Vegan equipment model Matt and Nat started in 1995, when its founders turned impressed by the MAT(T)erial and NATure they have been surrounded by in gorgeous Montreal, Canada. Although Matt & Nat is clearly doing nice on the animal welfare entrance, how does it charge when it comes to its environmental insurance policies and labour requirements?
Veganism has gone mainstream, and with it, the demand for vegan clothes has gone skywards. Add to that the devastating impacts of the trendy leather-based business and it’s simple to see why Matt & Nat’s cruelty-free equipment have developed a loyal following. However is being vegan sufficient to be really moral?
Environmental Impression: Not Good Sufficient
Matt & Nat does use sustainable and recycled supplies in its designs, together with recycled nylon, cork, rubber and even recycled bicycle tyres. It additionally recycles supplies that will in any other case find yourself in landfill – all linings utilized in its merchandise are comprised of 100% recycled plastic bottles, which is a good transfer.
Sadly, whereas Matt & Nat’s use of sustainable supplies needs to be recommended, the model’s mostly used supplies are polyurethane (PU) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic. Sadly, PVC might be the one most environmentally-damaging plastics! Made out of chlorine and petroleum, the manufacturing strategy of PVC use a number of sources, and it releases a number of poisonous chemical compounds. It comprises nasty substances comparable to phthalates and dioxins, which plenty of research have proven to doubtlessly trigger antagonistic well being results together with most cancers and beginning defects. Considerations surrounding these chemical compounds have led Greenpeace to name for the discontinuation of PVC manufacturing altogether.
The model says it prefers to make use of the much less dangerous PU over PVC the place potential. Nonetheless, it’s not clear precisely how a lot PVC is used – it doesn’t clearly checklist the supplies utilized in every of their merchandise.
What’s extra, there isn’t any proof the model is decreasing its carbon and different greenhouse fuel emissions, or that it avoids hazardous chemical compounds in its provide chain.
Matt & Nat might enhance its rating by being extra clear in regards to the supplies and chemical compounds it makes use of in its merchandise. The model might additionally present further details about the way it addresses the influence of its operations on the setting.
Labour Insurance policies: Not Good Sufficient
Matt & Nat’s merchandise are made in small factories in China, a high-risk nation for poor labour circumstances. The model states that it solely works with factories that function in keeping with its ethos and says it often verifies manufacturing unit circumstances are as much as customary. Nonetheless, it doesn’t state precisely how usually it visits the factories. It additionally fails to say what particular measures it undertakes to make sure that these requirements are being upheld. It gives no proof that it has, or requires suppliers to make use of, a Code of Conduct.
Matt & Nat states that one in all its factories is licensed below the SA8000 customary, which ensures the essential human rights of its staff by offering a enough dwelling wage, no discrimination and a protected office. The model additionally maintains that every one its factories qualify for the SA8000 customary certification and that it’s taking steps to make the usual an even bigger a part of the manufacturing course of sooner or later, with out specifying what steps they’re taking or when they are going to be carried out.
As well as, Matt & Nat’s use of PVC to provide a few of its merchandise poses a major threat to manufacturing unit staff and producers. Most concerningly, vinyl chloride, the chemical used to make PVC, is a recognized human carcinogen in keeping with the World Well being Organisation’s Worldwide Company for Analysis on Most cancers (IARC). Employees in factories that manufacture PVC are in danger from excessive publicity to those chemical compounds. They’ll additionally contaminate the encompassing air, waterways and soil doubtlessly affecting these in close by communities.
As well as, whereas PU is kinder on the setting than PVC, it isn’t an ideal leather-based different. PU releases poisonous compounds referred to as isocyanates. These may cause lung irritation, set off bronchial asthma assaults and irritate pores and skin. That is significantly dangerous to manufacturing unit staff who’re often uncovered.
Matt & Nat wants to supply extra details about its labour requirements, and the way its use of poisonous chemical compounds in its manufacturing processes impacts its staff earlier than it may obtain a better ranking.
Animal Welfare: Nice
No room for enchancment right here! Matt & Nat are a completely vegan model that use no animal merchandise.