The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from the UN include 17 goals to secure sustainable development on an economic, environmental and social level. It was adopted in the 2030 Agenda at the 2015 UN Summit. The key message as guiding principles are the 5 Ps: People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace, Partnership. (UN, 2019).
Here at Mey, we see sustainability as a pillar which secures the foundation of our corporate success over the long term. By continuously improving our standards, production processes and goals, we will continue to make a contribution in the future by producing durable and premium quality products while also using less power and resources. Our sustainability strategy focuses on the SDGs from the United Nations with particular attention paid to goals 7, 8, 12 and 15. Mey will be concentrating on these four selected SDGs until mid-2021 and continuously work on implementing relevant improvements in the company.
ENSURE ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE, RELIABLE, SUSTAINABLE AND MODERN ENERGY FOR ALL
PROMOTE SUSTAINED, INCLUSIVE AND SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC GROWTH, FULL AND PRODUCTIVE EMPLOYMENT AND DECENT WORK FOR ALL
ENSURE SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION
PROTECT, RESTORE AND PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE USE OF TERRESTRIAL ECOSYSTEMS
Mey wants to make a significant contribution to the SDGs 7, 8, 12 and 15, which is why we have set the following goals for 2021:
1. Expand the use of certified organic cotton to four product ranges
Mey currently offers two collections made of more than 90% organic cotton, both of which are GOTS certified. The women’s collection is Organic and is RE:THINK for men.
When it comes to procuring cotton of organic quality, we as a company face major challenges in terms of the quality available. Due to the exceptionally fine finish of our fabrics and highly precise knitting machines, our organic cotton must be free of extraneous fibres and any other contaminants while also having a particular staple length. This has proven to be the greatest obstacle to transitioning to organic cotton as a mere fraction of what is available meets our standards of quality for Mey products.
2. Increase the percentage of sustainable/certified cotton to 90%
Sustainable does not always have to mean organic: both of our most important suppliers, who we have worked with for decades, uphold the latest technological and social standards. Mey views sustainable cotton as a combination of certificates (such as Oeko-Tex® 100, BCI, STeP by Oeko-Tex®) and long-standing partnerships with suppliers. Our cotton suppliers already have at least one of the listed certificates for the products they supply, and Mey has been successfully working with some suppliers for more than 30 years.
Additional factors such as regional spinning in Europe and the resulting short transport routes, drip irrigation on family-run cotton farms in Greece as well as long-standing partnerships also play a major role and are part of our main focus. In 2019, we already reached a share of approximately 70% of sustainable/certified cotton and we plan to continue to increase that.
3. Use only wool yarn that is harvested without mulesing
Our wool products at Mey have always been knitted 100% and exclusively with pure wool from sheep in South Africa. These yarns are completely mulesing-free and we will continue to make sure that mulesing-free wool is procured in the future. Our suppliers have submitted the relevant certificates. The share of wool yarn amounted to approximately 1% of the total quantity in 2019.
4. Certify the entire volume of material at Mey
This refers to certifications such as Oeko-Tex® 100, STeP by Oeko-Tex®, GOTS or bluesign®. Mey is Oeko-Tex® 100 certified and we are currently (January 2020) in the middle of the auditing process for Green Button (Grüner Knopf).
Approximately 95% of our volume of material is already certified and our company is a bluesign® SYSTEM PARTNER.
5. 80% of our suppliers must commit themselves to our MEY RSL (restricted substance list)
89% of our suppliers are located in Europe, 8% are in Asia, 1% are in South America and the remaining 2% are in Turkey. Our suppliers share our take on social, environmental and economic values. That is not only based on personal contact on site, but also on written values such as our Mey Terms (purchasing conditions), Code of Conduct and legal provisions. Approximately 70% of our suppliers have already committed themselves to observing our MEY RSL.
We adapted our Mey Terms in 2019. They ensure optimal compliance with our quality and sustainability criteria. The Mey Terms include not only technical specifications and quality guidelines, but also our Code of Conduct, which requires safe working conditions and environmental protection. Another essential factor is the honest and transparent communication of data in a business partnership.
The legal foundations and the International Labour Organization (ILO) form the guidelines for our collaboration. The supplier will particularly comply with the standards from the ILO regarding social and responsible economic activities and will conclude appropriate agreements with any upstream suppliers or sub-suppliers and also with further subcontractors. All of our approximately 120 suppliers, CMT (Cut Make Trim) partners and FM (Full Merchandise) partners must comply with the Mey Terms and commit themselves to complying with our values and guidelines.
How chemicals are handled is very important to protect consumers and every individual involved as well as the environment during the production phase. To help our suppliers, Mey has developed a minimum standard for suppliers that primarily applies to consumer safety regarding chemicals in finished products. The RSL is a minimum requirement for suppliers to ensure compliance with Mey Standards. The RSL includes all effective restrictions such as limit values and bans that apply to textiles (including textile raw materials, intermediate textile products and membranes), leather and textile accessories made of metal or other non-metal materials. The Mey RSL was developed in collaboration with bluesign®, the world’s strictest standard for clean textile production.
6. 80% of CMT (Cut Make Trim) and FM (Full Merchandise) partners must produce in the countries considered non-critical by the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) or present a BSCI (Business Social Compliance Initiative)/FWF certificate
The three Mey locations in Germany (Albstadt), Portugal (Celorico de Beira) and Hungary (Veresegyház) are in Europe, which means they are subject to the strictest provisions in terms of social and environmental standards.
More than 80% of our CMT operations (contractors, partners, sewing workshops) are located in countries that are classified as non-critical by the FWF and approximately 65% of Mey’s FM partners can present a BSCI certificate.
Why isn’t Mey part of the Fair Wear Foundation? We consider the FWF to be positive and find the certificate worthwhile. To become a member and receive the corresponding certification, however, the FWF requires that at least 50% of the work performed is carried out in critical countries and that the corresponding provisions are upheld there. The fact that such a high percentage of our production is carried out in non-critical countries means we cannot be certified by the FWF.
7. Use only FSC certified product packaging and hangtags
All of our cardboard for product packaging is already FSC certified, but that is not advertised on our packaging yet. We also do not use what is known as film lamination on our packaging, which increases the stability of the packaging (for example on folded edges and by preventing tearing).
We have significantly reduced the amount of cardboard packaging with a film window and make sure as a general rule to use a minimal amount of finishing techniques, such as glossy films or UV coatings, as these pollute the environment and make recycling more difficult.
8. Reduce the use of (non-recycled) film by 30%
A number of trials are currently underway to completely eliminate the use of film, to reduce its use or to replace it with recycled materials. We already reduced the micron thickness of the films that are used to keep our hanger cycle products clean in 2019. That saved a total of 21% of film material.
We have also transitioned to using film that is 100% recycled for protective packaging for our nightwear products. Different in-house tests with several recycled films are currently underway to gradually replace other types of film with 100% recycled film, which will be used until we are able to do without film altogether.
9. Reduce energy consumption by 5% at our three regional company sites
At our headquarters in Albstadt (Germany), we have already been obtaining 100% green power (hydropower from Scandinavia) since 2018. Our on-site charging station is also run solely on green power.
10. Establish a carbon footprint for our three company sites
In 2020, we will establish a carbon footprint for our three company sites with an external partner. We would like to examine where we can conserve energy and resources and encourage our employees to rethink matters.
11. Create and introduce a labelling concept
We have determined internal guidelines for the inspection and sourcing of materials. The use of Oeko-Tex® 100certified materials forms the foundation.
12. Raise employee awareness and include them in the Mey sustainability concept
In January 2020, we welcomed a new colleague to the Mey team who now concentrates 100% on the topic of sustainability at Mey.
At our company site in Albstadt (Germany), we already provide various offers to encourage our employees to think about health, consumption and exercise in more sustainable and informed terms. A water station is available for our employees’ water bottles, our coffee machines are equipped with standard ceramic mugs instead of plastic cups and the use of Eco-Takeouts™, a reusable container system, has been required for take away meals from our staff restaurant since January 2020.
Mey also offers various sports programmes, including kick boxing, water gymnastics and yoga plus the opportunity to use the company swimming pool and sauna while off the job.