We want to build a fantastic business that behaves well
You can’t sleep when you’re worrying about the environment or worker exploitation. We know because we worry too.
The reality is never simple. We are a small business and far from perfect! However, from the beginning we have had high ambitions to build a responsible approach. With every decision we balance customer need with environmental and social impact and we always apply good old fashioned common sense.
Here is how we have approached some of the big decisions so far:
- The team. We are proud of our growing team. We are committed to making Yawn a fantastic place to work and to being a respected employer. We believe in regular 'on the job' development through feedback sessions and external training where possible. Any internships we offer are paid and we pay all employees the London living wage as a minimum. We welcome new team members with a gift from Yawn - and extend a team discount.
- The factories. We personally select our factories and visit them routinely. We believe in long-term partnership and continuous improvement. We will only work with factories that have good working conditions, do not work with child labour and are good employers locally. Our main factory partner is in India and has SA8000 and ISO 9001:2008 and Oeko Tex 100 - global standards that represent an investment from the factory and specifically relate to strong management systems and socially responsible working habits. We have turned down factories on the basis of them not meeting our ethical standards.
- The fabric mills. We produce our own high quality printed cotton in India and only work with well-managed mills that have the same SA8000 global social accountability certification as our factory.
- Slow fashion. We design with a slow fashion philosophy. We create high quality product that provides customers with many years of use. Our products should always be highly affordable on a “cost per use” basis.
- Premium, high quality fabrics. We invest in fabrics that are highly functional and focus on natural fabrics wherever possible. The majority of our nightwear is 100% fine cotton – specially sourced for its high quality, washability and durability.
- Limited air freight. We work to minimize air miles. Our cotton is produced in India, which is also where we manufacture. We build in longer lead times to our production so that we can ship goods as much as possible.
- Care requirements that are environmentally conscious. Our clothes are designed to be low maintenance and therefore have less environmental impact: we recommend line drying and our clothes are washed at 30 degrees
- Minimising plastic. We ship our goods in recyclable cardboard boxes rather than single use plastic which is cheaper. We minimize wasted freight space by designing all shippers to fit our goods as correctly as possible.
- Reusing and recycling packaging. We reuse and recycle packing materials in the office – and encourage customers to send any returns back to us in the existing shipper.
- Printing process without chemical “nasties”. Our fabric printing process is tested by independent garment labs and is free of nasty chemicals such as PCP, ASO, formaldehyde and CFCs.
- Waste water treatment. The fabric mills we work with have a responsible approach to waste water – including GOTS level water conservation and waste management
- Supporting charities. We hold various charitable initiatives – particularly those that support women - including Shelter and Cancer Research UK. We support #givingtuesday as a fundraising opportunity instead of participating in Black Friday.
Aspirations for the future: We are ambitious to do more to improve Yawn’s working practices as we grow and will continue to make social and environmental responsibility a core focus of the business.
Specific targets for 2018/19 (by March 2019):
Here are the specific objectives we will work towards this year.
- Invest time and money this year with advice from sustainability experts who can help us grow in the right way in the years ahead
- Explore the cost of moving to organic cotton across our nightwear. Specifically understand the pricing dynamics of the move and whether our customer (or we, or a combination of the two) would be prepared to pay for the premium
- Increase our fundraising activity around #givingtuesday as a counterpoint to the activities of Black Friday (which we don’t support).
This statement was published June 2018. We will be updating this statement in June 2019 as part of our overall annual business review to reflect our desire to improve our business’s impact on a continuous basis.