International Earth Day will be celebrated on 22 April. The day has been celebrated since 1970, with the aim of changing people's behaviour and bringing global, national and local changes for the country and the environment.
We asked Papu's sustainability specialist and founder Anna Kurkela how the environment and responsibility issues can be seen in Papu's operations.
What does responsibility and sustainable development mean for Papu? How is the environment taken into account in Papu's operations?
”The clothing industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world, and our planet cannot stand the fact that we are wearing constantly increasing amounts of clothing. We want to produce quality clothes that are bought less and used for a long time. The desire to act responsibly and do things as well as possible has been a big reason why our company has been founded. It is a way for us to influence the responsibility of the textile sector and the purchasing behaviour of consumers, thereby making the world a better place. I believe that today all companies should have something to change with their own actions.
Sustainability is reflected in all the operations of our company, from material choices to making products in ethically functioning production plants. We aim to minimise the transport journeys of our products and to make the most of environmentally friendly modes of transport. Our goal is that customers fall in love with our products, appreciate them and want to use them for a long time. At the moment, we are focusing in particular on extending the life cycle of the product through various circular economy solutions such as product maintenance and repair services, facilitating the purchase of used products and recycling of end-of-life products into new products and fibres.”
What are the climate impacts of the production and transport of Papu’s clothing?
“Papu’s clothing is manufactured in Europe so that we can maintain close relations with the factories we work with and minimise transportation distances. We mainly use road transport and try to avoid air freight in order to keep the carbon emissions from transport to a minimum. For domestic e-commerce deliveries, we use carbon neutral Post Green deliveries. We also aim to use as few materials as possible that burden the climate and many of our factories use renewable energy, such as solar or wind power.
We are involved in STJM's Carbon Neutral Textile 2035 commitment, which means that we are committed to lowering our carbon footprint annually and actively exploring ways to reduce our carbon footprint. When we come to the point where it is no longer possible to reduce the carbon footprint, we compensate for the remaining emissions. Our goal is to be completely carbon neutral by 2035 at the latest. We have calculated our carbon footprint over the past couple of years. Learn more about this on our Sustainability Peek.”
Cotton cultivation requires a lot of water, as well as fertilizers, chemicals, and pesticides. What are you doing in Papu Design to reduce the environmental load caused by cultivation?
“It is true that growing cotton requires a lot of water and also uses a lot of harmful chemicals to grow ordinary cotton. This is why we always use organic GOTS certified cotton in our products. In organic cotton, these harmful chemicals are not used, water consumption is significantly lower and organic farming binds more carbon dioxide (CO2) to the soil. The GOTS certificate also guarantees fair working conditions for cotton farmers.
We have also tried to replace cotton with other materials. We have made products such as recycled cotton and recycled polyester. We also produce high-quality Lyocell fabric, which is wood-based and environmentally friendly material. The production of Lyocell raw materials does not require fertilisers or further irrigation and the fibre can be manufactured in a closed cycle, which reduces the use of water and chemicals.”
What is Papu Design prepared to do that the earth is a better place to live? And what could customers do for themselves?
”In the clothing industry, it is essential to move on to quality materials and responsible production. We are trying to raise our customers' awareness of what the garment is supposed to cost, so that every person who makes the garment gets fair compensation for making it. In addition, we are actively looking for new operating models to extend the life of the product and to make the product circulate in accordance with the idea of the circular economy as a new product so that as little material as possible would end up being destroyed.
I see that global change must be rapid and radical in order to curb climate change. New innovations will affect many things, such as how energy is produced, what materials are manufactured and used, and I believe that the relationship between people and ownership will also change. I hope that the quick fashion will go down in history and that the purchase of used products will replace that place.
Hopefully, then, in the future, clothing will be produced much less globally and people will value more of the products they own. For customers, I would like to give the following advice: Buy only products that you love and commit to taking good care of. Recycle the product after use to the next happy owner.
We will focus in particular on extending the life cycle of the product and will continue to maintain a high level of product production in the future. Our goal is to bring lasting happiness to the lives of as many people as possible according to our slogan “For Lasting Happiness”.”