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How sustainable is Zeeman?


Peta Approved Vegan

Fair Wear Foundation

Ethical Trading Initiative

Zeeman is a budget-friendly Dutch company. With the prices that Zeeman maintains, you would presume a very unsustainable and unfair supply chain, but that’s not entirely true. By buying in bulk, keeping the design simple and not changing collections the company is able to produce clothing relatively fair while maintaining a low price. The chain retailer, with almost 1,300 stores in over seven European countries, is making significant steps towards more sustainable production. One of the first and major steps is increasing the percentage of more sustainable materials. The company currently purchases around 25% more sustainable cotton from the Better Cotton Initiative and has a target for more sustainable materials across its entire collections of the same percentage. These are the first and necessary steps towards more sustainable production and while it’s impressive that the company is able to source a quarter of more sustainable cotton without compromising prices, it’s still a small percentage. Besides that, we require more information on percentages and origins of its materials. There’s also a lot of territory to gain on environmental performance. Zeeman doesn’t publish generated emissions and other environmental data concerning its supply chain. This data is crucial to calculate the total carbon footprint and absolutely necessary to efficiently adopt targets to decrease emissions. The company is doing well on other elements of its supply chain, like chemical management. Its Restricted Substance List bans most harmful chemicals and 66% of its clothing and textile is Oeko-Tex certified. Most of its shipping goes overseas and the company is transparent about its supply chain by publishing a factory list on its website. Plastics bags are nonexistent and its entire bag collection is sustainable. On labor rights, the company is doing great as well. It has recently joined the Fair Wear Foundation, which means that its supply chain is currently under monitoring by an independent body and the results of the audits will soon be published. Before its partnership with the Fair Wear Foundation, the Dutch company already had 94% of its factories under auditing by independent third parties and a good Code of Conduct in place. All in all, the company doesn’t produce fast fashion and sticks with timeless basics, which allows it to produce cheaply, but also helps environmentally. That being said, there is a lot of room for improvement, especially concerning material sourcing, transparency concerning its environmental impact and climate action.

Publication date: May 18th 2020
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