When it comes to sustainability, even if a producer is doing the right thing, the impact of their efforts is limited if they can’t show their work.
The farmers and growers for Chargeurs Group’s wool division, Chargeurs Luxury Materials, have long been producing with ethical practices. But in 2017, the company decided to make its sustainability efforts more apparent with the creation of the branded wool fiber NATIVA™.
Chargeurs’ CLM division has been in the wool business for more than 60 years, with historical wool fiber knowhow, international sourcing and industrial footprint with teams across the globe. NATIVA™ was born as a result of heritage, expertise and the needs of the industry.
The wool brand’s positioning is grounded in sustainability and traceability. Along with following Textile Exchange’s Responsible Wool Standard, the farms that supply NATIVA™ are also held to a second proprietary code developed by the group. The NATIVA™ Protocol includes four pillars surrounding animal welfare, land management, social responsibility and traceability via blockchain technology.
“Apart from the trend towards customer awareness about sustainability, all brands should have the mission to adjust their activities to nature’s needs,” said Federico Paullier, managing director of Chargeurs Luxury Materials. “The NATIVA™ fiber brand, including the certification according to the NATIVA™ Protocol, was born as a solution, which can help brands overcome their sustainability and transparency challenge.”
Chargeurs took the NATIVA™ transparency commitment a step further by developing a new digital way of communicating the brand’s sustainable values to consumers. A first-of-its-kind for wool fiber, the NATIVA™ Blockchain solution visually traces the journey of wool from global farms to wool-top combing mills, yarn spinners, weavers, knitters and garment producers.
This information then becomes available to the customer at retail. By simply scanning a QR code on a product tag, consumers can pull up a microsite of content about the value chain partners behind their NATIVA™ wool garment. For instance, consumers can see videos profiling farmers and put a name and a face to the fiber origins. This turns what can be a complex topic into something more visual that can be easily digested by the end customer.
The NATIVA™ Blockchain technology allows brands and retailers to have revolutionary transparency with real-time traceability of their garments from farm to final product, and gives this value to its brand partners as well as the end customer.
This transparent blockchain platform makes NATIVA™ and its B2C partners outliers in the industry. According to Fashion Revolution’s 2020 Transparency Index, just 7 percent of brands disclose the names of their raw material suppliers. Chargeurs attributes this dearth of raw material information in part to the difficulty that brands face in setting up traceability solutions on their own, pointing to the importance of partnership.
Madewell has become one of the early adopters of NATIVA™ and its blockchain technology. More than just a supplier-buyer relationship, the two likeminded companies collaborated to develop a signature version of NATIVA™ specifically for Madewell customers. Dubbed Insuluxe, the fabric is 68 percent NATIVA™, blended with cashmere, polyamide and polyester.
“At Madewell, we’re inspired by NATIVA™’s dedication to social, environmental and animal welfare,” said Angela DiMaiolo, director of fabric research development at Madewell. “Their commitment to transparency, sustainability and responsibility aligns closely with our principles as a brand. It’s rare to discover a fiber supplier with such integrity for their product and people, and we’re honored to work with them.”
In early October, Madewell debuted three coat styles with the fiber, which naturally makes the jackets wind- and water-resistant and can keep the wearer warm to temperatures as low as 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
“Our collaboration with Madewell came quite naturally through long-standing relationships with the Madewell sourcing and sustainability teams,” said Malvina Hoxha, director of North America at Chargeurs Luxury Materials. “The Madewell business was built on the startup mentality of innovation, differentiation and listening closely to customer feedback loop, which is a great fit for the solutions that NATIVA™ brings to the wool market.”
Beyond offering support from a consumer-facing sustainability marketing perspective, NATIVA™ gives Madewell measurable ways to track how it is meeting its own goals for corporate social responsibility. Traceability is one part of Madewell’s responsible sourcing policy, allowing the brand to certify where its raw materials are coming from and ensure that their production is not hurting but is rather helping people and the planet.
“There’s an increased interest in transparency; more and more people are looking for brands to disclose what goes into making their garments,” said Gonzalo Pertile, director, corporate social responsibility at Madewell. “NATIVA™ certified wool is fully traceable to the farms where sheep are raised, and it provides the assurance that farms comply with strict levels of animal welfare, land management and ethical work policies. Our partnership with NATIVA™ is a groundbreaking opportunity to implement more sustainable practices and share details of every step of our supply chain with our customers.”
To learn more about NATIVA™, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow us on LinkedIn and Instagram or visit our website. And click here to shop the Madewell Insuluxe collection.