Pedro Roisman

Design for People and the Planet

Martha Headwear

12. Responsible Consumption and Production 13. Climate Action

Overview

Martha´s main innovation is to manufacture its products using rolls and scraps of fabric discarded by other brands and textile factories, reducing in this way the excessive fabric that goes to waste.

It contributes to the SDG 12 Responsable Production and Consumption, because the main objecitve of the business is to reduce the ecological footprint by changing the traditional and linear production and consumption methods. The brand also contributes to SDG 13 Action for the Climate because it measures and offsets its greenhouse gases emissions.

Authors

Maria Emilia Vanin

Maria Emilia Vanin

Jazmin Guarnera

Jazmin Guarnera

Victoria Campos

Victoria Campos

School

Pontificia Universidad Catolica Argentina

Pontificia Universidad Catolica Argentina

Professor

Aleandra Scafati

Aleandra Scafati

Innovation

According to the ONU Conference about Commerce and Development (UNCTAD), the textile industry is the second most contaminating industry in the world.

Martha´s main innovation is to manufacture its products by using uses rolls and scraps of fabric discarded by other brands and textile factories, reducing the excessive fabric that goes to waste. As the founder of the brand explained, "as the hats or caps are small, they can be easily fabricated using small segments of recycled fabric". In this way, textile waste is their main raw material.

In addition, the brand recently incorporated recycled plastic for the making of its products and it also uses organic fibers produced through chemical-free agriculture.

Martha is committed to the elaboration of all their products with at least 50% of reused, recycled or sustainable (FSC Certification) materials and puts efforts in always trying to use the maximum percentage of these materials.

This criterion also applies to the composition of the packaging. 100% of the product packaging is compostable. Likewise, their labels are plantable because they are made of paper with seeds, 100% handmade and recycled.

Martha's products and packaging should be designed to use as few materials as possible. The same happens with the molding, so that the cuts generate the least amount of waste that is available

In this way, Martha uses sustainable and durable materials, which guarantees their use over time, extends their life span and reduces the probability of waste.

Design for People and the Planet

Inspiration

Pedro, Martha´s founder, detected that the textile industry left behind tons of waste. This issue shooked him and led him to question himself "what could be done to reduce this impact?". Inspired by other projects, he realized this issue could be addressed through awareness and working together with all the value chain.

Regarding the business's turn towards triple impact, Pedro says that he was encouraged by several reasons. "The first one is my relationship with consumption and how I grew up with that. I always valued products and projects that had a sustainable purpose, as a consumer. The second was that, in the textile industry, it is very common to talk about, especially in Argentina, the cloth bags thrown away by (textile) workshops. The amount is appalling. And this was another reason, I said to myself "something can be done. And the last one is the market opportunity. If the market didn´t exist, there would be no possibility of carrying (the business) out”.

He also explains Martha´s philosophy. “We have a 360 vision, it is a constant learning in everything that we will continue to do from now on. At the beginning it was the use of textile waste and then we are implementing new solutions or products that are emerging. That is why our policies for design and work and use of materials will probably evolve. We have a very clear objective but everything is constantly evolving and constantly improving. It is better to be on the road than not to be. If you are on the road you go somewhere and you develop along the way, but it is better to manifest yourself on that path and evolve than not to take that flag”.

Overall impact

Textile waste represents, only in Buenos Aires City, the 3,4% of the total urban waste. In 2020, Martha used 1,8 tons of recycled fabrics, avoiding its discard. In the same way, each product is created using, on average, 68% of recycled or sustainable materials.

Furthermore, the brand is carbon neutral because it measures and offsets its footprint together with the NGO Seamos Bosques, through the reforestation of native forests in the province of Tucuman. In this way, the business accounts for the greenhouse gases that it generates directly and indirectly and compensates for them with the planting of trees through an allied organization specialized in the subject.

Business benefit

Because Martha developed a business model driven by its mission to reduce the impact of textile waste on the environment, the business consolidated.

  • It developed the corporate sales channel, increasing sales.
  • It increased the retailed sales because there is a consumer that values Martha proposal and a market that supports it.
  • It opened new investment opportunities, given that four new partners joined the business.
  • It opened new markets, as it is soon expanding to USA.

Social and environmental benefit

Martha has a strong social commitment towards employees, suppliers and clients. They have an Ethical Code, where they guarantee that all the stakeholders will be treated under the principles of respect, honesty, ethics and responsibility.

  • Employees: currently, Martha has 10 employees. They seek excellent working coditions in relation to salary, hours of work, and freedom to asociate and be represented by different organisms. They prohibit child and forzed labour, they also have a section in their Code of Conduct where they prevent corruption and bribery.
  • Suppliers: Martha has preference for suppliers who belong to underrepresented groups, who are under informal working conditions, who are geographically close to the office, workshops, warehouses, distribution centers and shops, and that have triple impact business models with System B certification.
  • Clients: Martha engages in fluid and transparent dialogue with clients aiming to attend their needs. They also make sure the established standards and terms are met, and all this information is available for the clients.

Martha is also committed to the reduction of the environmental impact of the textile industry waste, and all its business model is driven by this purpose. All its operational practices in relation to the composition and design of their products are specified in their manual of operations. They also have enivonmental metrics to measure their performance, such as percentage and kilograms of recycled and / or reused material in products and percentage and kilograms of recycled and / or reused material in packaging and supplies.

Interview

Pedro Roisman, Founder and CEO

Photo of interviewee

Keep this story going! Share below!

Martha Headwear

Martha Headwear

San Isidro, Buenos Aires, AR

Business Website: https://martha.com.ar/

Year Founded: 2014

Number of Employees: 2 to 10

Martha Headwear produces sustainable outdoor products inspired by the Argentinean Patagonia. It produces mainly caps but also hats, scarfs and shoulder bags that offers through 14 points of sale and through its online shop in both retail and wholesale in Argentina and, shortly, in the United States.

Martha is a certified B business since 2021 and has also the Global Recycled Standard certification, an international standard granted by the Textile Exchange.