Founded in Barcelona in 1984, Mango is a Spanish clothing brand that has skyrocketed to the top of the Spanish fashion scene. With major competitors like Zara, Balenciaga, and Loewe, Mango is one of the hottest brands that has been swallowing retail spaces across continents in the past few years. But, just like other industry giants, such as Starbucks, we want to know how sustainable the Spanish brand actually is.
Mango’s expansion has come under our radar for unexpected reasons. When applied to any fashion label, especially one compared to fast fashion companies like Zara (another Spanish clothing brand) or giants like Nike and Adidas, the word “expansion” conjures ugly images.
Factory workers toiling long hours at an assembly line. Textile waste piling in smoldering landfills. Plastic packaging hurled into the seas, strangling turtles and dolphins.
Is Mango ethical? Does Mango use sweatshops? Is Mango sustainable fashion at all?
We did some digging…
Does Mango use sweatshops?
Not only does this Spanish clothing brand NOT use sweatshops, but the people’s side of the textile industry is a major part of their sustainability initiative, dubbed the Sustainable Vision 2030. This vision will implement programs to make an impact on struggling communities where Mango operates, particularly around the factories.
It is also Spain’s first major fashion label to publish its Tier 3 list of factories to promote its traceability and transparency in worker welfare, as well as to promote philanthropic initiatives with major global groups. This includes the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, and Save The Children.
Mango also recently linked with the Zero Child Poverty Alliance. This high-ranking group is associated with the High Commissioner against Child Poverty, which depends on the very Presidency of the Government of Spain. Mango CEO Toni Ruiz’s signature on the agreement with the Zero Child Poverty Alliance means that the company will lead the charge in collaborative projects that fight child poverty.
“Adhering to this Alliance reaffirms our commitment to the environment and people,” said Ruiz. “At Mango we try to generate a positive impact on all the groups that surround us, especially those who need it the most, such as children and adolescents in vulnerable situations, and being part of this initiative will allow us to launch and support concrete projects.”
Amazing the #MuseodelTraje (the Costumes Museum) in Madrid! So much art in there. And we didn't have the time to see the traditional regional dresses collection. Highly recommended! Workshops for children are great!! pic.twitter.com/k0DOLuINeE
— Cristina (@CristinaMad72) March 25, 2018
The label’s first initiative involves building children a foundation for future success, quality education, and self-sustainability through providing extracurricular activities with the Madrid Costume Museum. The partnership’s goal fosters new talent and promotes self-esteem in Spain’s youth. Setting and achieving future goals will be cultivated through educational activities throughout the museum under the DiseñAR-T activity, a program catered to adolescents from ages 12 through 16.
Mango’s alliance with the Zero Child Poverty Alliance further solidifies their commitment to major UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly philanthropic-driven ones like #1 No Poverty, #2 Zero Hunger, #4 Quality Education, and #10 Reduced Inequalities.
So, we can already say that Mango is in a much better position compared to SHEIN, whose sustainability and ethical commitment have been (understatement) subpar, especially after the forced labor scandal.
Is the Mango clothing brand ethical?
We can stamp this with a resounding YES. The best things come in threes. Mango’s three-tiered circular design strategy includes several full-circle, ethical components:
- “Give it back to the loop”: this includes simply-designed garments and single types of fabrics to allow for more recyclability in the supply chain.
- “Extended life”: this involves reinforced materials to allow for longevity and the overall high quality of the clothes.
- “No waste”: refers to re-incorporating textile waste into the circular supply chain to give waste new life instead of discarding it as trash.
Each of these strategic components involves three major actions:
- Committed to Product
- Committed to Planet
- Committed to People
These three themes alone check all of our favourite boxes: high-quality garments, respect for the earth, and the people’s side of sustainability. By adhering to these points, Mango also aims for climate neutrality production by 2050, as well as to reduce water and plastic consumption entirely. So far so good, Mango is on track to rank as high as Patagonia (unlike North Face) in our sustainability battle.
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Thanks to this cleaner, ethical supply chain, overall production will pump more high-quality garments into the market. This is a great New Year’s present, and because of Mango sustainability expansion, both Europe and countries beyond will get to enjoy the impending results.
With these goals, Mango has been elevated to more than just one of Europe’s hottest labels. They’ve entered the philanthropy sphere, trailblazing a people-first, planet-first approach to fashion…which so far had notoriously been a drought for the industry.
Is the sustainable fashion collection the real deal?
How do we know Mango has acted on all these promises? Well, they have an entire sustainable collection to kickstart this new company-wide initiative. With coats from fitted handmade wool and wool-blended blazers, this committed collection has reduced garments waste by blending and hand-making wool materials. Under Mango clothing sustainability, even fabrics get recycled to reduce their impact on the Earth.
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Does this make the brand perfect? No. The Zipped Biker Jacket for women features a coating of 100% polyurethane, a substance on faux leather that can be toxic and clogs landfills.
When we ask, is Mango ethical, we can’t overlook the inclusion of polyurethane in this jacket’s materials.
However, we can’t bring ourselves to bash them like other fast fashion brands in this sustainability rating.
Their commitment to community initiatives, made credible through their agreement with the Zero Child Poverty Alliance, makes it easier to forgive them for the polyurethane. And in the sustainable fashion movement, we’ll take our victories where we can. And hope that they read this and take action!
Editors Note: The opinions expressed here by the authors are their own, not those of Impakter.com — In the Featured Photo: A Mango storefront. Featured Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.