EIG collaborates with C&A to develop the World’s Most Sustainable Jeans
C&A is the world’s first retailer to offer jeans that are completely Cradle to Cradle CertifiedTM at the Gold level. Designed in partnership with Fashion for Good, a global platform that aims to make all fashion good, the jeans were made with healthy materials and were produced in compliance with the high Cradle to Cradle CertifiedTM Gold level.
Eco Intelligent Growth (EIG) and MBDC collaborated with C&A to perform the assessment required to achieve the certification, working with the supply chain to optimize ingredients for almost a year.
Jeans are a very complex garment. Many components and processes are involved in their production.
EIG worked throughout the supply chain, from garment and textile manufacturers, to materials and chemicals suppliers and manufacturers, to engage them in the process. All suppliers have shared their knowledge of the products used and the manufacturing process of the finished garments.
This exercise of transparency and collaboration enabled the optimization, where required, and paved the way for the circular business models. Once full composition was known, re-circulation paths were planned effectively. EIG brought its expertise in evaluating positive impacts of designing and manufacturing fashion products, identifying opportunities for circular models and helping drive the project to success.
All categories of the Program were reviewed: how healthy input materials and chemicals used are for people and the environment, how the products can be recovered after use to become new nutrients instead of waste, how water and energy are used and what is the quality of the effluents as well as the impacts of this production locally (workers, supply chain, local community).
To achieve this level of knowledge, EIG worked in the field, visiting the manufacturing facilities, talking to local stakeholders and checking in person the processes and working conditions.
“Designing the most sustainable jeans was a challenge where teams worked diligently for more than a year,” said Jeffrey Hogue, C&A’s Global Chief Sustainability Officer. “It required a close partnership between C&A and Fashion for Good with various suppliers, assessors, and the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. All material properties had to be carefully assessed and tested in line with the rigorous Cradle to Cradle product standards.”
To promote the production of sustainable clothing, Fashion for Good’s Guide for “Developing C2C Certified Jeans” will be published along with the jeans’ product launch. This open source guide developed by a consortium that reunites McDonough Innovation, MBDC, EIG and EPEA Switzerland will make information on how to develop circular jeans freely available and help other organisations comply with the Cradle to Cradle CertifiedTM Product Program requirements.
“We are extremely pleased with the result,” said Hogue. “All of the components have been successfully optimized to make sure that only non-toxic materials are used. During the process, only renewable energy and high social standards were applied, leading to a product that is designed for its next life.”
“The collaborative, forward-thinking approach taken by C&A in being the first retailer to create jeans that meet Cradle to Cradle Certified at the Gold level, one of the highest levels of Cradle to Cradle certification, represents another significant milestone in the shift towards truly sustainable fashion,” said Lewis Perkins, president of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. “C&A’s decision to provide open access to the source guide for this product is an equally significant contribution to the future of sustainable fashion and the growth of the circular economy.”
Eco Intelligent Growth (EIG) is a design and industrial ecology consultancy that since 2005 has been working towards a circular economy based on Cradle to Cradle® principles.
EIG is accredited to perform the assessment of products against the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ program and works helping industries and organizations of a wide range of sectors optimizing their products to create a positive impact on people, the environment and the economy.
For more information, please visit: www.ecointelligentgrowth.net
With nearly 1,900 stores in 21 countries worldwide and around 51,000 employees, C&A is a leading fashion retail business. C&A welcomes and provides millions of visitors each day with good quality fashion at affordable prices for their entire family. C&A is an enterprise of COFRA Holding AG with a presence in Europe, Brazil, Mexico and China.
For more information about C&A, please visit www.c-a.com.
About the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute
The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute is a non-profit organization whose mission is to turn the making of things into a positive force for people, the economy and the planet. Founded by William McDonough and Dr. Michael Braungart, the Institute administers the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Product Program, a guidance system for assessing and continually improving products based upon five sustainability characteristics: material health, material reuse, renewable energy, water stewardship, and social fairness.
MBDC is a firm founded in 1995 by world-renowned architect William McDonough and chemist Dr. Michael Braungart. MBDC originated the Cradle to Cradle® design framework and leads companies toward positive growth by integrating the framework into corporate strategy, communications, operations, supply chains, and product designs. Using the process of inventory, assessment, and optimization, MBDC provides technical expertise to develop solutions around material health, material reutilization, renewable energy use, water stewardship, and social fairness. MBDC partners with clients throughout various sectors and industries to provide scientific evaluations, spur innovation, and inspire leadership.
*Cradle to Cradle® is a registered trademark of MBDC. Cradle to Cradle Certified™ is a certification mark licensed by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute.