G-Star Raw

Amsterdam denim brand


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How sustainable is G-Star Raw?


G-Star Raw is a Dutch denim brand. It was founded in Amsterdam in 1989 and partly because it made clever use of strategic partnerships with celebrities, it has gained international fame. The latest of which being a partnership with Pharrell Williams, who became a co-owner of the brand. They’ve worked together in the past when Pharrell's Bionic Yarn collaborated with G-Star on launching a sustainable collection made of reused plastics from the ocean. Now, the Dutch denim brand and the American popstar have big plans for the future together, which definitely promote sustainability. But there is some work to be done. G-Star does not lack ambition. The brand is improving transparency of its supply chain by publishing an interactive manufacturing map on its website, which shows all the foreign factories that G-Star works with, including their addresses. This allows us to gain insight into exactly where all products come from. The Dutch denim giant is also doing great in terms of material sourcing and currently uses 97% sustainable cotton. It’s on track to increasing this percentage to 100% in 2020. The company states that 86% of its materials are currently sustainable and is consistently working towards increasing this percentage. It’s also working together with ZDHC to eliminate chemicals from its production process. G-Star has also signed the UN Climate Charter, committing to cut total emissions by 30%. To achieve this, it began building an inventory of scope 1 and 2 emissions in 2019 and stated to assess scope 3 in 2020. As of now, the famous denim brand has not mapped its carbon footprint, which disallows it to measure its progress towards the target of 20% carbon reduction by 2025. This is the reason why G-Star doesn’t receive a higher score. We’re missing a bit of transparency concerning actual environmental performance of its facilities and data on aspects like water and waste, especially since water is a very important topic in denim production. There is also no information available on energy usage and, if applicable, the percentage of renewable energy being used. The same goes for packaging and transportation. So while the company acknowledges that it does not possess the data to accurately measure its impact, it’s working on getting these systems up and running and, in the process, has already committed to reducing its footprint. In terms of labor rights, G-Star are mediocre. The company is transparent about its supply chain and has a Code of Conduct that outlines labor rights in its factories. It also states that it conducts internal and external social and environmental audits to ensure its standards are being lived up to, but its reporting doesn’t include the audits’ conductors and results. The denim brand does participate in a large number of initiatives and is currently partnering with ACT to aim for living wages in its supply chain. But G-Star could further improve its transparency by performing and publishing social audits in its factories. All in all, G-Star is showing it’s commitment to positive change, but there are some necessary steps the brand has to take in order for us to truly believe it practises what it preaches.

Publication date: March 22nd 2020
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