Raibu and Sustainability
A great sense of responsibility is one of our core values at Raibu. Next to providing the best service to our customers, we continuously make ourselves aware of the impact we have on our environment and take actions where possible on how we can minimize that impact.
In our physical store we only use led and energy-saving lamps. Where possible we have timers that automatically switch on and off electronic devices to minimize unnecessary usage. We offer only digital receipts which the customer receives via email. Customers can choose to have their purchase in lightweight paper wrapping or a paper bag made of recycled paper. As we speak we are developing a reusable textile bag for our customers. Our store interior is made of natural materials and lots of green.
We source only from small independent suppliers in developed countries. This includes a single fashion designer who designs and sews the clothing him/herself to a small family business who owns an atelier studio to small business owners who have a factory with fashion professionals working in every stage of the garment production process. Our sourcing reasons are many-fold: independent suppliers have a much smaller pollution impact compared to large commercial parties and the ethical environment of the production process is easier controllable and secured by the nature of being a small business (the power and thus risk of abuse of the owner is contained due to the small scale of its business). Being a small business ourselves, we have great sympathy for other small business owners and want to support them by doing business with them.
And the best of all, the designs and craftsmanship coming from small local -often unknown- labels are truly original, creative and of a high quality. Unspoiled by large commercial trends that mainstream brands follow en mass.
We focus on selecting items made of natural materials and where possible we always opt for sustainable fabrics. In addition we are continuously educating ourselves on new textile innovations to understand the pros and cons with each option. This knowledge helps us to become more conscious in our buying.
All the clothing are produced in developed countries like South Korea, Japan, China, Italy, Turkey and The Netherlands.
For our own label RAIBU we use sustainable fabrics as much as possible like tencel and modal, eco friendly to produce and at the same time, the fabric is breathable and have a soft, smooth touch. We use rest material that already exist and come from larger users. This means we do not produce new material that puts an extra load on the environment. The clothing is made in South Korea and in our Amsterdam studio.
Our ultimate goal is to stimulate (push) our suppliers -through our buying decisions-, to only use sustainable resources to make their clothing and to minimize production waste. This includes using fibers that consume less natural resources to produce like hemp and nettle to man-made types of eco friendly fabrics like recycled plastic and lyocell in the designs.
Currently where possible we work with existing eco and ethical certified suppliers. Unfortunately oftentimes, they do not offer the designs we (our customers) seek for. Next to that, the fashion industry is unimaginable huge and complex with many many parties from very small to very big. We want to tackle the corner of the small suppliers. We believe we can make a difference here. To get (eco) certified by an official standardization organization is a service that is not affordable to many of these small businesses. The annual certification alone is often too difficult and too expensive for most if not all of them. We like to facilitate the smaller players in becoming more sustainable by contributing in building a system where knowledge on sustainable production and sourcing is publicly accessible to buyers and suppliers worldwide.
This very challenging and exciting project is our mission for the years to come.
*** Update Q4 2019:
We have employed a new staff member who’s proficient in Asian languages to help us analyze our supply chain in Asian countries. We are currently looking for funding that enables us to construct an audit program to vet new and existing suppliers.
We are in the process of mapping out our entire supply chain. We know our suppliers well, but we also want to know who are their suppliers, the way they work etc. This daunting phase involves finding a way through different countries, cultures and languages. For this we are actively working with local embassies in country and the Dutch government.
Once the supply chain is transparant, and we are knowledgeable on what sustainable options are available, we can enter a new phase in which we actively work with our suppliers towards better fashion for all. ***
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