Responsible Growth

We sell our products in the dynamic world of fashion. We know this industry is ever-changing, constantly pushing boundaries and always developing the next “big thing”. MEES strives for innovation, but wants to grow responsibly. We are continuously looking for improvements in our supply chain. MEES finds it important that people who are working on our products, work under the best working conditions. In a world where populations are growing and resources are finite, MEES believes it’s our industry’s responsibility to channel our creativity to look for new ways of working and developing our products. The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) department at Varova Fashion Group supports us in our steps in becoming more sustainable. Varova Fashion Group is the owner of several Dutch fashion MEESs and determines the CSR policy, which we call Responsible Growth.

1: The agreement on sustainable garment and textile

MEES is proud to announce that we are a frontrunner signing the Agreement on Sustainable Garment and Textile. We have joined forces with more than 60 local Dutch apparel companies, government, NGO’s, trade and labor unions to improve and enhance the sustainability of the international garment and textile supply chain.

MEES signed this agreement on July 4th, 2016. We can look back on a successful year. Firstly, we have mapped the places where our products are made. These locations are checked on their Social Compliance Status and are encouraged and helped to improve the working conditions, if necessary. We have had conversations with the production locations that need some improvements and have made corrective action plans. Furthermore, we have made an overview of our resources’ impact and we have made a list of excluded animal products, which we ban in our production process. We formulated an extended action plan in which we explained how we are going to improve our social and environmental performance. This is handed over to the secretary of the Agreement on Sustainable Garment and Textile at the SER.

Click on the link if you want to learn more about the Agreement on Sustainable Garment and Textile. 

2: Working conditions

We do our utmost best to manage decent working conditions for all employees producing our products, that is why we are a member of the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI), which is part of the Foreign Trade Association. Together with the BSCI we are working on improving our working conditions by accomplishing independent audits and corrective action plans.

We have implemented the BSCI Code of Conduct in our policy, took part in trainings and workshops, and independent audits are executed in our production locations. The results of these audits are sent to the supplier and to us, after which a corrective action plan is made, if necessary. If a supplier complies to our social compliance requirements, the suppliers will be added into our system. Three important themes of the core labor rights that are audited are: occupational health and safety, no bonded labor, and no child labor.

Next to the audits in our production locations, an important objective for MEES is to mitigate the risk on child labor. Varova Fashion Group cooperates with other Dutch fashion companies and NGO’s, such as Unicef and Stop Child Labor, in a Multi Stakeholder Initiative (MSI) to reduce and eventually prevent child labor in our supply Chain.

Want to learn more about the Business Social Compliance Initiative? Visit: www.bsci-intl.org.

3: Environment

MEES is aware of its impact on the environment that we cause by producing many apparel and textile pieces per year. We realize that it’s hard to recover the environment once you’ve spoiled it. Prevention is better than cure! That is why we want to limit our impact or to leave no harm at all.

Raw materials

In order to reduce the environmental impact, we formulated which materials are classified as ‘more sustainable materials’. We strive to use more sustainable materials, like organic cotton, lyocell/tencel and linen in our production. The substitution of conventional cotton by organic cotton is a priority, since this material is used most often by VFG and on the other hand most polluting.

Water pollution, chemicals, water & energy

A huge environmental harm is caused by wet-processing factories, since these processes require energy, chemical input and water input. Our policy focusses on: dying, printing, finishing and washing units. We will, in solid cooperation with our stakeholders, implement research for the best ways to mitigate our impact on water pollution and use of chemicals, water, and energy.

Animal welfare

Varova Fashion Group’s suppliers declared that no products or part of products manufactured for MEES will cause harm or cruelty to animals at any stage of production or transportation in the supply chain. There won’t be use of angora wool, real fur, and no use of skins of protected and exotic animals. Besides, animals must not have been live plucked or molt harvested at any stage in the supply chain. We set ourselves the goal to only buy down at suppliers with a valid down certificate in the future. Suppliers must require evidence from their manufacturers that all merino wool for MEES’s products is mulesing-free. Finally, the use of leather and skins of animal fibers, coming from areas known for bad farming practices or for transporting animals under inhumane conditions, is not permitted.

4: Production locations

Varova Fashion Group produces her privat label clothing in the following countries. The numbers behind the countries show the amount of production locations in that specific country in 2017. Bulgaria (14), China (81), Croatia (1), Fyrom (5), Greece (6), India (54), Indonesia (3), Italy (18), Morocco (1), Pakistan (5), Poland (1), Portugal (11), Romania (3), Spain (1), Tunisia (19), Turkey (48).

5: FAQ’s

Do you have any questions regarding our Responsible Growth policy? Please read our FAQ first, maybe you will find the answer you are looking for. If you still have a question, contact us by e-mail: csr@varovafashion.nl. We will respond as soon as possible.

1. How is the Responsible Growth policy of MEES organized?

Varova Fashion Group is the owner of Gsus, Kings Of Indigo, Tumble 'N Dry, Sissy-Boy, Men At Work, Open 32, Silvercreek, J.C. Rags, Ontour, LESS, MEES, and Miniverse and supports these affiliates where needed. The CSR department of Varova Fashion Group designs the Responsible Growth policy for its 12 affiliates. A part of the production is manufactured in the same production locations, which provides a clear overview of the suppliers. This overview enables Varova Fashion Group to create well established relations and to cooperate with these suppliers to improve the working and environmental conditions.

2. How are the manufacturers of MEES (Varova Fashion Group) inspected?

We are a member of the BSCI (FTA) and use this initiative as a verification and monitoring tool. BSCI enables us to organize social audits at our production locations through independent auditors. The factories and Varova Fashion Group receive the results in an audit report, after which a remediation plan will be designed, if necessary. Please visit www.bsci-intl.org for more information.

3. What actions does MEES (Varova Fashion Group) take to prevent child labor?

Child labor is a zero-tolerance topic in our policy and production process. Other zero-tolerance components are: forced labor and unsafe & unhealthy working conditions. Social audits are performed on our suppliers on a regular basis which provide valid information about the factories. We always discuss the results with the factories with a strong focus on child labor. Moreover, Varova Fashion Group cooperates actively with other Dutch fashion MEESs and NGOs in a Multi Stakeholder Initiative to reduce and prevent child labor in the supply chain.

4. How does MEES (Varova Fashion Group) take animal welfare into account?

Our objective is that none of our products or part of our products should cause harm or cruelty to animals at any stage of production or transportation in the supply chain. We set ourselves the goal to only use materials from animals that are held in good husbandry. Furthermore, we exclude the use of real fur, angora wool and skins of protected or exotic animals. The Varova Fashion Group distinguishes itself from the use and practice of mulesing merino sheep. Down will only be used when it is accompanied with a down certificate

5. Which sustainable materials are used in the production of MEES’s (Varova Fashion Group) apparel?

Sustainable materials are organic materials and materials that are originally sustainable, like linen. With organic production, it is forbidden to use genetic modified seeds, pesticides and chemical fertilizer. In combination with more effective irrigation techniques, this type of production is more sustainable than conventional material acquisition. Varova Fashion Group aims to use more sustainable materials in its production process, like organic cotton, linen, and tencel/lyocell. You will find more of these materials in our products in the future.

6. Where are MEES’s products made?

Our products are manufactured all over the world. An overview of our production locations can be found at block four ‘Production locations’.  

7. Is MEES (Varova Fashion Group) aware of the working conditions at the factories of its non-private label MEES?

Varova Fashion Group is not aware of the working conditions at manufacturers of its non-private label MEESs. Our first focus is the production locations of our own private label fashion MEESs. We know where MEES’s products are made. We will provide more insight in the corporate responsibility process of non-private (third) label MEES's in the near future.