Acting out of conviction.
Social, ecological and corporate responsibility.
For over 100 years, a company of tradition as well as commitment.
Behind Seidensticker is family.
As a family-owned company our aim is to ensure the convergence of social, ecological and economic responsibility.
Sustainability is deeply rooted in Seidensticker’s structural organisation and is seen as self-evident for generations now. We act responsibly in our dealings with people and our environment – but we are still striving forward to what we have planned for the future. We are working continuously and intensively to gradually achieve even more sustainability and are setting truly ambitious goals to achieve this.
While striving to make our approach even more transparent, we communicate openly about what we have already achieved and which milestones we have set for the future. In addition we want to point out how we intend to achieve these goals in order to strengthen awareness for sustainability and to show the importance of sustainable business for us as a company.
Fair working conditions and the lowest possible environmental impact are essential aspects of our corporate policy.
Managing partners of the Seidensticker Group
„Consistent compliance with the highest safety and social standards has been a matter of course for generations – both in our own four production facilities as well as at our partner companies. Corporate and social responsibility are clearly in the center of attention in the making of our products.”
Even in the 1960s, as one of the first clothing manufacturers in Europe, we made contact with suppliers in Asia and began to establish long-term, trusting relationships with our international partners. In 1974, we founded our own purchasing offices in Hong Kong called Seidensticker Overseas Ltd. To this day the production in the Asian region is still managed from these offices. Most articles of our collections are produced in our own manufacturing plants: In 2007 we opened our first own production facility in Vietnam, followed by a further facility in Indonesia in 2014. In 2019 our third own production site was opened - also in Vietnam.
Almost all of the shirts and blouses of the Seidensticker collections are produced in our own production sites in Vietnam and Indonesia. Operating in our own facilities, we are in the position to control, to safeguard and to observe the corporate due diligence obligations by our own team of highly trained inspectors. But our social responsibility goes even further: Fair cooperation with our partner companies is also an important concern for us. All production sites, where our products are manufactured, are regularly audited by independent testing institutes and monitored by non-governmental organisations. Additionally, we are involved in a direct exchange with our suppliers, monitoring the situation there by means of regular visits to these partner companies. All production facilities - both our own three production sites and those of our partners - meet the highest international, social and ecological standards.
We are a family business and have been living this sense of human values for over 100 years now. A team of 2,200 employees is working for Seidensticker worldwide and beyond this a lot of partner companies and partner teams.
In order to protect the people who produce our collections, we have specified important, non-negotiable minimum requirements for a co-operation in our Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct defines social and environmental guidelines and is strictly based on the ILO international core labour standards. All partners commit themselves to fulfil these requirements as a basis for the business relationship. The observance of the Code of Conduct is controlled and safeguarded regularly by our own team and by independent testing institutes.
The Code of Conduct guarantees:
- Exclusion of forced labour
- Exclusion of child labour
- No discrimination
- Fair, living wages
- Working hours of max. 48 hours per week
- Compensation for overtime
- Safe and hygienic working environment
- Continuous commitment to minimise environmental pollution
Seidensticker stands for shirts and blouses of reliable high-class quality. With the use of in-house technicians and the highest quality standards, we have been keeping this promise for three generations now and soon in the fourth generation. Every shirt and blouse passes through more than a hundred controls and is subject to strict quality control. We at Seidensticker plan to become even more sustainable, continuing our high demands on ourselves. For this reason we invest several million Euros per year in ensuring high social, environmental and quality standards.
Strategy and governance
On our own responsibility.
On the way to 360 degrees
Sustainably protect people and the environment.
Our raw material: cotton
Many of our products consist of cotton – some of them to 100%. For this reason cultivation of the raw material is of particular importance for us. The cultivation of conventional cotton is often accompanied by high water consumption, the use of pesticides and herbicides as well as genetically modified seeds. We are committed to reducing the environmental pollution caused by the production of our collections, in order to strengthen the cultivation of sustainable cotton.
The cotton, used for our shirts and blouses, comes mainly from Egypt, the USA, China and India. The raw material is mostly grown in smallholder farming structures and represents the basic income for many families worldwide. For this reason it is a matter of great concern to us, that cotton farmers receive regular training and course instructions on sustainable cultivation of raw materials and that the agriculture of our most important raw material is made as ecologically harmless as possible. Since 2019 Seidensticker is a member of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), supporting the sustainable cultivation of cotton worldwide. Furthermore we have been GOTS certified since 2019 and are gradually increasing the proportion of bio-cotton in our products.
We are taking steps to organise the production in our manufacturing plants even more sustainably. We pay strict attention in preventing environmentally hazardous chemicals in the manufacturing processes, in order to reduce the human and eco-toxicological pollution caused by chemicals: With this in mind, we have defined our own Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL), which prohibits the use of certain chemicals throughout the textile manufacturing chain or reduces them to certain amounts. Our MRSL is guided by the MRSL of the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC).
Our products are OEKO TEX Standard 100 certified and are therefore subject to comprehensive testing regarding chemicals that are harmful to health and environment. In addition, our Restricted Substances List (RSL) defines substances that are perhibited in our shirts and blouses or only to a minimal extent.
Together with packaging research institutes and associations, we have found a packaging alternative that is much more environmental-friendly and resource-saving, while still meeting the requirements for protection and hygiene. We decided to avoid the use of plastic packaging materials for the Seidensticker brand collections in future. With this measure the single shirt packaging is no longer required. Packaging components, previously containing plastic, are replaced by alternative materials – such as cardboard. In this way we are in the position of saving 30 tons of plastic waste per year. The first delivery with plastic-free packaging is planned for the season Spring / Summer 2021.
Eco-friendly cartons: To transport our products, we only use cardboard boxes made of 100% recycled material and compensate the CO² emission by supporting environmental projects.
Achieving more together. Social engagement in initiatives and organisations.
We are firmly convinced that positive and far-reaching changes in social and ecological conditions are only possible if we advocate these together with other companies and nurture an open exchange with all stakeholders. For this reason we have joined various initiatives and rely on the expertise of independent standard organisations:
Partnership for Sustainable Textiles
The Seidensticker Group is a member of the Controlling Committee of the German Textile Alliance (the so called Textilbündnis). This alliance for sustainable textiles is a multi-stakeholder initiative and represents more than 50% of the German textile market. It aims to improve social and ecological conditions within the entire supply chain of textiles. Several brands and retailers, as well as labour unions, the German Government and many Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO’s) are members of the Textilbündnis.
International Labour Organization (ILO)
The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a United Nations specialized agency with its headquarters in Geneva. This organisation is responsible for the formulation and enforcement of international labour and social standards. The globally binding minimum standards are intended to protect workers’ rights and consequently fair working conditions. We feel committed to the ILO Core Labour Standards, because we see this is as an elementary component of the procurement chain. The compliance with these standards is regularly controlled by us, as well as by independent third parties.
Since 2008 we are a member of the amfori Business Social Compliance Initiative. The amfori BSCI is a corporate association of purchasing companies based on the International Labour Standards of the ILO. Since its foundation, this association pursues the goal of promoting international socially acceptable working conditions in various industrial sectors. The amfori BSCI creates a platform for member companies containing European codes of conduct, monitoring systems and common social principles. The initiative also supports the members with special audits to ensure that partner companies and suppliers act responsibly with both people and environment, as well as observing the BSCI Code of Conduct in their facilities. Our own production site in Semarang, Indonesia has undergone several amfori BSCI audits receiving outstanding results.
SA8000 is one of the world’s leading and most ambitious social responsibility standards. SA8000 is a cross-sectoral and certification programme for social working conditions, independent of company size, and is based on internationally recognised standards such as the ILO Core Labour Standards. SA8000 certification follows a management system approach, in analysing and evaluating social criteria and stands up for continuous improvements. Organisations and companies, awarded the SA8000 certificate, advocate occupational safety along with good, healthy working conditions, compliance with human and labour rights and the payment of a living wage, criteria which are non-negotiable.
Our production sites in Hanoi and Haiphong, Vietnam are SA8000 certified.
Oeko-Tex® Standard 100
The OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 is an independent testing and certification system for the testing of harmful substances in textile raw materials, intermediates and end products during all processing stages of the production chain. Products certified with OEKO-TEX® Standard 100, satisfy the exigent criteria for the use of harmful substances that are hazardous for both humans and the ecology. All Seidensticker shirts and blouses are OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 certified and therefore guaranteed to be free from hazardous substances.
STeP by Oeko-Tex / Made in Green
STeP by Oeko-Tex is an independent testing system for the certification of environmentally-friendly manufacturing plants. The Oeko-Tex STeP-certificate verifies that the factories meet the highest ecological and social requirements. In this way manufacturing plants are inspected according to strict criteria for environment, chemicals and wastewater management, as well as for compliance with social criteria.
The vast majority of fabrics used for Seidensticker products, are produced in Oeko-Tex® STeP-certified factories. Added to this our two manufacturing plants in Vietnam are Oeko-Tex® STeP-certified since middle of the year 2020.
Better Cotton Initiative (BCI)
We are actively working together with the Better Cotton Initiative in order to support sustainable cotton cultivation worldwide. The BCI stands up for the producers of raw material, advocating respect for the environment and protection of the future of this sector This initiative connects organisations of the entire supply chain – ranging right from the cotton field to the final sales area – in order to promote measurable and ongoing improvements for the environment, for farmers and to support the economy of the cotton-producing areas. Seidensticker intends to purchase 100% of the raw materials from Better Cotton up to the year 2025 – currently the percentage of sustainable cotton is around 50%.
*Sustainable cotton is not detectable in the end product and is purchased according to the principle of mass balancing.
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
The Global Organic Textile Standard is one of the leading international standards for the production of textiles made of organically produced natural fibres. GOTS defines binding environmental requirements and social criteria for the entire supply chain in the textile and clothing production at the highest level. According to GOTS, at least 95% of the used fibres have to come from controlled organic agriculture. For a possible ecological sustainable organisation according to GOTS, only certain substances and processes may be used in the clothing industry and in textile finishing in order to make the textile supply chain as sustainable as possible. Before a piece of clothing can carry the GOTS label, all suppliers must be GOTS-certified from the cultivation of raw materials to the finished product.
Since 2019 the subsidiaries of the Seidensticker Group, responsible for the regulation of all production operations in Asia, are GOTS certified. The next step planned is that Seidensticker’s own production facilities in Vietnam will complete the GOTS certification process.
The „Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh“ is an agreement between trade unions in Bangladesh and international brands and retailers, who have advocated for the establishment of a safer clothing industry, as well as the creation of a non-hazardous working environment in the factories since 2013. In particular, ACCORD focuses on increasing the fire and building safety in the textile production facilities in Bangladesh.
We have supported ACCORD since its foundation and work exclusively with partners and factories from Bangladesh, which are controlled within the framework of ACCORD, as also its supplementary organisation, which take measures to improve occupational safety.
National Action Plan for Economy and Human Rights (NAP)
The Seidensticker Group supports the National Action Plan for Business and Human Rights, which is based on the guidelines of the United Nations for the protection of human rights regarding global supply chains. We take our corporate duty of due diligence along the value added chain very seriously and are more than aware of the impact that our supply chain has on local structures and people. Within the framework of extensive analyses, we regularly deal with potential risks and are in direct contact with stakeholders involved in the added value of our products in order to avoid any adverse environmental effects.