As a young and innovative company, we want to run our business in the most sustainable way possible. Our sustainability policy establishes an ethical and sustainable approach throughout our supply chain capturing designing, sourcing, manufacturing, packaging and shipping our products.
Our sustainability priorities are:
- To use natural, recyclable and biodegradable materials wherever possible.
- To manage our environmental footprint through flexible sourcing and partner relationships.
- To collaborate and engage with our community.
- To ultimately design top-quality, high-performance and durable products.
Our values are at the heart of everything we do and reflect the basic ideas of care for individuals and families, communities and the planet. In our business activities, we commit to complying with applicable legal requirements while ensuring our activities are sustainable and create value for our business partners and society.
We recognise that we source from countries where the government is often weak and economic, social and ecological challenges are widespread, particularly in our industry. However, we believe that trading with these countries is the better solution and that with doing business with selected partners we can create positive outcomes and contribute to the livelihoods of the people.
To this end - while we do not have direct control over business partners in our supply chain - we will always use our position to positively influence our partners to establish together a framework for responsible and ethical production and manufacturing of cotton.
our supply chain
Source material producers and suppliers
We try to ensure that all of our material suppliers comply with relevant environmental and social product standards, and where feasible, applicable certification schemes.
We expect our suppliers to act transparently and to commit to continuous improvement in their operations regarding relevant social and environmental aspects of production.
In our work with material producers, we ensure that our relationship is mutually beneficial and that they share the same basic values as we do.
Our cotton is sourced from India and our wool is sourced from Australia. Our packaging materials are sourced from the Russian Federation and the Netherlands.
We’ll only partner with manufacturers who share our values and goals.
We select our manufacturing partners carefully through an assessment process that includes factory site visits, discussions with management, interviews with staff at all levels and document reviews.
We chose organic combed cotton as our primary fabric because it has the highest quality fibres. The fibres are combed with brushes so that only the longest, strongest and straightest fibres remain.
We are conscious that cotton production has a controversial record when it comes to the environment and human rights. Conventional farming can use huge amounts of water and is associated with the heavy use of chemical pesticides and fertilisers, which can affect workers’ health and local ecosystems. Many parts of the industry are known for poor and unsafe working practices. Even organic cotton has its challenges. Arguably, it’s better for the environment because it limits the quantities and chemicals used, but that also doesn't mean it's completely harmless, since some natural pesticides can be just as toxic as chemical ones.
Therefore, we are requiring our cotton supplier to comply with Global Organic Textiles Standards (GOTS) and Organic Content Standards (OCS). GOTS is a quality standard for sustainable processing of textiles made from organically grown fibres, and OCS verifies the presence and amount of organic material in a final product and tracks the flow of the cotton from its source to the final product.
Cotton is also a globally traded material, so at times it can be difficult to trace it back to its source. That's why we require our suppliers to declare the country of origin and production methods for the cotton they supply to us. We would not source cotton from countries where there is widespread use of forced and child labour or other human rights abuses in the cotton industry, for example, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and China.
We chose merino wool for its natural fiber composition which is much finer and softer than regular wool and is more effective in keeping feet dray and sweat free and in absorbing odour caused by bacteria. Our wool supplier complies with OEKO-TEX Standard 100 which is one of the world's best-known labels for textiles tested for harmful substances. We note that wool production has its own challenges related to animal welfare, land use, and wool processing.
Spandex, nylon and silicone
Our products contain synthetic materials like spandex, nylon and silicone. We chose these materials for their performance qualities knowing that they are synthetic and have their own sustainability challenges linked to the production of greenhouse gases and excess energy and water usage. However, the use of alternative biodegradable plant-based materials such as rayon, viscose, lycocell and modal present their own challenges in that may have ongoing detrimental effects on our planet’s forests, rainforests and natural eco-systems.
Packaging and delivery
Our packaging materials are minimalist in design and made from 100% recycled paper and toxic free soy ink. We require supply chain certifications for all of our packaging materials to ensure responsible sourcing. Our products are sent to customers using mailing bags made from sugar cane, which is fully recyclable. However, sugar cane farming can be a water intensive process.
our environmental footprint
As a start-up e-commerce company, hipSwan as a company is not encumbered with a significant environmental footprint. We have the flexibility and opportunity to manage our footprint as we grow. One way we intend to accomplish this is through a partnership with TreeSisters, a UK-registered social change and reforestation charity that funds a diverse portfolio of tropical reforestation projects that are ethical, community-led, expand natural forest cover and aim to avoid further deforestation.
Our products are made in limited edition batches in order that we can focus on essential materials, suppliers and technologies, and also minimise our environmental footprint.
In all cases, we try to ensure that our partners share the same values and goals as we do, with the objective of lowering the environmental impact on all processes in our supply chain.