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Mango Publishes Tier 3 Suppliers as Part of Sustainability Push

Mango kicked off the new year by becoming Spain’s first major fashion company to publicly divulge a list of its Tier 3 suppliers, the retailer revealed Monday.

The move, which follows last year’s publication of its Tier 1 and 2 factories, another Spanish fashion nameplate first, is part of a broader sustainability strategy that aims to provide full traceability and transparency of Mango’s supply chain.

Drilling down this deep isn’t easy. In a 2021 survey of more than 200 brands, retailers, suppliers, manufacturers and sourcing agents in the Asia Pacific, North America and Europe, only 19 percent of respondents claimed to have full visibility of all stakeholders operating across their entire supply chain. Even fewer—15 percent—claimed full traceability of the materials that went into their products.

A 2018 poll of 500 global procurement leaders by Deloitte was even more dismal. In it, 65 percent of respondents admitted to having limited or no visibility beyond Tier 1, where final product assembly happens. For the majority of companies, Tier 3, which involves the processing of raw materials into yarn and other intermediate products, might as well be a black hole.

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But while finding out what they don’t know is one thing, telling the public what they do know is quite another.

When Fashion Revolution analyzed 250 clothing purveyors last year, it found that just under half—48 percent—were disclosing their first-tier suppliers despite it being a transparency low-hanging fruit. The numbers start falling off after that: only 32 percent of the companies revealed their Tier 2 suppliers and 12 percent their Tier 3 or 4 sources. “It begs the question,” the nonprofit group wrote in its Fashion Transparency Index report. “What’s being hidden?”

Mango, in any case, is opening up.

The “growth mode” company worked with 2,400 Tiers 1 to 3 factories worldwide at the close of 2022, roughly half of which it considered “in proximity” to its homeland. Turkey is currently in the lead with 663 Mango contractors, followed by China with 651 and India with 214. Spain, Italy and Bangladesh occupy more distant fourth, fifth and sixth positions with 169, 150 and 132 factories, respectively. In Pakistan, where an expansion of the International Accord for Health and Safety in the Garment Industry was recently announced, Mango sources from 51 factories.

The retailer said it has provided information such as factory name, address, number of employees and type of product in accordance with the requirements of the Transparency Pledge, a “minimum standard” for supply-chain disclosures that asks companies to publish “standardized, meaningful information” on all factories in the manufacturing phase of their supply chains. Besides Mango, other signatories of the Clean Clothes Campaign and Human Rights Watch-backed pledge include Adidas, H&M and The North Face owner VF Corp.

Mango said that this stems from the third pillar of its Sustainable Vision 2030—committed to product, committed to planet and committed to people—that it unveiled last month.

All three underpin a new roadmap that will prioritize materials with lower environmental impact, circular design criteria and worker welfare, the company said.

“The new sustainability strategy is not merely a goal to be fulfilled, but a cross-departmental core value of our company strategy and business model that influences our decision-making and the promotion of projects and actions, so that we can carry out our activities with the lowest environmental and social impact possible,” Mango CEO Toni Ruiz said.

Mango aims to reduce its Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent and its Scope 3 ones by 35 percent by 2030 with an eye on achieving net zero emissions by 2050. Its water footprint also has downsizing aspirations of at least 25 percent by the end of the decade.

Meanwhile, the brand appears cognizant of increasing regulatory scrutiny of green claims—the same one that led H&M to jettison its “Conscious” tag in September. Mango’s “Committed” eco-label, it noted, will be “progressively” replaced with a QR code that will redirect consumers to a website detailing the composition, design and production location of the product “in advance of legislative requirements and in order to offer consumers more valuable information about its garments.”

Mango said it has a team of more than 20 people “directly dedicated” to sustainability. As a result of their efforts, three-quarters of its garments have “sustainable properties.” The retailer also said that 90 percent of its cotton is now “more sustainable,” meaning it derives from organic, recycled or Better Cotton origins. Nearly 30 percent of its polyester is recycled and 63 percent of its cellulose fibers are of controlled origin, it added.

Mango will also “validate the veracity” of its fibers’ sustainability by “demanding” complete traceability and transparency regarding materials and processes from its suppliers. By 2030, more sustainable materials and circular design will “predominate” in Mango products and 100 percent of its fibers will be more sustainable or recycled, it added.

On the social side, Mango will be rolling out over the coming years training projects centered on providing children and women access to education in countries such as Bangladesh, India and Pakistan “so that these become a lever of change for societies,” it said. In regions such as Europe and the United States, the company will bolster its ties with leading universities to “promote the insertion of young people in the job market.”

Mango will also continue to collaborate with global organizations such as the Educo, the Spanish Red Cross, Médicins Sans Frontières, Save The Children and the Vicente Ferrer Foundation to “generate a positive impact on marginalized groups in countries throughout the world and to contribute to the social and economic development in the countries it operates in,” it said.