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FAQ - Sustainability

Which materials does Stanley/Stella use for its collection? 
Our garments are either made from: 
  • 100% organic cotton (e.g. our t-shirts and polo shirts) 
  • a combination of organic cotton and recycled polyester (e.g. our sweatshirts) 
  • recycled polyester only (e.g. our outerwear styles).  
Our collection also includes garments and accessories made from recycled natural fibres (e.g. using our own cutting waste or purchasing recycled natural fibres), from regenerated fibres such as recycled nylon, or from a combination of pre-consumer recycled materials. 
 
What is organic cotton, and how is it different to conventional cotton? 
Organic cotton is grown according to organic farming criteria set by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM). Under these criteria, organic agriculture should avoid the use of harmful pesticides, fertilisers and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in order to respect the soil and those who live from it. Conventional agriculture is not regulated in this way. 
 
What are the benefits of organic cotton? 
Organic cotton is a more sustainable choice when it comes to cultivating cotton. Instead of the chemical cultivation methods typically used for conventional cotton, organic cotton farming uses natural and traditional techniques. As a result, it uses less energy, requires no harmful chemicals, and releases fewer greenhouse gases. And because organic production systems improve soil quality, significantly less water is used. The overall positive effect on water, soil and biodiversity means the well-being and livelihood of farmers and their communities are respected and protected. 
 
Where does Stanley/Stella get recycled cotton for its recycled products? 
For our Re-Range (i.e. the Re-Creator, Re-Cruiser and Re-Blaster), we use recycled fibres from our own organic cotton cutting waste. This cutting waste is collected from our partner factories and taken to a spinning mill, where it’s finely shredded before being blended with virgin organic cotton. The fibres are then twisted and spun into yarn which is used to knit the new, recycled cotton fabric. As the yarn is 50% recycled organic fibre and 50% organic virgin fibre, the end fabric is 100% organic cotton. 
We also buy pre- and post-consumer organic cotton waste to produce fibres for making our Re-Tote bags. Pre-consumer waste is waste that is generated during production, while post-consumer waste consists of garments that consumers have worn. 
 
What kind of dyes are used in Stanley/Stella products? 
In accordance with the main certifications we hold, i.e. Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX and GOTS, any chemical substances we use pose no risk to human health and the environment. For some steps of our production process, we need to use certain, non-toxic chemicals to achieve the desired performance or aesthetics of a product. As sustainability is at the heart of everything we do, we’re also exploring the possibility of using natural dyes from plants, food waste, minerals, etc., which would allow us to further reduce our chemical footprint. Natural dyes are, however, more expensive and bring their own challenges. 

How should I take care of my Stanley/Stella products? 
All our products comply with textile industry standards and requirements in terms of their physical and chemical properties, as well as durability and lifespan. Washing instructions are indicated on the label of each product. Most should be washed at 30°C and line-dried (i.e. not in a tumble drier). As well as helping to protect the environment, following these care instructions will help ensure the longest life possible for the products.

Are Stanley/Stella products certified? 
Yes, all Stanley/Stella products are certified. The type of certification depends on the fabric composition of the product. Here are the main certifications you’ll find in our collection:  
  • Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS): This standard applies to products with at least 70% organic content. Products like our sweatshirts that are 85% organic cotton have the standard GOTS label, while products like our t-shirts and polos that are made with 100% organic cotton have the GOTS label grade 'Organic' – to have the GOTS ‘Organic’ label, a product must contain at least 95% organic content. 
  • Global Recycled Standard (GRS): This standard applies to all products made with recycled fibres, whether recycled cotton or recycled polyester. 
  • OEKO-TEX: This standard guarantees that textiles contain no harmful chemicals. All our products are OEKO-TEX certified. This also means that all our products meet the requirements of Annex VII of the EU’s REACH Regulation. 
  • PETA: Stanley/Stella is a PETA-Approved Vegan company, as we use no animal-derived components in our production. All our products are PETA-certified.  
You can find our certificates on our website here:  Standing by our commitments (stanleystella.com) 
 
What is the GOTS standard? 
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is recognised as the world’s leading textile processing standard for organic fibres, and includes ecological and social criteria. GOTS certification provides assurance that cotton is grown organically, i.e. without GMOs or any substances that could harm the environment or the health of farmers or factory workers. It ensures traceability throughout the supply chain, from ginning (separation of cotton fibres from the seeds) all the way to the final customer, and transaction certificates are issued at every stage. The cultivation of organic fibres is not covered by GOTS, but is certified by local authorities. We source our organic cotton in India, where organic farming is certified by the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP), and in Turkey, where organic farming is certified by the Turkish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock (MoFAL). 
 
Is GOTS certification a 100% guarantee? How does Stanley Stella go beyond certifications to ensure cotton is organic? 
Certification cannot offer guarantees, but it provides a strong tool for verifying organic content and ensuring traceability throughout the supply chain. However, we know that GMO contamination can still happen, which is why we take additional steps to ensure the cotton we use is 100% organic. Firstly, we work with a limited number of suppliers so we can develop long-term relationships built on mutual trust. We have also diversified our cotton sourcing to minimise any risk of issues in one specific country, and we work with a cotton specialist in India to improve our local understanding and help us select reliable organic cotton producers. Lastly, since 2021, we have been conducting ISO-certified testing of random samples through independent labs in Europe. This allows us to discuss with our suppliers when traces of GMO or chemicals are found and to work on continuous improvement of the organic integrity of the cotton. 

How can you guarantee that your products contain no harmful chemicals?  
All our products have GOTS certification, which, as well as ensuring the traceability of organic cotton, places specific restrictions on the use of harmful chemicals. Our products are also certified by OEKO-TEX, which guarantees that no harmful substances are used during the production process (including dyeing and finishing) and that the limit of restricted substances has been respected.

Where does Stanley/Stella source its organic cotton? 
Most of the organic cotton we use for our products comes from India and Turkey, the two largest organic cotton producers worldwide. 
 
Where does Stanley/Stella source its recycled polyester?  
The recycled polyester we use for our outerwear garments and for sweatshirts that are 15% recycled polyester comes from China. It’s made from post-consumer PET bottles. The recycled polyester used in our outerwear garments is GRS certified. 
 
Where does Stanley/Stella source its recycled nylon? 
The recycled nylon we use for our outerwear garments comes from China. It’s made from pre-consumer nylon production waste. Our recycled nylon yarn supplier is GRS certified. 
 
Where are Stanley/Stella products made? 
Our t-shirts, sweatshirts and polos are made in Bangladesh, a country which has a strong reputation of skilled workers in the global textile industry. Bangladesh is home to one of the most skilled and experienced garment manufacturing workforces in the world, and its garment industry is a significant contributor to the country’s economy. Over 90% of our total production comes from Bangladesh, where we work exclusively with nine partner factories. Our outerwear is made in one partner factory in China. This approach of limiting our number of suppliers supports our strategy for building supportive, long-term and collaborative relationships with each of our partner factories. 
 
Do you know exactly who is producing your cotton? 
It takes a lot of organic cotton to make our products – we estimate that we’re counting on around 15,000 organic cotton farmers in total. That means we can’t get to know them individually. Our organic raw material sourcing complies with GOTS and/or the Organic Content Standard (OCS), which ensures traceability from ginning right the way through to the end customer. But we want to get closer to having an end-to-end view of our entire supply chain. We’re currently identifying and tracing the cotton that goes from the ginners and spinners to our partner factories. By working with responsible ginners who are in direct contact with local farmers and farm groups, we better understand the origin of our cotton and the working conditions of the farmers who grow it. This way, we are continuously developing our supply chain traceability. 

What is Stanley/Stella’s carbon footprint? 
Stanley/Stella calculated its carbon footprint for the first time in 2022, using data from activity in 2021. The resulting carbon footprint for 2021 was 90,330 tCO2e for all business processes and activities across the value chain. 
 
How did Stanley/Stella calculate its carbon footprint? 
The GHG Protocol is the leading international organisation laying out carbon accounting rules. The Protocol defines which domains should be calculated and the different methodologies to be applied. Carbon emission factors are used to quantify the amount of CO2e emissions released by different activities. The data used and the emission factors applied have inherent uncertainties and limitations. Therefore, the carbon footprint is an approximation of the total emissions. For Stanley/Stella, 99% of our carbon footprint comes from activities in our value chain. This means we need to work with data from across our ecosystem, including our warehouse providers, office providers, transporters, customers, and suppliers (tier 1, tier 2, tier 3, and tier 4); we could use primary data for all Tier 1 & Tier 2 suppliers as well as for most of the Tier 3 suppliers for the cotton spinning 
 
What happens to wastewater generated during the dyeing process?  
Once the fabric or t-shirt has been dyed, the coloured water goes directly to an Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP), where it is treated using various processes. This is a legal requirement, and we make sure that all the factories we work with are equipped with an ETP and use it continuously. After passing through the ETP, the treated wastewater can be released back into waterways, or for example, used for toilet flushing, car washing or in the cooling systems of machines. The remaining solid waste is typically preserved for a few months to properly solidify, and can then be used as fuel.

Do you have any certification related to fair labour conditions? 
We are a member of Fair Wear Foundation (FWF), which is an independent, non-profit organisation that works with brands, factories, trade unions, NGOs, and governments to provide better working conditions for garment workers around the world. Three of the main actions linked to our FWF membership are: social audits of our partner factories; a complaint helpline for factory workers; and training for workers to improve awareness and knowledge about their rights. FWF is a membership which demonstrates our commitment to ensuring human rights are respected in our partner factories. Every year, FWF verifies that we live up to our commitment and that we make sufficient progress in improving working conditions. You can read more in our latest Brand Performance Check report and in our Testimonial brand letter. 

How do you ensure that working conditions are good enough in your partner factories? 
Firstly, all our suppliers must sign our Code of Conduct, in which they commit to ensuring good working conditions. We also have various internal monitoring reports and tools in place, such as internal sustainability audit reports, which allow us to manage both social and environmental conditions at our partner factories. Our local presence in Bangladesh – where we have over 30 people, including a team fully dedicated to sustainability – allows us to see first-hand what the working conditions are like in our partner factories on a daily basis. This helps us to ensure working conditions are good, and means we can take action to improve them whenever needed. 

What is a minimum wage? What is a living wage? 
A minimum wage is the lowest amount an employer can legally pay a worker. In Bangladesh, the government sets the minimum wage for the garment industry together with the Bangladesh Association of Garment Exporters and Manufacturers (BGMEA). This is set for a period of 5 years. The BGMEA requires all its members to adhere to the minimum wage to avoid tension between workers and factory owners.  
A living wage is the minimum amount necessary for a worker to meet their basic needs. The Global Living Wage Coalition defines a living wage as ‘the remuneration received for a standard workweek by a worker in a particular place sufficient to afford a decent standard of living for the worker and her or his family. Elements of a decent standard of living include food, water, housing, education, health care, transportation, clothing, and other essential needs, including provision for unexpected events.’  
Today in Bangladesh, the living wage is estimated to be twice the current minimum wage. 

What concrete actions are you currently taking to close the living wage gap? 
We directly engage with factory owners and managers on the topic through factory visits by our CEO or other people of the management team and we are also involved in initiatives with local communities to directly close the gap between the minimum wage and the living wage. Since 2020, we have supported Fair-priced Grocery Shops for almost 38,000 workers in Bangladesh, where essential food products like rice, lentils, salt and sugar are sold at an almost 50% discount. In 2022, we started a project in India to install a water pump in a remote community to provide access to safe drinking water all year round. We will continue these kinds of initiatives until a systemic solution is found to formally establish a living wage.

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