Our place in the global fashion industry may be a very small one, however, it is a very important part of our ethos that Andorwith is doing everything possible to continuously improve the social, ethical and environmental effects of the industry.
This is a summary of the actions and steps we have undertaken to ensure all of our clothes are sustainably driven and ethically manufactured.
1. What makes you a sustainable brand?
Our ultimate goal is for every Andorwith product to contain sustainably sourced and made materials. These are some of our current initiatives:
As surfers ourselves, we are innately aware of the pristine beauty of our ocean environments, however humankind’s reliance on plastic is becoming a catastrophic problem and thus we are conscious that we need to stop our consumption of single use plastic in particular and refrain, reduce and reuse such materials.
All of our board shorts are made from 100% recycled polyester, something we are very proud of.
Each board short contains 8 post-consumer plastic bottles which would normally find its way into landfill or into our ocean environments. Unlike polyester, recycled polyester uses PET as the raw material. This is the same clear material that is used in plastic water and soft drink bottles etc.
This process of converting PET into recycled polyester requires 35-53% less energy than virgin polyester. Using more recycled polyester reduces our reliance on petroleum and using such PET plastic from drink bottles reduces landfill and ocean waste which means less soil contamination, air and water pollution.
We are always looking at improving our impact on the environment, by constantly researching and developing products with more sustainable materials.
In 2020, we have released a Polar fleece snap pullover- it too is made from recycled polyester. We are also currently testing the use of hemp as a textile for our t-shirts. We see hemp as the ultimate sustainable material as it is 100% organic and renewable type of fibre. So watch this space.
The use of sustainable cotton is also a large goal, however the cotton industry still has a long way to go to achieve this.
Australian cotton is used in 50% of our products.
Australian cotton farmers claim to be the most efficient in the world, achieving in the last 10 years a 40% increase in their water productivity and 90% decrease in the use of pesticides.
We are now collaborating directly with the Cotton Australia industry body to educate ourselves, as well as to track their progress in achieving their goal of becoming the producer and supplier of the most environmentally and socially responsible cotton in the world.
Traceable GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) licensed organic cotton is used in approximately 25% of our products.
Organic cotton is grown without toxic chemicals, using growing systems that replenish and maintain soil fertility while using less water. The main benefit of an organic cotton product is that crops aren’t treated with pesticides, insecticides, herbicides or genetic modifications. These toxins are harmful for farmers and workers, us as consumers, and entire wildlife ecosystems.
Ultimately, organic cotton is the most sustainable product and therefore our preferred material. We hope one day all of our cotton products are made using organic production processes. However, we recognise that to increase demand we need to educate our customers and the general public about the benefits of organic cotton.
We are a part of the ‘Better Cotton Initiative’
Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) is a global development program, which our cotton suppliers joined in 2019. The BCI community is committed to making cotton production better for the environment it grows in, better for the people who grow it and better for the future of the industry. Through joining the community, we will be contributing to the training of farmers and encouraging the worldwide shift to more sustainable cotton production.
Through joining the community, we will be contributing to the training of farmers and encouraging the worldwide shift to more sustainable cotton production.
To achieve this mission, BCI works with a diverse range of stakeholders across the cotton supply chain to promote measurable and continuing improvements for the environment, farming communities and the economies of cotton-producing areas.
Our four specific aims:
• Reduce the environmental impact of cotton production
• Improve livelihoods and economic development in cotton producing areas
• Improve commitment to and flow of Better Cotton throughout supply chain
• Ensure the credibility and sustainability of the Better Cotton Initiative
Removing Plastic from our supply chain
We are also committed to eliminate single use plastics, and plastic in general, from our supply chain.
Through a thorough internal review of our operations and supply chain, in collaboration with our manufacturers, we have eliminated almost all plastic from our production practices.
Below is a detailed list of what we are doing in this area:
• None of our products have ever been single poly bagged (garments individually wrapped in plastic). We have always seen this as a gross waste of resources and money. Not to mention the impact on the environment! We are against all single use plastic, something our entire extended family is quite passionate about.
• Most of our products are transported from the manufacturer to our shop, in one giant 100% biodegradable bag which is used as a liner in the carton to protect the garments during shipping.
• Some of our products arrive in cardboard cartons that come sealed with paper tape (instead of traditional plastic tapes).
• None of our shirting or socks comes with swift tags, which are small pieces of hard plastic which many brands use to bind their products together (commonly used in shirting or socks).
• All our swing tags have always been made from 100% recycled cardboard, brass safety pins and cotton string, which can be thoughtfully reused or recycled by our consumer.
• We have never used single used plastic bags as store bags and will continue to do this.
• Our online sales- courier bags are now 100% biodegradable, made entirely from food products.
2. Where are your clothes made?
All of our clothing products are sourced through two manufacturers.
We have been with one manufacturer since the beginning. They’re based in Melbourne, Australia; and they produce our apparel in 3 different factories based in China and Bangladesh. The other manufacturer is based in Foshan, Guangdong, China, with 2 factories that we utilise in China and Hong Kong.
We, in fact, design all of our own pieces, with support and collaboration from our manufacturers. They provide very good knowledge of textile availability and manufacturing techniques.
After manufacturing, 100% of our embellishments are printed, embroidered and tagged in Adelaide, South Australia, supporting local small businesses in our area.
3. How did you find your manufactures?
The key to our sourcing partners is finding the right people, with the right values.
In the very beginning we spent considerable time searching for the right manufacturing partners. We set out with the charter to hand-pick partners with safe, fair, legal and humane working conditions.
We then met and interviewed prospective manufacturers and inspected their Code of Conduct, supply chain policies and documented management systems, to ensure they could demonstrate transparency and prove these values.
4. What criteria did you use to select your wholesale and manufacturing partners?
It is very important to us that all Andorwith products are produced under safe, fair, legal and humane working conditions throughout the supply chain.
Our manufactures have demonstrated a systematic approach to their selection and collaboration with their factories. This includes auditing factories and the development of management systems and policies that ensure an ethical sourcing framework.
Our manufacturers have also demonstrated their ability to identify directly with factory owners and managers who share our values, operate a culture of dignity and respect, and are committed to the positive development of the fashion industry for the long term benefit to all involved.
Continuous improvement and the development of the wider industry is an important role that our manufacturers demonstrate.
What we noticed, is that our manufacturers strategically built relationships with smaller factories so that they could become a significant influence on the operation and improvement of these businesses.
5. How ethical are your supply chains?
Our manufacturers are a part of the Child Labor Free initiative, the wider reaching Amfori BSCI initiative.
Through joining these programs, our manufacturers are in a better position to support the wider supply chain with tried and tested training programs, and access to world class standards and tools that improve the processes of supply chain mapping, monitoring, and remediation.
As we are a relatively tiny brand, it is at times hard to apply leverage with suppliers.
Through partnering with manufacturers who are members of these organisations, we are able to learn from and communicate with global like-minded brands that are able to apply both more leverage as well as resources into transforming the industry.
6. What commitments do your manufacturers make?
Supply Chain traceability
Traceability of the supply chain is a core expectation and absolutely necessary.
This ensures we are to be confident there is no exploitation of the people who are making our clothes and the environment it is made in.
Our manufacturers strategy is to keep a narrow supply base and to develop long-term relationships with suppliers who hold the same ethical values (as ourselves).
Garments and fabric suppliers
• 100% of the garment factories have been visited and audited.
• 100% traceability of all fabrics and yarns. The majority of the garment suppliers make their own fabrics, which gives our manufacturer greater transparency.
• Tracing raw cotton is very complex, but we the industry is making inroads towards achieving this with three key initiatives;
• Using GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) organic licensed suppliers
• Increasing our use of Australian cotton, which is government and industry regulated for both sustainability and labour standards
• Participating in BCI (Better Cotton Initiative)
• Participating in Amfori BSCI
Please feel free to get in touch if you have a specific question about our manufacturing processes, sustainability and ethics.