James&Co joined Bluesign in partnership as a bluesign® SYSTEM PARTNER in 2020. The significance of working in partnership with Bluesign going forward can not be over-stated.
First, we are the first fashion brand/retailer in Australia to become a bluesign® SYSTEM PARTNER.
Secondly, we are the first fashion brand/retailer whose end-products are tailored in synthetic leather (aka vegan leather or faux leather and now 'eco leather' to indicate not traditional toxic polyurethane) to become a bluesign® SYSTEM PARTNER.
As the market for vegan leather grows (recent research that global demand for vegan leather will continue to rise by an annual rate of 49.9% to reach US$89.6 billion by 2025) and the demand by consumers for more ethical and environmentally friendly products (recent UN research revealed 88% of consumers expect brands/retailers to offer them advice on making sustainable choices) - the importance of knowing the composition of the synthetic leather fabric and the circumstances in which it is manufactured is heightened.
The growth in the vegan leather market and the increasing sustainability expectations of consumers also heighten the need for the services of Bluesign across the wide fashion industry.
Herein lies another important fact to state about the fashion industry which again highlights the significance of Bluesign services:
Sustainable fashion is a movement and process of fostering change to fashion products and the fashion system towards greater ecological integrity and social justice. Sustainable fashion concerns more than just addressing fashion textiles or products. It comprises addressing the whole system of fashion. (wikipedia)
That is, it is not just about the textiles. It is also about the social and environmental impacts of making the textiles and every other step of the supply chain. The fashion industry is the 2nd largest contributor to landfill and all the work to making fashion more sustainable will be a massive step towards that reducing that input.
Now as a bluesign® SYSTEM PARTNER we will be working with the experts from Bluesign to help the James&Co brand and our sourcing factories to/in the following ways:
- specify the composition of the synthetic leathers that we are sourcing from factories that now are called 'eco leather'. In particular and the critical first step, the chemicals that go into the making of eco leather. And the steps our factories need to take to reduce the hazardous chemicals in the composition;
- identify the environmental impacts which our sourcing factories have in terms of air and water quality and energy use. And the steps our factories need to take to reduce the harmful impacts to the environment;
- ensure the labour conditions of our sourcing factories comply with all required legislative conditions and there is absolutely no scope for abuse of human resources.
We have built into all our core policy decisions, especially our Supplier Code Of Conduct, the expectation that all sourcing factories will provide us with all information required about chemicals, environmmental and social impacts so that we will work again for the great advantage of Bluesign services.