Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Ethical Brand Profile - Mantis

Mantis barely have a website - but they do have a .pdf brochure of their promotional clothing lines with space age artwork (in a fifties rocketry kind of style!). While Fruit of the Loom go to Morroco to shoot their brochure, Mantis are looking to go somewhere quite different. Curious because Mantis make a big thing of their clothing being sourced from Africa - "Born in London, Made in Africa".

Mantis is one of four clothing brand lines from the umbrella trade name, Mantis World. Mantis is the promotional menswear and womenswear line, Humbugz is the childrenswear brand, Babybugz is for babies and finally there is TLC, a brand of organic promotional clothing.

"By working closely with our partner factories we are able to reduce our impact on the planet and its people". Mantis produce most of their clothing in Tanzania at 'affiliated' factories. It's not too clear what 'affiliated' means, but I suspect the factories are small and probably reliant on Mantis for custom, meaning close ties without ownership.

"We can't claim to be perfect, we know it's possible to be considerate to the world with planet-friendly production methods and fair wages" and they go on to describe their supply chain as "fair trade".

So far so good, but these are after all just words - however Mantis go onto describe how they have "approached some important organisations for their views and guidelines" and go onto mention the Ethical Trading Initiative Base Code, the Okeo Tex Organisation, Bio Inspecta, Ecocart International and bioRe Certified Organic Cotton.

It appears from Mantis's blurb that all of these organisations monitor Mantis's operations (or at the very least their suppliers) but I could not find Mantis listed as members on the websites of these organisations. This may or may not mean something. Mantis do however feature the Oeko Tex logo in their brochure so we can at least be sure that all their clothing meats these important environmental standards.

I searched for commentary on Mantis's operations in Tanzania but could not find anything. If you can help me, let me know ideally by adding a comment.

1 comment:

  1. Mantis World were voted Ethical Manufacturer at the RE:Fashion awards in recent months, the first ethical awards for the fashion industry. They are described as "an exemplary ethical and sustainable business" by the Ethical Fashion Forum.

    Most of the production is from a single completely vertical mill in Tanzania. It's "affiliated" because it is family-owned. Mantis World offers complete transparency from Tanzania as every single stage of production from ginned Tanzanian cotton to packed garment happens under one roof.

    The Tanzania factory has GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certification and achieved the highest possible result in the BSCI (Business Social Compliance Initiative) audit as well as Oeko Tex 100 including Class 1 for babywear. As a large employer in Sub-Saharan Africa, the company recognises its responsibility to treat its workforce fairly.

    Working in one of the poorest regions of the world, Mantis World brings in much needed employment, skills and foreign exchange to Tanzania. Underlining its ethos from the very beginning for "Fair Trade not Aid" as the route for Africa to lift itself out of poverty.

    There is always more that can be done, and the company continues to find new ways of improving product, service and of course sustainable practice.

    More information can be found in Mantis World's 2009 brochure and by contacting their London office on info@mantisworld.com or 020 7224 8991.