SUSTAINABILITY REPORT 2020

A Denim Experience

At MUD Jeans we do things differently. We strive to lead by example and find an alternative to the fast fashion status quo. By taking the most beloved piece in your wardrobe - your jeans - and making them sustainable and circular, we believe we can revolutionize the fashion industry. MUD Jeans is grounded on a circular business model, meaning that the entire business, and how we manufacture our product, is focused on eliminating waste and centring on positive society-wide benefits. The outcome is a beautiful high-quality product, with minimal environmental impact, and a positive community effect.


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Our Mission and Strategy

Our mission is for the fashion industry to be driven by circular production and conscious consumption. We pioneer with jeans, by taking positive action, being transparent and supporting sufficiency.

We believe that being mindful of nature and people is a necessity. We see a future in which our fashion industry finds a way of producing and consuming that does not stand in the way of our enjoyment nor that of future generations.

To radically change the fashion industry, we need a strategy. Ours is based on 3 pillars:


Circular Economy ↓  

For us, the sky is not the limit. We are always busy improving our products and making them more sustainable both socially and environmentally. Our ultimate goal is to make our products 100% circular.

Fair Factories ↓  

Mr. Habib Ben Mansour, the owner of our garment factory and laundry Yousstex International, likes to say that we make noble products and we 100% agree with this. By producing consciously, we can directly create a safer and healthier working environment for our colleagues in the factories.

Positive Acitivsm ↓  

Through our pioneering approach we are changing the status quo within the fashion industry. With a smile on our face, we tell you how our innovative production techniques will change the world for the better. By doing this, we inspire others to start walking the talk. With other brands joining us we can turn this walk into a march.

We pioneer with jeans by taking positive action, being transparent and supporting sufficiency.

In a nutshell

MUD Jeans Strives for continuous improvement. Through our three pillar strategy we have achieved exciting outcomes in 2020.

  • 14 employees
  • 8 different nationalities in Team MUD
  • 71% of Team MUD are women
  • Headquarters is based in Laren, the Netherlands
  • B Corp, using business as a force for good
  • Carbon Positive   
  • 45,000 jeans sold in 2020
  • 100% of MUD Jeans are produced by Yousstex International
  • Our jeans are sold in 250 stores in over 26 countries

A proud B Corp

In 2020 we completed our reassessment, hitting 124.7 points. With this new score, we are one of the top 5 B Corps in the Benelux region.

Stakeholders

We work hard to foster strong relationships with all our stakeholders who share our values and vision for the fashion industry. With customers, we make sure to always be in contact via mail, social media, blog, newsletters, and events. We make sure to provide our retailers with options that reflect their needs and don’t encourage overpurchasing. With our supply chain partners, we work collectively to create a better fashion industry.

Awards

  • Vegan PETA award - 2015
  • B Corporation Best for the World Environment Honoree - 2018
  • Sustainability Leaders Awards - 2015
  • Change in business Award - 2013
  • Circle Challenge by Circle Economy - 2013
  • Nominated Koning Willem I Plaquette - 2018
  • Finalist at Circular Awards - 2020
  • B Corp- BIA Improvement Award - 2020
  • ABN AMRO Sustainable Retailer of the Year – 2020

Our Partners

Circular Economy


Recycle ↓  

All good things must end, they say. Not for MUD Jeans. The life of a MUD Jeans never ends it just restarts. When the jeans are no longer in good condition they are sent to recycle. In this process the jeans are shredded into fibres and remixed with fresh organic cotton in order make new yarns. And so, the cycle begins again.


Upcycle ↓  

The elimination of waste is a key component of a circular business. MUD Jeans takes responsibility over the end of life of its jeans and prevents them turning into waste. When the jeans are returned to MUD Jeans, we review them to check their condition. As the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Therefore, jeans that are still in good condition are washed and mended and sold as vintage. Once again, it’s all about extending the life of our product.


Circular Design ↓  

Design is how you control how the product is made, how it lives but also how it dies (dramatic I know!). To be a circular brand, you need to think of all of these stages. After all, you want a high-quality pair of jeans, that lives a long time, but that can also be easily recycled and reincorporated into production. At MUD Jeans we do this by keeping it simple. We work with 10 different fabrics, one button, one rivet. We have substituted the leather patch with a non-toxic printed-on version. There are two fabric compositions available, the rigid which is made with 40% post-consumer recycled cotton and 60% GOTS certified cotton, and our stretch which is made from 23% post-consumer recycled cotton, 2% elastane and 75% GOTS certified cotton.


Repair ↓ 

All of our customers are given access to a free repair service during the first 12 months of their lease or purchase. Through this approach, we encourage our customers to value and take care of their jeans. A simple repair can extend the life of the product by a few month,s or even years. This has a tremendous positive environmental impact, as it conserves the original energy that went into making the product in the first place.



Production ↓  

We maintain a very small supply chain. We work with 5 main supply chain partners. By having a small group of partners, we can foster better collaboration and innovation. It also gives us greater control over the making of our jeans. With a short supply chain, we know exactly who is making out jeans, and how and under what conditions they are being produced.


Lease A Jeans ↓  

MUD Jeans is unique for its Lease a Jeans model. Our customer can lease a pair of jeans for 12 months for €9.95 per month. At the end of lease, they are encouraged to send back their old jeans and start a new one should they wish to. Through this model our customers are able to enjoy the experience of owning a new pair of jeans, without the environmental anxiety. As a brand it gives us the opportunity to take responsibility over the end of life of our product. Purchasing a pair of jeans in full is of course an option. Both leasers and buyers are given a discount when they return an old pair of jeans with their new purchase.

Our Sustainability Journey


Transparency & Traceability  

  • Raw Material:  GOTS Certified Cotton, Turkey
  • Recycled Fibre:  Recover, Spain
  • Yarn:  Ferre, Spain
  • Fabric:  Tejidos Royo, Spain
  • Fabric: Orta, Turkey (2020) | Bossa, Turkey (2021)*
  • Stitching & Laundry:  Yousstex International, Tunesia
  • Sewing Yarns: Cucirini RAMA, Italy
  • Cotton Labels:  IBRODET, Tunisia (2020) | Odeo, Tunisia (2021)
  • Buttons & Rivets:  PRYM, Italy (2020) | BERNING, Tunisia (2021)

Material Transparency

Fabric Sources ↓  

100% of all our styles are circular. The journey of a pair of MUD Jeans starts with a cotton bulb in Turkey. This cotton travels to Spain and is blended with recycled fibre that is produced in Recover. Ferre, spins these fibres together to make a new yarn. The yarn is taken to Tejidos Royo where its dyed and woven into a fabric. This is the fabric process for 92% of all our jeans. 7% is produced in Orta. The story is much the same, the only difference is its location. The cotton, the spinning and weaving all takes place in Turkey. All fabrics travel to Yousstex International where they are transformed into individual pairs of jeans.

Fabric Components ↓  

99% of our fabrics use GOTS Certified Organic Cotton and GRS Certified Recycled Cotton. We use top sustainable and high-quality products. Our focus is keeping the use of materials monogamous to cotton (or other cellulose based fibres).  This ensures that our jeans can easily be recycled and reincorporated into production. In 2020 our total production consisted of 72% organic cotton and 27% recycled cotton. We had some styles with a small amount of Tencel, but this was less than 1%. The final 1% is the use of elastane to make some of our jeans stretchy. “Working with recycled cotton is not easy, but we push limits and demonstrate that it can be done. 99% of our jeans contain recycled content, 28% of which are made with 40% post-consumer cotton”

Material Health & Responsible Chemistry

The materials that are used in the making of a product shape greatly the impact that is has on people and the planet. There is always a choice in the materials that are used. At MUD Jeans we carefully select materials that are non-toxic, natural, and sustainably produced.
As a small brand, we rely on certificates to help us ensure that the above-mentioned standards are met. We know that the world of certificates is a labyrinth so here is an overview of the certificates we use and what they stand for.


What’s in our packaging?

Much like our jeans, we keep our packaging simple and sustainable. The cardboard used for our packaging is FSC certified and contains 72% recycled content. We say no to waste and all things plastic. Thanks to the state-of-the-art facilities of our logistics partner, all jeans are boxed based on size. Upon opening your MUD Jeans delivery, you will find only the essentials, your jeans, and relevant documents.

Zero Waste

Through our circular model, MUD Jeans eliminates the creation of waste. As a brand, we take responsibility over the end of life of our product. We can make sure that our old jeans come back to us for recycling through our Lease a Jeans Model, which ensures the continuous use of our valuable raw materials. We aim to conduct a business that respects natural resources and functions within the boundaries of the planet.

MUD Jeans customers participate in our circular business by sending us their old jeans for recycling. We  don’t only accept pre-loved MUD Jeans, but also other brands, as long as they are 96% cotton.

The Impact of our Jeans

As seen in the transparency and traceability section of this report, many people and locations are involved in the making of a pair of MUD Jeans. This can make it tricky to count and calculate the impact of production, and of the whole brand. Impact calculations are commonly split into 3 sections: Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3.  Scope 1 emissions are those that come directly from activities owned or controlled by the organization, such as own generator or car transportation. Scope 2 emissions are indirect, from purchased energy such as heating and electricity. Scope 3 are indirect emissions that take place at third party locations of businesses and services we have purchased, such as the making of the jeans, and the delivery service.

 

At MUD Jeans, we offset our impact across all three scopes. With the help from the One Carbon World grant we refreshed our calculations to reflect our current business structure. We are a small company, and so most of the impact is in scope 3.

Water

On average a pair of MUD Jeans uses 477 L of Water (2020 LCA).

Between 2019 and 2020 we have reduced our average water impact by 18%.

Industry standard uses 7000 L to make a pair of jeans. Compared with this, a pair of MUD Jeans conserves 93% of water.

In 2020 we conserved 292 million litres of water.

In the past 5 years, that has accumulated to 826 million litres of water. The equivalent of 330 Olympic size swimming pools.

CO2

On average a pair of MUD Jeans uses 6,10 Kg of Co2e (2020 LCA).

Between 2019 and 2020 we have reduced our average water impact by 15%

Industry Standard uses 23,45 kg of Co2e to make a pair of jeans. Compared to this value a pair of MUD Jeans avoids 74% of Co2 consumption.

One of the biggest drivers of Co2 impact is energy consumption. Our supply chain partners show true initiative in this area. Ferre uses 100% renewable energy in its production and Tejidos Royo is energy self-sufficient through its co-generation station.

MUD Jeans has been carbon neutral since 2016 across scopes 1,2 and 3. In 2020 we became carbon positive! This means that we offset more CO2 than the amount that we produced as a company. We have credited 300 tons of additional carbon offset credits.

Biodiversity

Humanity and life on this planet depend on a harmony of ecosystems that are built from the interaction of different living things.

Biodiversity measures the variety of life on our plant. From bees to whales, and pollen to algae. Good biodiversity means healthy ecosystems, and a healthy planet.

MUD Jeans developed its own biodiversity variable. We are one of the only denim brands in the world to measure our impact in this way.

On average a pair of MUD Jeans affects  0,451 species a year.

Our impact is 51% lower than industry standard.

Since 2019 we have reduced our biodiversity impact by 5%.

It takes two to tango

In the one year lifespan of a pair of MUD Jeans, each customer can contribute 15-75%  to the Co2 impact of their jeans. How you take care of your clothes matters.

The Road to 100 Project is all about pushing the limits of circular denim. The aim of the project is to make a pair of jeans that is 100% made from post-consumer recycled cotton. The outcome of this project would allow us to make jeans with no new cotton and with the continuous use of materials. That’s a big circular step!

SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

We stand for fair, safe and healthy working conditions for all the people involved in the making of MUD Jeans. This is mandated by our code of conduct and ensured by a transparent supply chain and third-party audits

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

Circularity is at the core of our business model, shaping the way we design produce and interact with our customer.

SDG 13: Climate Action

We have made a public declaration of climate emergency and made a public commitment to Net Zero. MUD Jeans takes climate action by measuring its impact, continuously working to reduce it, and supporting climate positive action.

SDG 14: Life Below Water

MUD Jeans are produced using innovative water conservation techniques, which not only recycle but clean the water. From cotton to jeans, no toxic chemicals are used.

SDG 15: Life on Land

The materials we use, our production techniques, and packaging are designed to minimize out impact on ecosystems and biodiversity. We have measured our impact and have set targets to further reduce it in the future.

Setting New Circularity Goals

Above is an overview of our ongoing goals. Through this revision and across this report we have also identified a few additional ones for 2021:

  • Develop a MUD Jeans chemical policy
  • Begin to measure other areas of waste within our supply chain and find solutions
  • Support Yousstex International in implementing renewable energy in their production
  • Plant 10,000 trees with Justdiggit

People & Factories

MUD Jeans takes responsibility over all the people that are involved in the making of our jeans. Therefore, every material decision we make and supply chain partner we choose is focused on ensuring that they reflect our values of transparency, equality, fair wages, and safe working conditions.

Labor Rights

Labor rights are both the legal rights and human rights of workers.

Labor rights are very important as they ensure that employees are treated correctly at work and that their rights are protected.

These rights ensure that as an employee you can say no to work you don’t want to do, that there is limit to the number of hours you are expected to work, and should you want to, you can unite with your colleagues and together bargain for improvements and change from your employer.  For MUD Jeans, the freedom and respect of all employees is paramount. We work hard to have full transparency of our supply chain in order to ensure that everyone involved in the making of MUD Jeans is respected.

MUD Jeans Code of Conduct 1.2.1 “Workers, without distinction, shall have the right to join or form trade unions of their own choosing and to bargain collectively. The employer shall not interfere with, or obstruct, the formation of unions or collective bargaining.” ILO Conventions No. 87, No. 98, No. 135 and No. 154

Working Environment

Everyone is entitled to a safe working environment.

Safety at work relates to the building you work in, to the tools you use, as well as the environment, conditions, and people you are exposed to. It is about respecting the value of life of every individual, and the value of their work. Therefore, as a business we want to make sure everyone involved in the making of MUD Jeans has their health and safety prioritized.

MUD Jeans Code of Conduct 1.6.2 “The working environment shall be safe and hygienic, bearing in mind the prevailing knowledge of the industry and of any specific hazards. Hazardous chemicals and other substances shall be carefully managed. Adequate steps shall be taken to prevent accidents and injury to health arising out of, associated with, or occurring in, the course of work, by minimising, so far as is reasonably practicable, the causes of hazards inherent in the working environment.”

Fair Wages

We pay the true cost of materials and services to ensure that the people behind our product receive a fair wage.

As you go down the supply chain, ensuring this can be tricky particularly for raw materials such as cotton. MUD Jeans has specifically chosen to only use virgin cotton that is GOTS Certified. GOTS unlike other certificates, ensures that the farmers are treated well and are paid fair wages.

MUD Jeans Code of Conduct 1.7 “Wages and benefits paid for a standard working week shall as minimum meet national legal standards or industry benchmark standards, whichever is higher. Wages should always be enough to meet basic needs, including some discretionary income.” ILO Convention No. 131

Equality

Equality is about ensuring that everyone is treated as equal, regardless of their race, gender, or age.

At MUD Jeans we are strong supporters of this notion and though our Code of Conduct we ask our suppliers to follow it too:

MUD Jeans Code of Conduct 1.4 “There shall be no discrimination at the workplace in hiring, compensation, access to training, promotion, termination or retirement based on ethnic background, religion, age, disability, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, union membership or political affiliation.” ILO Conventions No. 100 and No.111 and the UN Convention on Discrimination Against Women

With women making up 80% of the garment workforce, we want to ensure that they are being given equal opportunity and treatment.

At Yousstex International, men and women are paid equally. Distinction in salary is based on job/ position in the factory.

Ethical Production

Our Code of Conduct is reinforced by third party audits that each one of our supply chain partners go through individually. RECOVER, Ferrer and Tejidos Royo are based in Spain where they follow and are regulated against EU labor law. They are GRS Certified, verifying their responsible social, environmental, and chemical practices in production. They are certified to the UN Global Compact, a UN initiative working to advance labor rights, the environment and anti-corruption in the business world. Finally, all three are members of the BSCI, a membership that requires an audit covering chemical management, social responsibility, and safety at work.

Orta recently completed both social and environmental audits with Everlane, as well as the Levi’s TOE social audit.

Yousstex International completed an audit with the Social Labour Convergence Programme (SLCP) in 2020. It additionally went through a full IWAY audit which covers environmental, social, and working conditions. In 2021 Yousstex will be GOTS Certified.

Our supplier Yousstex International makes us extra proud. They have set up a free school in their factory for employees aged 16-20 years. These young employees are given the opportunity to work 16-hour weeks and spend the rest of their time taking classes in language, maths, and textile practical studies. Once courses are completed, students receive a professional qualification diploma.

MUD Jeans Purchasing Practices  

MUD Jeans promotes slow fashion through its cross-seasonal collection and timeless denim design. MUD places orders based on a NOOS (Never out of stock) strategy. This consists of making monthly orders based on an analysis of demand for each style. With this approach, we prevent waste from unwanted stock and  foster a continuous long-term working relationship with our supply chain partners with transparent pricing and comfortable production timelines. Over time, this has created great trust between all partners.

Orta recently completed both social and environmental audits with Everlane, as well as the Levi’s TOE social audit.

Yousstex International completed an audit with the Social Labour Convergence Programme (SLCP) in 2020. It additionally went through a full IWAY audit which covers environmental, social, and working conditions. In 2021 Yousstex will be GOTS Certified.

People

B Corps are businesses that balance purpose and profit. Unlike standard businesses they hold a responsibility to their shareholders, which include employees, customers, suppliers, the community, and the environment. As a proud B Corp, MUD Jeans puts people at the centre of its business and carefully analyses the impact of its decisions on its shareholders. In 2020, we stood by these values by remaining in solidarity with our supply chain partners and supporting our employees by doing our best to secure their jobs and occasionally pamper them with uplifting gifts. We are not perfect, but we are always trying to do and be better for our people.

People & Planet

Human rights and the rights of nature are interconnected. MUD Jeans has a strong understanding that the fight against climate change is a fight to protect humanity and human rights. Only with a healthy planet can we continue to have access to food, water, and shelter (all basic human rights). And while we are small, we hope that our circular jeans with minimal environmental impact inspire others to do the same.


Diversity & Inclusion  

During the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 many of us did some serious reflecting, including MUD Jeans. We realized that being anti-racist was just not good enough. We wanted to approach this topic with humility, and so we joined a B Corp working group focused on pro-inclusion and anti-racism. Here the objective was to reflect, be vulnerable and learn something new.

 

Our first commitment, is to make this section on diversity and inclusion permanent in all our future sustainability reports. Here we vow to continuously reflect on our efforts and gaps in building a more just, equal, and inclusive brand. We vow to make diversity and inclusion a continuous conversation.

Setting New Social Goals

Above is an overview of our ongoing goals. Through this revision and across this report we have also identified a few additional ones for 2021:

  • Increase our intake of data on diversity and inclusion
  • Incorporate diversity more in our marketing decisions
  • Bring more information on diversity to our team
  • In future Sustainability Report we track and review progress on diversity and inclusion

Positive Activism

We love our planet and want future generations to enjoy this planet too. That’s why we generate a positive impact by pioneering with our jeans, by changing the status-quo of the fashion industry and by empowering other businesses and consumers to become circular. We do this by being transparent, by sharing knowledge and by giving consumers the tools to make the change. Our social media channels are important in getting these stories across.

Our communication channels, and numbers of followers:

  • Instagram   50k
  • Twitter   16k
  • Facebook   16k
  • LinkedIn   6k
  • Ambassador Program   1k

Speaking events (a summary):

  • Eye 2020 Webinar
  • Circular Design webinar
  • HVA webinar
  • Dus Wat Gaan We Doen online festival
  • Green Is The New Black live event
  • Duurzame Week online festival
  • Circular Economy Forum
  • IKEA Annual Meeting
  • Nyenrode University Events

Statement campaigns:

  • Fashion Revolution Week
  • Turning Black Friday Blue
  • World Water Day
  • ISaved Sustainability Report 2019
  • Net Zero Campaign B Corp

Webinars ↓ 

  • Monthly Student Webinar
  • Sustainability Report Webinar
  • B Together B Corp Webinars

Go Circular Podcast ↓

Edutainment is 100% MUD Jeans. Enjoying the learning process is key in making change in this world. It should be fun. Therefore, we launched Go Circular, a podcast series discussing environmental and circular topics in accessible conversations between Laura Vicaria our CSR Manager and interesting guests

Co-activate

We know we’re not going to change the world by ourselves. That’s why we partnered up with several other disruptors, B Corps and environmental and social companies to share our overlapping philosophies to each other’s audience.

Changing the Fashion Industry

We joined and launched several initiatives to make an impact in the fashion industry. Achieving a more sustainable future will especially happen if we exchange knowledge and stand up together.

  • Jeans Redesign

  • Denim Deal

  • Road to 100

  • Switching Gear Network

  • Textile Exchange

  • Green Deal

  • Double VAT

  • BVM


“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you wan to go far, go together.” - African Proverb



Inclusivity & Diversity

In 2020, every brand understands the importance of being more diverse and inclusive. At MUD Jeans, we know we can make progress and be more diverse.

To be clear about the definition, diversity means the difference within a group of people. That difference can be gender, sexuality, disability, body image. Inclusion is about different identities feeling being valued, leveraged, and welcomed within a given setting.

Our aim is to make diverse and inclusive content. Making content that resonates with our audience so that our they see themselves in our content. This asks for more than an image. It requires thinking more deeply, doing research, understanding different perspectives and pain points.

We aim to be more diverse in our image choices and models we are displaying. And we are currently conducting research (interviews and podcasts) to better understand the desires of our diverse community.

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