‘By Malene Birger’ uses material guide for overview and prioritisation

How do you communicate environmental ambitions to your supplier?

Read how ‘By Malene Birger’ uses a continuously updated material guide to ensure direction and understanding both internally and with suppliers.

‘By Malene Birger’ is an international fashion brand selling designer clothes and accessories. For the brand, quality and design are important benchmarks in the company’s journey towards being more sustainable.

The company’s material guide is a fundamental aspect of ‘By Malene Birger’s’ sustainability work. The guide is used as a communication tool to ensure agreement internally and to ensure that BMB’s ambitions are understood among suppliers. With the materials guide, which is updated every six months, focus areas are prioritised based on material consumption and a risk assessment of the various materials, so the company can draw up plans of action and maintain a supplier dialogue about materials of greatest importance in terms of sustainability.

Leather is one specific example. This material makes up a relatively small part of BMB’s material consumption, but the company has nevertheless joined the Leather Working group (LWG), which provides increased insight and enables the company to better focus its sourcing. In tandem with the material guide, it has been decided that leather should be sourced through LWG audited tanneries, while the material guide also communicates the desire to implement better tanning methods.

‘By Malene Birger’ recommends that other companies develop their own value chain overview and identify one area for a wholehearted effort. It is better to succeed at one targeted effort than embark on five initiatives and not really succeed at any of them. With respect to supplier cooperation, it is recommended that you be curious and ask questions because the supplier is often the party with the relevant expertise.

Benefits for the environment

  • Less environmental impact: materials of greatest consumption and worst environmental impact are given high priority.
  • More environmentally friendly materials over time: requirements are continuously strengthened, with regularly updated plans of action for each individual material category.
  • Phasing out the most harmful materials: materials with no prospect of sufficient environmental improvements are being phased out.

“Collaborating with our most important supplier led to the development of a common understanding and knowledge of, for example, documentation in the value chain which we have been able to use in the further dialogue with all of our other suppliers.”

Mette Tvilling, Head of CSR and Sustainability, By Malene Birger.

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