Transparency and circularity in the value chain


bonprix is the largest purchaser of cotton produced in accordance with the criteria set out by Cotton made in Africa. This does not come as a surprise, given that the fashion company already demands sustainable cotton for 97 percent of its cotton products in 2019 and plans to raise this figure to 100 percent in 2020. Cotton made in Africa has a very big part in it.

Rien Jansen, Managing
Director of bonprix

Mr. Jansen, as the Managing Director of fashion company bonprix, you rely on intensive cooperation with Cotton made in Africa to achieve your corporate goal of sustainability. What percentage of your overall product range is currently manufactured using material from Cotton made in Africa?

In 2019, Cotton made in Africa comprised 94 percent of our total cotton consumption.

How have your customers reacted to the clear commitment to sustainability made by bonprix?

Especially during the last two years, we have seen a strong tendency towards greater awareness on the topics of durability and responsibility. I am also convinced that the current coronavirus crisis will further increase awareness as it becomes obvious that we have to change our behaviour regarding these crucial issues.

And what has this strategy changed for your employees?

We have been pursuing sustainability and responsibility for a long time. Our employees are highly involved in the general process and really appreciate the way we are handling this. We keep them informed and involved at all times.

Do you see any special developments in 2019 that you achieved in cooperation with Cotton made in Africa?

What I think is special is that we have reached this level of 94 percent. When we started with CmiA, this seemed very far away, and today it is reality! We are very proud of that. Furthermore, we collaborated with the CmiA organisation and select suppliers to test out the Hard Identity Preserved (HIP) system, which ensures the traceability of CmiA cotton from the bale to the final product. One of our suppliers within the HIP system is the company Fine Spinners Ltd. in Uganda, where we are in full control of the supply chain, which affords us full transparency. This is a fantastic project with winners on all sides.

What challenges will textile companies have to face in the future to make their processes and product ranges sustainable?

The challenges in the future will not be very different from the challenges we have had so far. We are defining new goals all the time. For example, now that all our suppliers have been socially audited (BSCI/SA8000) and CmiA is at almost 100 percent, we will
strongly focus on circularity and on transparency in the value chain. The challenge is to keep on winning the full support of our own organisation and that of our business partners. We will certainly face difficult situations, but I am convinced we have to further develop our ability to create and contribute to a cleaner and better world. We are all very motivated, so we will succeed.

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