Beyond labels: in conversation with Schijvens Corporate Fashion

Beyond labels: in conversation with Schijvens Corporate Fashion

March 18, 2024

Family business Schijvens Corporate Fashion has been producing corporate clothing for many well-known companies such as Albert Heijn, KLM, Kruidvat en McDonald’s. hey started working on sustainability and social entrepreneurship at an early stage. Erna Heymans🌍💚♻️ from EE Labels talked to CEO Jaap Rijnsdorp about their journey to sustainable entrepreneurship.

Schijvens has been around for 160 years now. When did you start focusing on sustainable and social entrepreneurship?

‘That’s right, the 5th generation is now working within our company. Social entrepreneurship has actually always been there because our company is of course located in a village and things work differently. And we have always been concerned with sustainability. We recently discovered that in the past they always had to hand in the textile scraps – there was even a fine if you didn’t do so. So recycling is not new to us at all.

‘After seeing the documentary ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ (from 2006) we were really in shock. Until then, we were actually unaware of how polluting our industry was. And once you know that, you no longer go to work with the same feeling in the morning. So then we started looking into this more and we thought ‘what are we actually doing together?’. We then started looking at what we could do to do business more sustainably. And then we came across recycling company Gama and they said ‘yes, I think it can be done differently’.

What do you do differently now?

‘We have taken a critical look at our supply chain. We chose fewer different suppliers and started working more closely with a few important suppliers (also called our ‘value chain’). Together with these partners we looked at what we were encountering. In this way we have been able to further develop in the field of sustainability. This includes giving cutting waste a new purpose, focusing heavily on recycling and sending a child to school (and paying a salary) when we receive a report of child labor.

‘It is mainly about your own responsibility and that your supply chain is open and honest towards each other. We all know each other and to maintain this way of working, there is daily contact via an app group and we all also see each other physically once a year during our supplier meeting, which we have been organizing somewhere in the world since 2013. Once a year physically’. The dialogue is so very important. “What do you need and what can I do?” This is how we understand and help each other.

How are you doing now?

‘Schijvens now scores 88 out of 100 points on the Fair Wear Brand Performance Check due to her approach and therefore falls into the Leader category. Many social matters are therefore well arranged in Schijvens’ Value Chain. But sometimes you also encounter things that did not go well. And then due diligence is extremely important. You have audits carried out to see what is going on in a factory: in the areas of discrimination, trade union freedom (also in countries where trade unions are even banned), safety measures, child labor and forced labor, but also accounting research into payments of wages, and we have recently also started mapping the environmental risks at the dyers we work with’.

‘At Schijvens Corporate Fashion we have been aware for years that continuing with the traditional way of production is no longer feasible in the long term. We strive for an economy in which today’s goods form the basis for tomorrow’s products; a circular economy. Currently, three quarters of what we produce is sustainable, but we want to increase that. Our mission is to produce sustainable, post-consumer corporate fashion (driven by pre-owned clothing) that employees wear with pride and pleasure.

We have a long way to go, but we are on the right track. And if we continue to believe in that and continue to work on it, despite all the bumps that entails, then there is a world to be won.

Worldwide local production of EE Labels for Schijvens

Two family businesses and the 5th generation is now active at both. “That ensures recognition and contributes to pleasant cooperation.” says Marloes Evers, 5th generation at EE labels. “Thanks to our network with our own factories in the Netherlands and Turkey, and partners in India, Vietnam, Hong Kong and China, we provide branding for our customers worldwide. EE Labels guarantees the same appearance and quality worldwide. By producing the labels and hang tags locally in large quantities, costs and CO2 emissions are saved. Transport is minimized by this way of working. Due to large bulk productions, various factories can call on EE Labels in small quantities, the orders are shipped within 24 hours.”

Step by step and together we make the best choices and offer solutions. On to textile production with minimal impact on the environment, so that future generations can also enjoy it.