People, Planet and Profit: how did we do in our first year? – VILDNIS

People, Planet and Profit: how did we do in our first year?


VILDNIS reached a milestone in May – our first birthday – and with that, it was time to take stock of how we are doing in terms of living up to our promise of being an ethical and environmentally friendly brand.  And we have done pretty well, if we may say so ourselves!

As opposed to a traditional business measuring its success on profit only, VILDNIS operates with a triple bottom line, meaning that we measure our success on three areas: people, planet and profit.

Earlier this month, we published a report showing our progress on our long and short-term goals in all three areas. Follow this link to the full report. Below are some of the highlights:

Social impact (people)

At the end of the first year, we worked with two manufacturers; one in Portugal and one in India. Both factories signed our ethical code of conduct and we are happy to report that all workers are being paid a fair living wage and have good working conditions. The Indian factory holds both the Sedex and SA8000 certification, and the Portuguese factory is at the very last stage of the Sedex certification.

Animal welfare is a high priority of ours, and none of the VILDNIS collections so far have contained fabrics made from animal fibres. We do, however, believe that it is possible to use some animal fibres in fashion without harming doing harm, which is why we are selling DEADWOOD leather jackets made from recycled vintage materials on our website.

Environmental impact (planet)

Across the first three collections, 95.88% of our styles’ main fabrics and 100% of their lining fabrics were ranked A or B, the most environmentally friendly fibres, according to MADE-BY.orgs categorisation. The majority of the fibres we used were either GOTS, OCS or GRS certified or branded. A few local yarns were un-certified, and we hold documentation from the fabric mills that they were organic.

All prints were digitally printed, saving both water and energy in the process. Equally, the denim items in our latest collection were finished using G2 (wash), E-flow (softening) and lazer (worn look) technology, saving more than 200 litres of water garment!

The majority of our labelling and packaging was made from recycled materials and we met our short-term goal in this area as well with the exception of a few cardboard cartons that were made of virgin material and recycled later.

Out of 67 products, 6 products were shipped by air and hence we did not meet our target of shipping everything by road or sea. Instead we offset 2 tonnes of CO2 through CLIMATECARE.

One of our biggest was the returns from customers. We had set ourselves a target of 30% returns, and this was exceeded in the first season at 34%. Through changing our sizing slightly, we managed to reach a more reasonable level at 28%. While all of our couriers have an environmental policy and 50% are carbon neutral, return journeys are still a challenge in terms of pollution.

Economic impact

Leading up to and during the first year, we provided work for seven freelancers on a regular basis, helping them to grow their business in turn.

Through operating with a low profit margin, we managed to keep the retail prices at a mid-market level and offer the customer good value for money while paying our suppliers fair cost prices.

Instead of participating in world-wide promotion campaigns such as Black Friday, which primary goal is to encourage overconsumption, we stayed full price and instead donated the profits of our sales during that weekend to the charity Friends of the Earth.

 

Having a supply base who really wants to work with us and shares our values has enabled us to meet the majority of our targets, and we are particularly proud of our achievements when it comes to treating the workers in the supply chain ethically, doing no harm to animals and using environmentally friendly materials.

The areas where we didn’t meet our short-term targets were on the recycling policy of one of the factories, the shipping method and to some extent the number of returns from customers. We will focus our attention on these areas over the coming months.

There is still some way to go before we reach all of our long-term goals. We are however confident that we will meet them within a foreseeable future given the progress we have made in our first year.

Thank you for supporting us and our mission to make sustainable fashion the norm!

Ulla


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