Known for its conscious denim production, Vietnam-based denim manufacturer Saitex is furthering its commitment to the planet and people. Its latest initiative provides work opportunities for differently abled people and those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The project’s first course of action was to create a line of upcycled products such as home goods, apparel, face masks and accessories—all of which was originally funded by Saitex. Now, product sales cover the $3,000 cost of the five-month training program needed to prepare associates.
According to Sanjeev Bahl, CEO and founder of Saitex, the initiative was a natural next step for the ethically focused company.
“Our business model has been built, from day one, with a philosophy to ‘do the right thing,’”he said. “We are driven by our own conscience and guided by a moral compass that guides us every day in our quest to build a world-class, responsible organization. As a certified B-Corp, we are committed to creating a circular economy throughout the supply chain. To realize true circularity, our organization must be responsible in all aspects, including accountability over the effects it has on people and the planet. Saitex strives to not only reduce our impact but also to bring real benefit to our environment and communities.”
This is one of many groundbreaking initiatives from Saitex, which is the world’s first and only denim factory that is Bluesign-approved and Fair Trade and LEED-certified. The manufacturer, which produces for G-Star Raw, Everlane, Outerknown and more, encompasses denim washing, sewing and finishing all on-site, alongside a $2 million recycling system.
The benefits of impact-led businesses such as Rekut are tenfold—Outland Denim, a fellow B Corporation, published research alongside the University of Nottingham Rights Lab stating that not only do they provide direct benefits for the groups they serve, but they also boost economies around the world.
Rekut has its own production line, with all other elements of the supply chain supported by Saitex. The company has already trained 90 associates to date, and aims to bring that number to 1,000—20 percent of Saitex’s workforce—by 2025.
But such significant progress can’t be made on its own. The project welcomes partnerships to increase its impact and expand globally. Saitex worked with partner organizations—including United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Maison Chance, Saigon Children’s Charity CIO, LIN, DRD Center for Disability and Development, CED Center for Research and Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Enablecode and Hear Us Now—to determine how to set up workspaces and recruitment and training processes to best suit workers according to their abilities.
Rekut directly connects to UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 8, which aims to “promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all…including for persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value.”