use of virgin raw material. Read more here.
Polyester is an oil-based synthetic fiber. It does not wrinkle and keeps its shape well. Polyester does not require as much water, energy and chemicals to be produced as many other common fibers, but recycled polyester takes less energy to make than virgin polyester and helps to divert plastic bottles from ending up in a landfill.
We will reduce the impact of virgin polyester by increasing our use of recycled polyester made from waste products and we will continue to work more with this material.
EcoVero fibers comes from pulp which is derived from renewable wood. EcoVero viscose generates up to 50% lower emission and water impact compared to generic viscose. Read more here.
LEATHER & FUR
We don’t accept the use of animal fur or skins from exotic and endangered spicies in our products under any circumstances!
Instead we have decided to use alternative materials to fur – and we are embracing faux fur with a passion, elevating both design standards and materials.
When we do use leather, it is always from domestic animals. Our leather manufacturer is certified with LWG which stands for “Leather Working Group”. The objective of this multi-stakeholder group is to develop and maintain a protocol that assesses the environmental compliance and performance capabilities of tanners - and promotes sustainable and appropriate environmental business practices within the leather industry. Read more here.
Recycled cashmere is not identical to new cashmere. We collect old cashmere garments and break them down. This normally weakens the yarns making them more susceptible to breakage and pilling, but to tackle this problem we worked with an Italian mill to spin the recycled cashmere with extra-fine merino wool.
We use as little packaging materials as possible and ALL our packaging is made from materials that can be recycled. In our MUNTHE stores we only use paper bags or reusable cotton tote bags. We care about the environment and we think our customers do too.
We only use FSC-certified produced boxes and recycled paper bags. FSC is a global not-for-profit organization that sets the standards for what is a responsibly managed forest, both environmentally and socially. When timber leaves an FSC-certified forest they ensure companies along the supply chain meet our best practice standards also. So that when a product bears the FSC logo, you can be sure it’s been made from responsible sources. Even our hangtags are made from recycled FSC certified paper, recycled plastic and polyester. Read more here.
Our clear plastic packing bags are manufactured from recycled material and help protect our products whilst having a lower environmental impact. Both the waste and the use of raw materials can be reduced – and it’s also cuts greenhouse gas emissions and helps to promote the fully recyclable economy philosophy.
Our goal is to run a business that is sustainable in the long term. To do this, we need to embrace a holistic view of the company and the ecosystem that it sits within.
We have appointed an internal audit team of employees, who are deeply committed to the work with our quality and environmental management system. We try to challenge ourselves and the fashion industry in different ways by participating in various projects and networks, as well as attending seminars and conferences.
At the company level, we work proactively to minimize risk of health-related problems, both physical and psychological. When needed, we cooperate with health care centers to enable an early action/rehabilitation plan in order to help the employee to come back to work as soon as possible.
We continuously monitor our resource consumption and instruct new employees in environmentally conscious behavior, such as sorting waste and considering the use of paper - and all light at our office has been changed to LED, which contribute to approximately 50-75% reduction in energy compared to conventional light.
In our kitchen, which is painted with organic paint, we do not only focus on green and healthy food, we also focus on the environmental mark. Therefore, around 95% of the food our staff and guests consume, as well as all paper towels and cleaning products are organic.
Furthermore, we have a constant focus on reducing our CO2 emissions when it comes to travelLing. Video conferences are used to a wide extent, which means that travel by car or flight can be omitted.