Remember our #GreenestTee series earlier this year? We dove deep into each step of a t-shirt’s production to break down how they are made and how they could be made better. We then challenged our readers to nominate a brand they think is creating exceptional ecofashion, and why. After close inspection of each entry, one brand’s strong sustainable practices, outstanding products, and great promise took the crown. Everyone, meet Jackalo!
Marianna Sachse, founder of Jackalo, was running into a problem buying clothes for her two children. All the options seemed to be either unable to withstand heavy play and regular wear, or made of materials bad for the planet and for people. Creating her own line of 100% organic cotton twill kidswear was a handy solution. It is durable, ideal for active children with skin sensitivities, and avoids the issue of shedding microplastics with each wash. It was also a compelling story and product that quickly caught our attention.
As far as Marianna is concerned, education is key in creating the change we want to see in the world. Accordingly, she entered Jackalo into Green Story’s #GreenestTee competition to learn more about her own products and supply chain, and to do a better job of showing her customers too. Marianna has long cared about durability as sustainability, and designed Jackalo to create long-lasting clothes that can be passed on to different children and used as long as possible within a family, and finally back to Jackalo as part of their trade-in program. She also sought out production companies that were NGO-supported and invested in creating quality products as well as quality relationships with their workers. Each Jackalo manufacturer is very hands-on, and keeps production as local as possible to keep emissions low and support local artisans. But the trick was articulating all of this to shoppers.
Enter Anitta, our lead analyst and the point person on Jackalo’s lifecycle analysis (LCA). She has a background in sustainability and developmental economics and received her LCA training at Thinkstep in Germany. Equipped with complete information on each of Jackalo’s products and their origins, she used comparative life cycle analysis to break down the impact of Jackalo versus that of comparable conventional products. This meant careful consideration of fabric type, travel between supply chain nodes, manufacturing types and location, dyes, and more for both Jackalo and the industry standard. From there, Anitta put together the pieces of the puzzle to uncover just how much water, CO2 emissions, and electricity are saved by Jackalo’s production cycle compared to their competitors.
Anitta pinpointed several factors in Jackalo’s supply chain that led to big wins in reducing environmental harm. As we highlighted in our #GreenestTee series, material choice and manufacturing locations are of paramount importance. Jackalo has three distinct supply chains for the cultivation and production of their entirely organic cotton lines, and each of them keep CO2 emissions from transportation minimal by keeping cultivation relatively close to their manufacturing sites. Furthermore, the bulk of manufacturing occurs in Europe, where energy grids run on cleaner sources like natural gas versus coal powered factories popular in conventional cotton production.
Here’s what Anitta found – Marianna chose organic cotton, meaning Jackalo achieves a 95% reduction in water usage compared to their conventional counterparts. Additionally, they have reduced their CO2 emissions by 50% across the board for their supply chains. Crucially, this company performs most of their manufacturing within Europe on power grids relying on much clearer sources of energy, which also minimizes transport distances between production and storage stages. This choice alone accounts for 30% less CO2 emissions across the board than conventional cotton supply chains. To top it all off, Jackalo is careful to maximize efficiency in cutting and sewing to minimize clothing scraps. This choice means overall less crops are needed and less resources are expended for these garments, and all scraps that are produced are then used for accessories like pencil cases.
As a result, Jackalo’s products are long-lasting for families and kinder to the planet. We know for sure because of Anitta’s careful data-driven comparative analysis – only possible because of Marianna’s commitment to transparency in her operations. Jackalo is a great example of the factors we highlighted in our #GreenestTee campaign, and showcases the power of a few key changes in a supply chain. We look forward to seeing what new great work Jackalo will do next.