MUD Jeans is a sustainable and fair trade certified denim brand based in The Netherlands, developed according to the principles of the circular economy. The main business concept of the company it to lease its apparel to consumers. After the lease period of one year, consumers can switch them for another pair and continue leasing, return them for recycling or up-cycling purposes, or keep them. MUD jeans is mindful of the water needed to produce jeans and declare to produce 60 percent less water then other brands. Their jeans production is also carbon neutral.
The company was re-launched by Bert van Son after acquiring the brand in 2012. Bert van Son had a new vision for the company and decided to invest in MUD Jeans. From May 2016 to August 2018, MUD Jeans was headquartered in Almere, The Netherlands. In September 2018, the “MUDquarters” relocated to Laren, Netherlands at the Groene Afslag.
The ‘Lease A Jeans’ concept was launched in 2013. With this concept, MUD Jeans follows the circular economy concept. MUD Jeans proudly defines itself as the “first and only denim brand that can genuinely be called circular” because of their launch of the project back in January 2013. This, privileges and educates the consumer from owing to accessing/using. The concept also promotes the return of the jeans, which will stimulate the recycling process. According to information on the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (a London based foundation working with the circular economy), Bert van Son came to notice that in order to promote the return of jeans he has to avoid selling it in the first place.
The consumer can lease a jeans for a period of one year, for a monthly fee (in 2019 this was €7,50 with a one-time membership fee of €20 with which you can lease 3 jeans at a time). Around the eleventh month of the consumer’s lease contract, MUD Jeans gives the consumer three choices concerning the jeans:
Once jeans are returned to be recycled, the jeans are send back to MUD jeans factory in Valencia, Spain, where the recycling process takes place. The denim fibres are reused in new jeans and sweaters. MUD Jeans currently sells sweaters which contain 85% recycled denim. Anyone can return (non-)MUD Jeans so that they can be recycled. To stimulate and encourage this, MUD Jeans offers the consumer who do this a discount on their next purchase.
On 6 June 2016, MUD jeans began adopting the concept of repackaging by establishing a contract with RePack, a Finnish company offering the service of packaging which deliberately reduces the waste created when sending and returning packages. Packages used by firms can be used up to 20 times and customers and stores are incentivised to use RePack by offering discounts at connected brands.
The circular economy guides every decision made at MUD Jeans. From the design of our jeans, that avoid any leather patches, to recycling worn MUD Jeans the company thrives to walk the talk of their mission: a world without waste. Some of their measures include:
To produce one pair of MUD Jeans it is used 1,500 litres of water, compared to an industry standard of 7,000 litres per jeans. Also water recycling plants and innovative washing techniques are used at MUD jeans factories so water is properly cleaned.
MUD Jeans is carbon neutral. A Bluedot Lifecycle report declared that 9kg of CO2 are emitted during the production of one pair of MUD Jeans. This is 61% less than the industry standard. The savings are attributed to decisions throughout the production such as the use of renewable energy in MUD jeans factories as well as the use of recycled cotton. Since 2016 the brand has been offsetting their emissions and are therefore carbon neutral.
Over the past three years MUD jeans recycled 12,000 jeans that were supposed to end up on a landfill and incineration. Their take-back scheme collects jeans that consist of more than 96% cotton and send them to the recycle factory Recovertex in Spain. In collaboration with the denim experts in Valencia, our fabrics are made with up to 40% recycled post consumer denimre
MUD Jeans makes it a standpoint that their production is good for every person that encounters their products. As such they focus on:
Fair wages – They aim to pay every worker in our supply chain a fair living wage, above the minimum wage.
Working environment – The company is aware how a full time employee is impacted by their surroundings for their mental and physical health. Through conscious product and production choices they aim to empower factory colleagues through a safe and healthy working environment where their abilities can thrive.
They also care for solidarity, inclusiveness and democracy, regardless of race, gender, age, shape or ability. Equality is high in the company’s agenda. 90% of the workers at Yousstex International are women. For these women, personal development is closely linked with conditions at work. The brand is currently (2019) working on a research at Yousstex International concerning female empowerment and gender equality.