In the MGU Sydney office, our daily routine is accompanied by our our doggie mascot: Frankie, Elena’s miniature daschund. One of the endearing things about Frankie is that she has attitude. Sure, she is a little dog and the difference between ‘sit’ and her standing isn’t huge, but her smallness never gets in the way of Frankie making her presence felt in the world. She is a little dog who thinks she is as big as a Saint Bernard.
And this is how we think of MGU and our responsibility to the planet and the people who make our undies – we may be small (for now) but that is no excuse to back away from tackling the big issues, in the same way as the big fashion players.
Recent figures show a mix bag of progress in the industry. While half of the companies assessed in the latest “Pulse of the Industry” report had made some progress, only about 3% (by value) of the market could be considered as ‘sustainability champions’. Worryingly, the report notes, the other half of the industry had take no action at all on its sustainability or ethical responsibilities .
In March this year, the CEOs of the largest fashion companies got together and published a ‘CEO Agenda’ to set out how to move forward from this situation. The full agenda (found here) focuses on the principles of transparency, efficient use of resources, respectful, secure work paid a living wage, sustainable materials, close looped systems, and adaptation to automation in supply chains.
As metaphorical daschunds, believing we are Saint Bernard’s, we think we have equal responsibility for moving the industry forward, and have been inspired to release our own ambitious sustainability agenda: A Mighty Good Place.
A Mighty Good Place is about contributing to our ‘place’ in the world where people and planet thrive. We thrive. And you, our customer, our community, thrives.
Our Mighty Good Place agenda is not about being perfect – indeed we use the motto ‘don’t let the perfect get in the way of the good’ – but it is about setting ambitious targets, having intermediate steps in place, and having a date to aim towards.
You already know we only source cotton from certified organic and Fairtrade supply chains – which is the strongest start we could have in delivering sustainable and ethically made undies. In our “Mighty Good Place” we establish goals we want to achieve over the next few years to get us to the cutting edge of sustainable fashion and beyond. The central pillars our agenda are:
1. Swap virgin elastane in fabric and waistband for recycled/biodegreable soruces of ‘stretchiness’.
Micro-plastics synthetics fabrics are screwing up our ocean, and landfill is a waste of resources. Our vision is to remove any source of micro-plastic damage from our products and enable our customers to compost our undies after they are done with them!
2. Introduce low/zero waste activities in product design and construction.
Twenty-five percentage of all textile waste is generated in production. We want to minimise fabric waste created in the factory, and use any for a creative purpose. We also aim to develop new products designed to generate no fabric waste at all.
3. Become certified carbon neutral.
Climate change is the biggest issue facing us all. We already use organic cotton farming, renewable energy, carbon offsets and carbon neutral transport in getting our undies to our customers – all of which help. Our vision is to plug the ‘carbon’ gaps in our operations to ensure we are doing all we can.
Then we have some other targets around transparency, measuring our resource use and using sustainable materials – things we think should be standard business practices for everyone in our industry.
Our plan is ambitious, and will be a challenge to achieve in our small team. Hey, we may not even achieve them all in 2 years. But if we don’t aim for the stars, how on earth are we going to fly like angels?
We’d love you to get involved too. Tell us what you think of our ‘A Mighty Good Place” agenda, and fill out our survey on the issues that are important to you. Tell your friends about what we are doing and ask your favourite fashion brands why aren’t they following suit.
After all, creating a mighty good place for people and planet is all of our responsibility.
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