The second lesson will introduce MUD Jeans and show how the company is leading the way towards a model sustainable fashion industry and circular economy. The section will show how MUD Jeans was founded, and explore the driving focus behind Bert's decision to create a sustainable fashion company. Through videos and text, this section will show how Bert's dream became a reality, and look at the core brand DNA which is driving MUD Jeans to become a key player in the world of sustainable fashion. Explore the unique and innovative ways MUD Jeans are reducing water usage and recycling old denim to create new and exciting products.

Estimated time to complete: 25 minutes

 

In this section you will:

Get to know our founder Bert van Son and learn what drove him to found MUD Jeans after decades of working in the fashion industry.

Learn about the creative ways that MUD Jeans recycles and repurposes old jeans.

 

Learn about the brand DNA and the different ways MUD Jeans is not just contributing to sustainable fashion, but also fighting climate change.


MUD Jeans is leading the way in creating circular design, ensuring waste and harmful practices become a thing of the past. Founder Bert van Son had a vision - to create affordable, high-quality garments without the damaging human cost and contribution to climate change. MUD Jeans has created a new way of doing fashion, one which tackles the massive problems that exist in the fast fashion industry.

Circular Economy - Understanding Circularity

Circularity is at the core of MUD Jeans’ business model. We design, produce, and sell keeping this model in mind. 100% of our styles are circular.

A circular system aims for a continuous use of resources, while slowly designing out waste. Unlike a linear economy, which just focuses on producing, using, and throwing away, in circularity you apply methods such as reuse, sharing, repairing, remanufacturing, and recycling in order to extend the life of the product and eventually close the loop by using that same material again. Through this method you are minimizing the use of new raw materials, as well as the creation of waste and pollution. Circularity is the most effective and sustainable approach to fashion.


“Waste isn’t waste until we waste it”

Will.I.Am

(Musician)



How is MUD Jeans Circular?

Circularity is at the core of MUD Jeans’ business model. We design, produce, and sell keeping this model in mind.
 
Each section of the diagram below is an important step in making a pair of circular MUD Jeans. We think very carefully about the material we use, how we design the jeans, who we work with and how we sell our product. When all the steps come together, the outcome is a pair of jeans that is of high quality, stylish, and limitless in life and potential. These jeans will live many lives.



Recycle

All good things must end, they say. Not for MUD Jeans. The life of a MUD Jeans never ends, it just restarts. When the jeans are no longer in good condition, they are recycled. In this process the jeans are shredded into fibres and remixed with fresh organic cotton to make new yarns. And so, the cycle begins again.


Upcycle

The elimination of waste is a key component of a circular business. MUD Jeans takes responsibility for the end of life of its jeans and prevents them from turning into waste. When the jeans are returned to MUD Jeans, we review them to check their condition. As the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Therefore, jeans that are still in good condition are washed and mended and sold as vintage. Once again, it’s all about extending the life of our product.

Circular Design

Design is about how you control how the product is made, how it lives, but also how it dies (dramatic, we know!). To be a circular brand, you need to think of all of these stages. After all, you want a high-quality pair of jeans, that lives a long time, but that can also be easily recycled and reincorporated into production. At MUD Jeans we do this by keeping it simple. We work with 10 different fabrics, one button, and one rivet. We have substituted the leather patch with a non-toxic printed-on version. There are two fabric compositions available. The rigid, which is made with 40% post-consumer recycled cotton and 60% GOTS certified cotton, and our stretch, which is made from 23% post-consumer recycled cotton, 2% elastane and 75% GOTS certified cotton.



Repair

All of our customers are given access to a free repair service during the first 12 months of their lease or purchase. Through this approach, we encourage our customers to value and take care of their jeans. A simple repair can extend the life of the product by a few months or even years. This has a tremendous positive environmental impact, as it conserves the original energy that went into making the product in the first place.


Production

We maintain a very small supply chain. We work with 5 main supply chain partners. By having a small group of partners, we can foster better collaboration and innovation. It also gives us greater control over the making of our jeans. With a short supply chain, we know exactly who is making our jeans and how, as well as under what conditions they are being produced.


Lease A Jeans

MUD Jeans is unique for its Lease a Jeans model. Customers can lease a pair of jeans for 12 months for €9.95 per month. At the end of lease, they are encouraged to send back their old jeans and start a new lease, should they wish to. Through this model, our customers are able to enjoy the experience of owning a new pair of jeans, without the environmental anxiety. As a brand it gives us the opportunity to take responsibility for the end of life of our product. Purchasing a pair of jeans in full is of course also an option. Both leasers and buyers are given a discount when they return an old pair of jeans with their new purchase.


Here's how MUD Jeans produces sustainable jeans


On average a pair of MUD Jeans uses 477 L of Water (2020 LCA). Between 2019 and 2020 we have reduced our average water impact by 18%. Industry standard uses 7000 L to make a pair of jeans. Compared with this, a pair of MUD Jeans conserves 93% of water.

In 2020 we conserved 292 million litres of water. In the past 5 years, that has accumulated to 826 million litres of water. The equivalent of 330 Olympic size swimming pools. In the standard denim industry water consumption and toxification is one of the biggest areas of impact. MUD Jeans uses zero toxic chemicals and thanks to the innovative production techniques of our supply partners we can produce jeans with high water conservation standards.

On average, a pair of MUD Jeans uses 6,10 Kg of CO2e (2020 LCA). Between 2019 and 2020, we have reduced our average CO2 impact by 15%. Industry Standard uses 23,45 kg of CO2e to make a pair of jeans. Compared to this value, a pair of MUD Jeans avoids 74% of CO2 emissions. One of the biggest drivers of CO2 impact is energy consumption.
 
Our supply chain partners show true initiative in this area. Ferre uses 100% renewable energy in its production and Tejidos Royo is energy self-sufficient through its co-generation station. MUD Jeans has been carbon neutral since 2016 across scopes 1,2 and 3. In 2020 we then became carbon positive! This means that we offset more CO2 than we produce as a company. We have credited 300 tons of additional carbon offset credits. Each carbon credit is a certificate that counts the prevention or removal of one tonne of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. These credits come from projects that capture or prevent the creation of CO2. MUD Jeans neutralizes its impact by retiring credits from the Teni Wind Farm project (supported by Blue Dot).

The impact


Lease your jeans for a monthly fee

Through our lease concept, the customers can borrow our material in the shape of jeans and return it once they are done using it. Depending on the condition of the returned jeans, they are either upcycled or recycled and re-incorporated into a new pair of jeans.


Labour rights are both the legal rights and human rights of workers.

Labour rights are very important, as they ensure that employees are treated correctly at work and that their rights are protected. These rights ensure that, as an employee, you can say no to work you don’t want to do, that there is a limit to the number of hours you are expected to work. Should they want to, employees can also unite with their colleagues and bargain for improvements and change from their employer together. For MUD Jeans, the freedom and respect of all employees is paramount. We work hard to ensure full transparency within our supply chain, to make sure that everyone involved in the making of MUD Jeans is respected.

MUD Jeans Code of Conduct 1.2.1
“Workers, without distinction, shall have the right to join or form trade unions of their own choosing and to bargain collectively. The employer shall not interfere with, or obstruct, the formation of unions or collective bargaining.” ILO Conventions No. 87, No. 98, No. 135 and No. 154

Everyone is entitled to a safe working environment.

Safety at work relates to the building you work in, to the tools you use, as well as the environment, conditions, and people you are exposed to. It is about respecting the value of life of every individual, and the value of their work. Therefore, as a business we want to make sure everyone involved in the making of MUD Jeans has their health and safety prioritized.
MUD Jeans Code of Conduct 1.6.2
“The working environment shall be safe and hygienic, bearing in mind the prevailing knowledge of the industry and of any specific hazards. Hazardous chemicals and other substances shall be carefully managed. Adequate steps shall be taken to prevent accidents and injury to health arising out of, associated with, or occurring in, the course of work, by minimising, so far as is reasonably practicable, the causes of hazards inherent in the working environment.”

We pay the true cost of materials and services to ensure that the people behind our product receive a fair wage.

As you go down the supply chain, ensuring this can be tricky, particularly for raw materials such as cotton. MUD Jeans has specifically chosen to only use virgin cotton that is GOTS Certified. GOTS, unlike other certificates, ensures that the farmers are treated well and are paid fair wages.
MUD Jeans Code of Conduct 1.7
“Wages and benefits paid for a standard working week shall as minimum meet national legal standards or industry benchmark standards, whichever is higher. Wages should always be enough to meet basic needs, including some discretionary income.” ILO Convention No. 131
Equality is about ensuring that everyone is treated as equal, regardless of their race, gender, or age.
At MUD Jeans we are strong supporters of this notion and through our Code of Conduct we ask our suppliers to follow it too.
With women making up 80% of the garment workforce, we want to ensure that they are being given equal opportunity and treatment. At Yousstex International, men and women are paid equally. Distinction in salary is based on job/position in the factory.
MUD Jeans Code of Conduct 1.4
“There shall be no discrimination at the workplace in hiring, compensation, access to training, promotion, termination or retirement based on ethnic background, religion, age, disability, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, union membership or political affiliation.” ILO Conventions No. 100 and No.111 and the UN Convention on Discrimination Against Women

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