Our path to understanding sustainability in work life brought us to a company visit to Marimekko. Marimekko is a Finnish design company founded in 1951. They are known for their prints and colours, lasting and timeless design and strong women. Sustainability is a major issue in clothing industry relating to for example the water and pesticide use in farming cotton, the working conditions of the farmers and workers in the factories along the supply chain and ending in how we treat the clothing we bought. During our visit, the sustainability manager of Marimekko Anna-Leena Teppo gave us a good picture of how Marimekko is dealing with these issues.
Marimekko is a value-based company and they find respect for the environment and people necessary for everything they do. In recent year Marimekko has for example started using renewable biogas in their printing mill in Helsinki, tightened their monitoring over their supply chain. In 2013 they became a member of Better Cotton Initiative. Marimekko still uses cotton in lot of their products, but they are looking into other possibilities such as wood-based fabrics. For Marimekko quality cannot be overlooked – cotton is still a good alternative when it comes to the lasting, feel and versatility of the fabric.
For Marimekko it is important to bring forth the life of the clothing after it leaves the shop. That is why Marimekko does timeless design – Marimekkos clothing is made to last the tides of fashion as well as the strain of using the clothes. As stated before it is important for Marimekko to choose the best materials and sustainability is a part of it as well. Marimerkko has animal welfare policies for all animal-based materials and they are willing to re-evaluate materials used, as was the case with angora after the public scandal concerning the cruel production conditions found in some factories in China.
As with every company, Marimekko still has ways to go to find the golden line to being fully sustainable and still a working company following current economic guidelines. However much is already done and more is to come. You can read more about sustainability in Marimekko by visiting their website: http://company.marimekko.com/sustainability The new sustainability strategy is to be finalised in the coming weeks, so remember to keep track on Marimekko!