Tonlé Code of Conduct and Sustainability Progress - 2021
There’s been a lot of talk lately within the sustainable fashion community about how transparency is not enough, and for good reason. Large corporations that made promises of sustainability gains in 2019 failed to follow through with the most basic ethical component to pay their workers fairly, on time and honestly, pay their workers period. The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed in great clarity the fundamental failings of the fashion system at taking care of its people on the most basic level. In addition, recent data, collected and highlighted in the Mckinsey and BoF report for 2022, suggests that more power and wealth was consolidated in the fashion industry in 2020 and 2021, meaning the top brands grew and increased their overall production and profit margins, and on the whole smaller brands lost value or shuttered, while commitments to sustainability by those generating the most profit waned or were ignored completely. In other words, despite more customer demand and more talk about sustainability, the fashion industry’s growth is outpacing it’s sustainability efforts, and so, overall is becoming less sustainable.
In contrast to the majority of fashion brands - tonlé is vertically integrated and our production team and brand team functions as one unit, and that is something thing which we are quite proud of. We take full accountability for all of our team members' salaries and well-being while they are in our workplace—and honestly for an ethical or sustainable brand, that should be the bare minimum. At tonlé we are striving to go beyond that, to facilitate conversations about equity and justice across the fashion industry, about redistribution, about power about who holds it and why. We are challenging ourselves to do better, even during a pandemic and supply chain crisis, even during the most challenging of times we have ever seen for our business and for the industry.
At tonlé, because our brand, design, marketing, and production are integrated, all of our systems are designed to benefit our makers first. If a marketing campaign isn’t good for our team, we won’t do it. If a product is too hard to make, we’ll change the design to fit the needs of production. If we can’t get certain fabric, we choose something different. And if we have to stop production, we’ll move margin from the brand side of the equation over to the production side to cover extra costs incurred by extraordinary events like the Covid-19 pandemic.
All this being said, we know that more transparency is needed to “prove” that we’re doing what we say we’re doing. However, we’ve struggled to find the right certifications to give our customers that transparency, while at the same time tempering a need from our customers to use tokenizing stories. On top of that, certifications and audits are expensive, we’ve opted to put that money into actually doing the sustainability work and returning that money to our team, rather than telling you that we’re sustainable. Most certifications follow a model of compliance that holds the factories accountable for the bad incentives a brand is creating. Within supply chains, it is brands, and their investors, who have the most power, taking most of the profit and few of the risks. Yet, sustainability enthusiasts still emphasize a model of transparency which inadvertently assumes the factory managers are the bad guys, out to make a quick buck and exploit their workers if brands don’t keep them in check. As such, we’ve struggled with the “right” way to tell our story and share with transparency what customers need, while also opting to reinvest internally in our team.
Instead, we would like to see more brands take direct responsibility for their team’s well beings, and see makers as core to their business. We know that’s un-realistic for most in the short run, so we’d also like to see more brands talking about what they can do better internally to really treat their suppliers as partners, not only in creating goods but also in sharing knowledge, ideas and sustainability solutions. And as such, give those partners a fair share of resources, tools, and investments to make the sustainability changes that are so deeply needed.
As our friend, advisor, and former COO at tonlé, Kim Van Der Weerd has put it, “what incentives am I creating for my suppliers to behave badly and how can I create the right incentive structures for all of us to do right by our people?”
Since we want more brands to ask this of themselves, we do need to lead by example. So we've put together a "Code of Conduct" that illustrates the principals and commitments our business makes to each person who works with us, joins our team, and purchases our products. Instead of asking compliance of our suppliers, we commit to up-holding these principals first, and then ask them to do the same, as well as having in depth conversations and analysis about what tools and resources they need to do so. We hold the opinion that most suppliers do not want to exploit their workers, and that the people with the most power have the most responsibility to change these practices, that is, brands and investors. As a brand and a manufacturer, it is our responsiblity to ensure that our team and any external suppliers have what they need to produce for our customers in an ethical and values aligned way.
In the long run, we’d like to see more external standards that are both in line with our values, and that are affordable for brands like us who are actually doing the work, not just talking about it. But in the short term, in liu of third party certifications, we’ve also provided testimonials from experts who have visited our workshop which you can see here.
In the following code of conduct, we commit to ten Principles of Fair Labor and Responsible Sourcing (and/or Production) and agree to uphold the FLA Workplace Code of Conduct in our work as a part of a supply chain of consumer goods. This Code of Conduct is based on International Labour Organization (ILO) standards, and seeks to protect the workers who manufacture the clothing, footwear, agricultural products and other items enjoyed by consumers around the world. We (the tonlé team) view these guidelines as a baseline requirement for doing business, rather than as a goal. We use this as a non-negotiable starting point for how we operate our business. We have included in italics words guidelines from the FLA code of conduct. The rest of this document illustrates how we are going above and beyond them.
In addition to these sources, we have used inspiration from Remake's recent fashion accountability report to help document and demonstrate our work, as well as evaluate where we can grow. Some of the tools available to larger brands for monitoring and demonstrating their environmental gains are not accessible to us, but nevertheless, we appreciate the intention of holding larger brands to account and endeavor to hold ourselves accountable to the best we can and keep working on the areas where we can grow.
We also go above and beyond the principals of Fair Trade (FT) as defined by the the WFTO. We have also mentioned in parenthesis where we see these intersecting with our commitments.
1. Employment Relationship
1. Employers shall adopt and adhere to rules and conditions of employment that respect workers and, at a minimum, safeguard their rights under national and international labor and social security laws and regulations.
2. Each tonlé team member has a contract that follows the guidelines of the Cambodian labor law and goes above and beyond it with this code of conduct. All of our makers are employees and receive the benefits owed to them as part of their employment, regardless of the company’s sales or financial success. In cases of extreme duress such as the Covid 19 pandemic and government lockdowns in Cambodia, makers were still paid their salaries and benefits despite not being able to work. Unlike a traditional brand who can cancel an order and have no repercussions, tonlé takes direct responsibility for each employee by hiring them directly.
2. NondiscriminationNo person shall be subject to any discrimination in employment, including hiring, compensation, advancement, discipline, termination or retirement, on the basis of gender, race, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, nationality, political opinion, social group or ethnic origin. Every employee shall be treated with respect and dignity. No employee shall be subject to any physical, sexual, psychological or verbal harassment or abuse. (FT principal 5)
3. Forced Labor
- There shall be no use of forced labor, including prison labor, indentured labor, bonded labor or other forms of forced labor in the making of any tonlé products.
4. Child Labor
- No person shall be employed under the age of 15 or under the age for completion of compulsory education, whichever is higher.
- We do not employe any workers younger than 18.
5. Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining
Employers shall recognize and respect the right of employees to freedom of association and collective bargaining.
- Again according to our contracts with our employees, all team members in Cambodia have the right to collective bargaining and unionization should they choose to do so. In addition, regular meetings with each individual on the team as well as team meetings give opportunities for airing of grievances as well as contributing to plans and decision making. Team members also have a process to submit anonymous grievances, though this has rarely been used.
- In cases of disagreements with management and team members, mediation has been undertaken in order to work with team members to come to a resolution. In the cases where a resolution was not reached to continue their employment, the dispute was settled with tonlé paying severance to the team member in accordance with or above and beyond the Cambodian labor law. This has only happened twice in our 14 years since founding. Most disputes have been able to be resolved through either group or one-on-one mediation to come to a mutually benneficial understanding between team members and management. All team members also have a direct line of contact to US management either through slack or facebook messenger, though this is usually used to connect and share good news.
6. Health & Safety
Employers shall provide a safe and healthy workplace setting to prevent accidents and injury to health arising out of, linked with, or occurring in the course of work or as a result of the operation of employers’ facilities. Employers shall adopt responsible measures to mitigate negative impacts that the workplace has on the environment.
- We ensure a safe working environment that satisfies at a minimum all local statutory regulations. We provide a work environment that feels more like a sewing circle than an assembly line. We follow a lean manufacturing model, and workers are encouraged to learn new skills and join different teams. During training, both the trainee and the trainer are paid, and production team members can request training whenever they would like to learn a new skill. So, all of our production team have an opportunity to learn new skills and understand how a whole garment is put together, which makes their skills more transferable should they want to start their own business or have a higher-level position at tonlé or elsewhere. In addition to this we provide some health care benefits, free lunches every day, generous vacation packages, and team retreats. (PT principal 4)
- Tonlé trades goods which are environmentally friendly. Learn more about our zero-waste mission here. (FT principal 10)
- We strive to reduce toxins in our workshop and in the natural environment in which we operate. Read more about our efforts to reduce water pollution here.
7. Hours of Work
Employers shall not require workers to work more than the regular and overtime hours allowed by the law of the country where the workers are employed. The regular work week shall not exceed 48 hours. Employers shall allow workers at least 24 consecutive hours of rest in every seven-day period. All overtime work shall be consensual. Employers shall not request overtime on a regular basis and shall compensate all overtime work at a premium rate. Other than in exceptional circumstances, the sum of regular and overtime hours in a week shall not exceed 60 hours.
- Tonlé: In our workshop in Phnom Penh where the majority of our finished goods are made, all of our team members are paid a base salary plus a bonus per piece rate, and work no more than 45 hours per week. In doing so, they are able to earn 1.5-3X that of a typical garment factory worker in Cambodia, within a normal working day, whereas in a typical factory it is normal to work 3-4 hours of overtime per day in order to earn a living wage.
8. CompensationEvery worker has a right to compensation for a regular work week that is sufficient to meet the worker’s basic needs and provide some discretionary income. Employers shall pay at least the minimum wage or the appropriate prevailing wage, whichever is higher, comply with all legal requirements on wages, and provide any benefits required by law or contract. Where compensation does not meet workers’ basic needs and provide some discretionary income, each employer shall work with the FLA to take appropriate actions that seek to progressively realize a level of compensation that does.
- Tonlé is committed to trade with concern for the social, economic and environmental well-being of makers, workers, and team members across our business. This means equitable commercial terms, fair wages and fair prices, not just for the workers making our products, but also for every person who contributes to our business. Unfair trade structures, mechanisms, practices and attitudes will be identified and avoided.
- At tonlé, we are committed to the principals of Fair trade and go above and beyond the guidelines set by FLA and the ILO. We ascertain that all persons who have worked on a product that is made, sold, or distributed by tonlé are paid a living wage.
- Tonlé also partners with other groups that adhere to fair trade practices. While the majority of our products are made by our in-house production team, we work to source raw materials whenever possible from other maker groups who adhere to our values. We also sell select products on our site that were created by other makers who align with our values internationally and in the US. We work with them to ensure they are also operating in step with our Code of Conduct, and make sure that they have the tools and finances necessary to do so.
- US employees: We use the MIT living wage calculator to ensure that all our US based employees, including those who work on distribution and shipping of our products as well as thoes who support in marketing and sales functions, are paid a living wage for the locations where they live and work. Our team is currently remote and has 4 people across 3 states.
- Cambodian employees and makers: We used data from Wage Indicator as well as in depth conversations with team members to confirm we are paying at least a living wage to all makers at tonlé who are in Cambodia. In addition, we work with our external partners on pricing and terms to ensure they can also pay a living wage to their teams.
- Internships: We do not work with unpaid interns to perform core functions of our business, unless there is a specific educational requirement of their internship and they are receiving credit for their work towards a degree. All interns aside from credited internships, are paid a living wage commensurate with the location they are living and working in.
- External service providers and freelancers: We work to ensure that models, photogrphaers, and any other contractors are paid fairly for their work and are earning at least (and usually more than) an hourly living wage commensurate with the location they are living and working in. While we do not bargain with models, photographers and other content creators on the value of their work, we also have to temper the payments we are able to make with fair payment across the board in our business. In other words, payments to models and photographers cannot be dramatically more than other contributors to tonlé. While we understand that freelancers need to charge more for their work, we also seek to ensure that no one is un-duly profiting off the labor of our team, weather internal or external to tonlé. We view partners as co-creators in shared value, and seek to make all of our relationships mutually beneficial in a way that creates value rather than extracts.
9. Investing in People, Not Corporations
- Marketing: Whenever possible, we seek to align our marketing budget with those who are values aligned. In other words, we would rather our budget go to paying someone who is aligned with our values rather than to a tech company who is participating in value extraction rather than shared value creation. Nevertheless, this is sometimes unavoidable because the majority of available sales pipelines are controlled by a select few corporatins. As such, we seek to have less than 10% of our overall budget going to corporations who’s values we do not align with, and less than 25% of our overall marketing budget. This also includes banks, software companies, etc.
- We invest our resources in people, not corporations, whenever possible. In the last 5 years, we have always retained the above proportions of spending towards these corporations with the exception of shipping. In the last two years, we have endeavored to ship more of our products with DHL (internationally) and USPS (within the US) which are slightly more values aligned than Fedex, who we try to avoid working with whenever possible.
10. Outsourcing, Subcontracting, and Raw Materials
- In house production - The majority of tonlé's products are made by our own team, and the majority of our materials are scraps from larger garment factories and are considered waste before we turn them into new pieces. However, we do partner with some small producers in Cambodia which are primarily Cambodian led, owned, and operated. With each of these partners, we work with them on fair pricing, terms, and payment structures. We work with groups who are already upholding similar standards to tonlé and ensure they are meeting our code of conduct through many in person visits and conversations. We ensure that our practices as a brand help incentivize them to do the best they can to uphold these standards and pay their teams fairly and on time.
The following is a list of the other brands and cooperatives we work with and how much value tonlé is creating for them and vice versa.
- Dorsu - Cambodian owned brand that also works with remnant and deadstock materials from garment factories. Dorsu is committed to a similar set of principals as tonlé. We have worked with them to establish fair pricing and terms both ways. Tonlé is just one of their many clients.
- Manava - Brand that is Khmer Co-owned that uses all natural wild harvested rattan. Prices are set by the team and the makers, we have ascertained that their wages and terms are fair and in line with our code of conduct. Tonlé is just one of their many clients.
- Weaves of Cambodia - locally owned Cambodian worker co-op - work directly with them on a weekly basis to ensure fair pay and transparency. This workshop makes all of our in-house zero waste textiles in partnership with our team. They are paid a combination of salaries and piece rates in order to ensure consistent and fair pay that is in line with our code of conduct. Most of the team at Weaves are disabled, and tonlé alongside their team has made provisions to cater to their specific needs and talents. We have also made sure that all team activities such as retreats and team building are accessible to all. While Weaves is an independent organization, they function as part of the tonlé team and work cooperatively with our own team. Tonlé is their main client and as such has made significant investments in their infrastructure, team, and in paying for orders even when our own sales were down to ensure they could pay their team in accordance with our CoC.
- Loyuyu - Small, worker co-op ceramics workshop in Siem Reap, Cambodia - spoke directly to makers to ensure the pricing and wages were fair and in line with our pay structures. Have visited on multiple occasions. In house team and Loyuyu team communicate regularly. Tonlé is just one of their many clients.
- Watthan - WFTO guaranteed - locally owned Cambodian worker co-op - we sometimes order buttons and other notions from them made out of reclaimed wood. Watthan has many clients and is self-sufficient, and is thoughtful about pricing in order to ensure fair pay, working conditions, and transparency. Tonlé is only a small contributor to their work. Watthan also works with many artisans with disabilities and their workshop is also set up to cater to their unique needs and talents and to be safe and accessible.
- Tonlé aims to be transparent in our work with our production partners, employees, customers, and investors. Tonlé will openly share financial information, management policies, business practices, product sources, production, marketing and development program plans on a regular basis. This openness is tempered with respect to sensitive commercial or political information. We aim to be a leader in the sustainable fashion movement and set a high bar for best practices within industry. In this article, we provide an in-depth look at our financial picture over the last 2 years. (FT principal 2)
11. Fashion Justice
- The fashion industry—much like the capitalist system it is a part of—operates on a model of exploitative extraction that is rooted in the long history of colonialism. Colonial power dynamics and inequity persist in the modern fashion industry in many ways, from unfair pay structures to reinforcing harmful stereotypes. Such dynamics bolster an unfair balance of risk and reward across the “supply chain,” where people at “the top” become extremely wealthy by exploiting the people at “the bottom.”.
- The fashion industry is producing at an ever-increasing rate, with new garments being released every week instead of every season. Fast fashion is only the most recent industry development that increases wealth for a few at the expense of the planet and of human lives. Rather than working to improve a destructive system, we at tonlé believe it’s time for a radical rethink of what fashion can— and should— look like.
- Tonlé’s organizational structure reflects a commitment to justice, fair employment, public accountability and progressive work practices, while involving workers in decision-making and management as often as possible. Tonlé promotes a work environment for our producers that is open and communicative. With our team, we regularly host meetings in which we discuss major financial decisions and growth opportunities. We also aim to promote producers to management positions as often as possible. Our entire production team in Cambodia is Cambodian and woman-led, which is unusual in typical garment factories within the country. (Ethical Issues - FT principal 3)
- Tonlé promotes development which improves the quality of life and which is sustainable for and responsible to both people and the natural world. Trading activities do not violate indigenous peoples’ claims on land or any resources of vital importance to their way of life. Tonlé also participates in redistribution efforts in areas where it does business and where there has been a history of forcefully removing people from their land. (Example: Reclaim Black Friday) (FT principal 6)
- Tonlé respects producers’ cultural traditions and natural resources, and promotes producers’ artistic, technological and organizational knowledge, (FT principal 8) without tokenisization or cultural appropriation. We recognize that not all traditional craft is meant to be comodified, and we have deep conversations with our team and other potential partners as to the correct use and applications of traditional designs. When we make mistakes in this regard, we are honest about them and share them in order that others may learn.
12. Respect for Animals
- Tonlé does not and has not used leather or any other animal based materials in our supply chain since 2010. On occasion, we have found partners we have worked with to be using leather in their work and have worked to transition to alternative materials with those makers. We believe that leather, in particular, is adding dramatically to the climate and social crises we are facing and is toxic for environments and the most vulnerable workers.
- We also do not support the use of plastic and synthetic based alternatives to leather. We prefer to use upcycled materials whenever possible and this sometimes contains upcycled synthetic materials, but we always avoid the use of even upcycled animal-based products.
- We do not discriminate against Indigenous people who are using animals in a respectful way, but as a brand that largely sells to the global north, we cannot condone the practices within global supply chains, largely built through colonization, for animal products. When we discuss our advocacy around leather, we are careful to acknowledge that this is a problem that has been caused by huge agro business and coporations, not small and indigenous farmers or hunters.
13. Education and Advocacy
- Tonlé is working toward a more just and equitable fashion system, not just by encouraging people to change consumption patterns, but also in our efforts to participate in advocacy and using our platform for education. (FT principal 9) We strive to increase public and corporate consciousness of alternative trade as an effective means to change unfair international trade structures and attitudes. We have advocated for and signed onto campaigns such as The Pay Up Fashion Campaign, the SB62 Bill, the Supply Change campaign, Reclaim Black Friday, and the Circular Fashion Pledge.
14. Leadership structure, team makeup and management
- Our leadership team is made up of a diverse group of people, many of whom are historically marginalized by the fashion industry. All members of our leadership team have experienced one or more of the following systems of oppression in no particular order: Racisim, Gender based violence and Patriarchy, Classism, Homophobia, Transphobia, Islamophobia, Ableism, Classism, and Colonialsm. We don’t list these to compare them, but to acknowledge how intersections of these systems of oppression cause greater harm and that we must each recognize our relatively privilege and intersectional identities to rectify harm that we contribute to or benefit from.
- At tonlé, in addition to our leadership team, makers are involved in our decision making at every level of our business and the entire team is consulted on big changes in the business. Makers have opportunities to rise into leadership roles and we try to hire and train internally whenver possible.
By numbers, Here is how our leadership team is currently made up:
- 12 people total covering finance, opperations, design, marketing
- 4 people are based in the US (33%) and 8 are based in Cambodia (66%)
- 8 are Cambodian (6 cis women, 1 trans man, 1 cis man) (66%)
- 2 are Black American women (16%)
- 2 are white American women (16%)
- 2 are openly queer or trans (16%)
- 1 is disabled (8%)
- Total racial makeup of the leadership team is 2 white people (16%) and 10 People of the Global Majority, or BIPOC (84%)
15. Sustainability, Growth and Circularity
- We acknowledge that the pursuit of exponential growth of material goods, which ultimately outstrips all environmental sustainability efforts, is incompatible with the 1.5 degree pathway. As such, we not only seek to reduce our own carbon footprint and reduce waste generated by other brands, but also provide a platform for advocacy and visionary change for the larger industry.
- Tonlé has been using upcycled materials since 2008, before the terms “ethical fashion”, “zero-waste”, and “circularity” were widely in use. We also see most of the ways these terms are being used now as greenwashing, and that is frustrating since we have been quietly here, upcycling thousands of pounds of other people’s waste for more than a decade. While greenwashing is rampant, we believe our model is significantly different and important. Not only are we using waste generated by others, but we also work to use every scrap that comes into our workshop. Read more about our zero-waste process here.
- Circularity is not a new concept. In fact, before the industrial revolution and colonialism, most communities in the world were living in a more circular way. Waste is a distinctly modern invention.
- We view what we are doing as a return to ancestral knowledge and more reciprocal ways of working with the earth and all her people, and we work to un-do the harm caused by these modern systems. True circularity requires not only creating new technologies, but radically re-thinking and re-creating systems.
In a tangible way, here’s how we are reducing our contribution to climate change:
- “Delivering the emissions reduction needed to reach a 1.5-degree pathway would imply a large dietary shift: reducing the share of ruminant animal protein in the global protein-consumption mix by half, from about 9 percent in current projections for 2050 to about 4 percent by 2050.” (Mckinsey) Read our article explaining how leather actually drives the beef industry.
- We are working to reduce the impact of our workshop by installing and optimizing solar (Currently done but it is not working effectively) and building a modernized, highly energy efficient workshop within the next 2 years. By contrast, most factories in Cambodia are relying on either coal powered energy or even burning rainforest wood and petroleum based fabric scraps to generate electricity.
- Working on shipping more efficiently in order to reduce the footprint of our shipping. That means batching larger orders and moving towards more sea-shipping. It also means moving towards more lean manufacturing to accurately predict customer demand without putting increased pressure on workers or the environment.
- According to Mckinsey, “Across the board, embracing the circular economy and boosting efficiency would enable a wide cross-section of industries to decrease GHG emissions, reduce costs, and improve performance.” We believe that in increasing our operational efficiencies through technology and new equipment we could reduce our overal carbon footprint. We are also working with a made-to-order and made-to-measure software platform to reduce waste by increasing overall customer satisfaction, and encouraging customers to buy fewer, better things.
- At the end of the day, it’s not the small brands like tonlé that need to focus on de-growth. In fact, by some metrics we are actually helping to clean up the waste of the bigger players and are thus helping them in their (lack of) sustainability efforts. But, we cannot make a big enough dent on our own. Advocacy, and customer education to put pressure on the larger systems is also part of our impact.
- Tonlé has participated in reforrestation efforts in Cambodia through funding and co-promotions.
- We are working on developing a small agroforestry business that utilizes wild-harvested Kapok - an abundant raw material in Cambodia that grows on large trees and does not require additional environmental inputs. This will be implemented by Q2 of 2022.
- We are also investing in projects to sustainably harvest wild plants and preserve natural ecosystems in Cambodia, including rattan and water hyacinth. Some of the products in our supply chain are already made from these wild harvested materials, and we aim to ramp this up.
- By using more renewable sources of energy to power our opperations - we are avoiding participating in the deforestation that is rampant in the garment sector in Cambodia, where wood from rainforests is often burned for fuel.
- Packaging made from trees: in 2021, we used approximately 1,411.3 pounds of post-consumer recycled cardboard and 260.0 pounds of virgin cardboard in our packaging, resulting in a net reduction of 9.8 trees saved. (See fast facts sheet at the end of this report.)
- We design products to last and select the best quality remnant fabrics from the (unfortunately) widely available waste that is generated by larger factories on behalf of brands. While this impact is potentially not being accounted for on their part, we are helping them to clean up their supply chains.
- We encourage customers to take care of their clothing and wear their pieces longer to prevent items from going to landfill.
- We disclose the number of garments we are producing each year and next year (2022) will be also doing an end-to-end sustainability study with customer participation, where we track how long our garments have been kept out of landfills.
- We have initiated a takeback program where we re-sell and sometimes repair (as needed) tonlé garments. The details of this program can be found here.
- All of the garments that come through our takeback program are re-sold or upcycled by our own team. None of them are thrown away or donated.
- Excess Inventory: Similarly, we have on occasion donated some of our invetory to specific programs when there was a specific request, for example shelters who were in need of clothing for victims of the fires in Northern California. However, we don’t use donation as an avenue for excess inventory. Through lean production and business planning, we have very little excess inventory. However, when we do, inventory is either sold by us at a discount, given to our team, or upcycled into something new and resold.
- We don’t use plastic in our packaging and are trying to eliminate all plastic waste from our production process, including food containers brought to the workshop by our team. Instead, we provide meals and drinks with re-usable containers to avoid generating plastic waste.
- We educate our customers about micro-fibers and how to wash and take care of clothes to prevent as much shedding as possible. However, because our materials are upcycled garment factory waste, we cannot always prevent the use of textiles with synthetic components, and having seen and smelled the process of burning textile waste, decided it was better for these scraps to be used before being incinerated or thrown away. That being said, we’d love to envision a future where larger brands generated less waste in the first place and we could invest in more regenerative agriculture instead!
2021: tonlé fast facts:
|# of items shipped e-commerce||5,092.0|
|Average units per shipment||1.7|
|number of packages shipped in 2021 by e-commerce||3,033.0|
|average weight of e-commerce packaging||0.5|
|Average weight of new cardboard (10%)||151.7|
|weight of post-consumer cardboard (90%)||1,364.9|
|# of items shipped wholesale and e-commerce from Cambodia||12,901.0|
|Average # of items per wholesale box||100.0|
|# of wholesale boxes used||129.0|
|pound per wholesale box||1.2|
|# of pounds of cardboard used for wholesale boxes||154.8|
|pound per wholesale box post consumer (30%)||46.4|
|pound per wholesale box new (70%)||108.4|
|Total post consumer cardboard content used:||1,411.3|
|Total new cardboard content used:||260.0|
|Total cardboard used:||1,671.3|
|17 trees are saved from every ton of recycled paper used instead. (EPA)|
|Trees we've saved from using recycled packaging||12.0|
|Trees we've used with virgin packaging||2.2|
|Net trees saved||9.8|
|Total fabric kept out of waste streams in lbs||25,802.0|
|Carbon footprint per 1 pounds shipped from Cambodia:||1.4|
|Total carbon footprint of all items shipped from cambodia:||17,416.4|
|Average carbon footprint for the production of a similar piece of clothing:||9.5|
|Total carbon footprint of a similar production facility using conventional new materials: (tonlé units X average carbon footprint for production and shipping)||139,975.9|
|Kilowatt hours calculation per month used by our production|
|sewing machines (watt hours)||320,000.0|
|Total KWH per month used by our production||1,056.0|
|Average carbon footprint per KWH in lbs* (note this is a rough estimate based on other countries using a similar makeup of coal and hydro power as Cambodia is.)||0.46|
|carbon footprint per month in pounds used by our manufacturing||485.8|
|carbon footprint per year in pounds used by our manufacturing||5,829.1|
|Total carbon footprint of tonlé's production (shipping, CMT)||23,245.5|
|Current net savings compared to traditional manufacturing, not including reduction of other brands' waste:||116,730.4|
|Current percentage of net savings of carbon compared to traditional manufacturing:||83%|