Responsible materials

Responsible Materials Ranking

To guide us in our responsible materials journey we use a Responsible Materials Ranking that lists all the fibers we use and indicates their environmental impact, according to existing industry standards. In order to rank the fibers, we first categorized all fibers we use, as well as the ones we specifically choose not to use. To guarantee the most objective and up-to-date ranking tool, the categorization of the fibers is completely based on existing industry tools and scoring mechanisms. We included the classification of the Higg Materials Sustainability Index (Higg MSI), the rigorous standards of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, CanopyStyle’s annual Hot Button Ranking and the Preferred Material Benchmark by Textile Exchange. The outcome is a living tool, which we will continue to update according to adapted standards and industry debates.

Scaling our fibers from lowest environmental impact to highest environmental impact

Lowest Impact

Highest Impact
Recycled or mostly recycled fibers Organic, bio-based or compostable fibers Better than conventional fibers Conventional fibers Do not use
Natural Natural Natural Natural Natural
  • Cotton (Recycled)
  • Cotton (Organic)
  • Linen
  • True hemp
  • Cotton
  • Unethical cotton
Synthetic Synthetic Synthetic Synthetic
  • Polyester (Recycled)
  • Polyamide (Recycled)
  • Elastane (ROICA™ EF)
  • LYCRA® elastane
  • Elastane (ROICA™ V550)
  • Elastomultiester (T400® EcoMade)
  • Elastane
  • Polyester
  • Polyamide
  • Acrylic
  • Polyurethane
  • Polyacryl
  • Polyester (Sorona®)


Manmade
Manmade

  • Lyocell (Tencel™)
  • Viscose (LENZING™ ECOVERO™)
  • Modal (Tencel™)

  • Lyocell
  • Modal
  • Viscose
  • Cupro

Animal

Animal Animal
  • Wool (Recycled)


  • Leather
  • Wool
  • Alpaca
  • Silk
  • Leather from real exotic animals
  • Angora
  • Down
  • Mohair
  • Fur
BCI Cotton *


We have translated this ranking to an on-product communication tool for our webshop, displaying the composition of each item and ranking the fibers (in the main fabric of the garment) according to their environmental impact. By doing so, we allow customers to decide for themselves whether a specific garment matches their individual sustainability standards.


Cotton and Beyond

Since we are a denim brand, about 80% of all of our raw materials consists of cotton, a crop that has historically been associated with high water and pesticide use. About 0.5% of the cotton we use is conventional cotton, the rest of our cotton is either organic, recycled or sourced through a system of mass balance via BCI.

Next to cotton, the remaining 20% of our raw materials includes 50% polyester and 50% other materials. Some examples of the non-cotton sustainable materials we use, include Lycra®T400® EcoMade, ROICA™ V550, Lenzing® EcoVero Viscose, Lycra® 166L, recycled polyester and TENCEL™ branded Lyocell fibers.


Bar graph on usage of sustainable materials from 2011 to 2021 in our main fabrics
Conventional fibers
Cotton unclaimed credits
BCI Cotton
Better than conventional fibers
Organic, bio-based or compostable fibers
Recycled or mostly recycled fibers


Throughout the years, BCI sourced cotton has been an important first step for G-Star to move away from conventional cotton and work towards more responsible cotton sourcing practices. The Better Cotton Initiative applies a mass balance system, which means that the cotton is mixed with conventional cotton in a complex supply chain. The end product may therefore not always contain Better Cotton. That’s why we choose not to rank it in our Responsible Materials Ranking.


We have set ourselves some ambitious responsible materials goals for 2025 and 2030. In 2025, 75% of all of our materials will be recycled, organic, bio-based or compostable (indicated by the top two categories in above graphic) and in 2030 this will be 100%. Currently we are at 35%.


Materials definitions

Natural

Recycled cotton: Made from pre-consumer or post-consumer cotton waste. By giving discarded resources a new life we save raw materials, water, chemicals and energy. The recycled cotton used for our products is certified in accordance with either the Recycled Claim Standard (RCS) or the Global Recycling Standard (GRS).

Organic Cotton: Made from fibers that are free of toxic pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Growing organic cotton helps to improve soil quality, prevents water contamination and conserves biodiversity. The organic cotton used for our products is certified in accordance with either the Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) or the Organic Content Standard (OCS).

BCI Cotton: G-Star RAW is a partner of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) and sources cotton credited by BCI. By investing in this, we support the Better Cotton Initiative’s mission to help cotton communities survive and thrive, while protecting and restoring the environment. The Better Cotton Initiative applies a mass balance system, which means that the cotton is mixed with conventional cotton in a complex supply chain. The end product may therefore not actually contain Better Cotton. That’s why we choose not to rank it in the Responsible Materials Ranking.

Hemp: Made from fibers that require less pesticides and less water. Hemp fibers are stronger than conventional cotton fibers.

Linen: Made from fibers of the flax plant. Producing linen requires less energy and water compared to conventional fibers.

Conventional Cotton: Conventional cotton can have a harmful impact on people and the environment. This because the cultivation requires a lot of water as well as toxic and polluting chemicals. Today, over 99% of the cotton used in G-Star RAW’s products is sustainably sourced.

Unethical Cotton: With unethical cotton practices we mean cotton that is cultivated in circumstances without respect for human rights, any form of forced labor, a lack of healthy and safe working conditions for workers and no or limited environmental protection. G-Star RAW prohibits suppliers to source cotton from areas where ethical practices cannot be guaranteed.

Synthetic

Recycled Polyester: Made from pre-consumer and post-consumer waste of which PET bottles are the most common source. By giving discarded resources a new life we save raw materials, water, chemicals and energy. The recycled polyester used for our products is certified in accordance with either the Recycled Claim Standard (RCS) or the Global Recycling Standard (GRS).

Recycled Polyamide: Made from polyamide waste (spinning waste, fabric waste, industrial fishing net waste). By giving discarded resources a new life we save raw materials, water, chemicals and energy. The recycled nylon used for our products is certified in accordance with either the Recycled Claim Standard (RCS) or the Global Recycling Standard (GRS).

Polyester: A manufactured synthetic fiber made from petroleum, a non-renewable resource. Polyester has a negative environmental impact during production, use, and disposal.

Polyamide: Made from petroleum, a non-renewable resource. Polyamide has a negative environmental impact during production, use, and disposal. 

Acrylic: A synthetic fiber which has a similar feel to wool. Acrylic fabric is made with plastic threads and made from fossil fuels. It is produced in a comparable way as polyamide and polyester.

Polyacryl: A synthetic fiber which has a similar feel to wool. It is made from fossil fuels and produced in a comparable way as polyamide and polyester.

Polyurethane: A type of plastic, synthetic fiber similar to the polyester fiber.

Sorona® (polyester): A high performance material and often used in combination with other materials. Sorona® is partially made with bio-based materials which reduces the dependency on fossil-based resources.

ROICA™ EF: A recycled stretch innovation (elastane), re-made from pre-consumer materials. ROICA™ EF is certified according to the Global Recycling Standard (GRS).

ROICA™ V550: A degradable premium stretch fiber from Japan, which holds a Gold Level Material Health Certificate from the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. 

LYCRA® elastane: The LYCRA® fibers we use are high performance stretch fibers which hold a Gold Level Material Health Certificate from the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute.

LYCRA® T400® ECOMADE: A sustainable stretch fiber, partially made from recycled and renewable resources.

Conventional elastane: An entirely synthetic fiber. It is a stretch material that is notable for its exceptional elasticity, strength and durability.

Manmade

Lyocell (TENCEL™): Fibres derived from sustainably sourced wood pulp and, by using less water and closed loops for process solvents, they have a lower environmental impact than conventional lyocell.
TENCEL™ is a trademark of Lenzing AG.

TENCEL™ Modal: Fibres made from beech wood sourced from sustainable managed forests. The characteristic of the modal fibre produced by Lenzing, compared to conventional modal, is the high recovery rate of the chemicals used and the reduction of wastewater.

LENZING™ ECOVERO™: Fibres that offer eco-responsible Viscose fibers with low environmental impact. They generate up to 50% lower emissions and water impact compared to generic viscose.

Conventional Viscose/Rayon: Rayon is a manufactured regenerated cellulosic fiber derived from wood pulp. Rayon is typically made of wood from eucalyptus, spruce, and pine trees, but can also be made from cotton or bamboo.

Conventional Lyocell: It is a form of Rayon, and it is composed primarily of cellulose derived from wood.

Cupro: Made from cotton waste. It is a plant-based material that is chemically processed to produce the resulting fabric. It has a similar feel to silk.

Animal

Recycled wool: Made from pre- consumer or post-consumer wool waste. By giving discarded resources a new life we save raw materials, water, chemicals and energy. By giving discarded resources a new life we save raw materials, water, chemicals and energy.
By giving discarded resources a new life we save raw materials, water, chemicals and energy.

Wool: Production of wool can have significant negative impacts on the environment and animal welfare. G-Star RAW only accepts wool from sheeps that have not been mulesed and to guarantee the welfare of the sheep, we are focused on using either recycled wool or Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) certified wool.

Leather: A fabric that is made from animal hides or skins. Today, G-Star RAW only accepts leather from cows, sheeps, buffalos, goats and pigs. We only use leather as by-product from the meat industry. We give preference to leather processed through facilities rated by the Leather Working group² (LWG) as Gold, Silver or Bronze.

Alpaca: Derived from the fibers that naturally grow on alpacas. Compared to sheep wool, alpaca wool is considerably softer, and it is also more durable. Although our use of Alpaca wool is very limited, we are focused on using certified Responsible Alpaca (RAS)

Silk: Fiber derived from the silkworm. Its production has a larger environmental impact than other natural fabrics as it uses a lot of energy and water. Silk is rarely used by G-Star.


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