KappAhl (founded in 1953) is a Swedish fashion chain with over 400 stores within Sweden, Norway, Finland, Poland and the Czech Republic. KappAhl is aimed primarily at men and women between 30 and 50 years of age although also produces clothes for babies and children up to 14 years old. KappAhl sells approximately 60 million garments per year and has an active sustainability agenda. Their concept ‘Future, Friendly, Fashion’ provides a framework for their sustainability activities which aims to improve both social and environmental issues within the supply chain.

KappAhl was one of ten brands to participate in MADE-BY’s 2012 Sustainable Fibre Masterclass, a programme that supported the integration of sustainable fibres within the brands collections.

MADE-BY spoke with KappAhl’s CSR and Quality Manager, Eva Kindgren, to find out how the brand is progressing on their sustainability journey and their reasons for participating in MADE-BY’s Sustainable Fibre Masterclass.

MADE-BY: What are your next steps regarding sustainability?
Eva Kindgren: KappAhl’s aim is to continue our work, within our three activity areas ‘Future, Friendly, Fashion’. Future brings together KappAhl’s work with the environment, where we aim to use resources in a sustainable manner. Friendly, is where we bring together activities to focus on developing even stronger relations with our stakeholders, employees, people working in production and customers. Finally, Fashion, is where we work to put more sustainable clothing in our customers wardrobe.

MB: What advice might you give to other brands who are trying to improve their sustainability?
EK: To improve the overall sustainability work you need management involvement and cooperation with colleagues from your industry. More customers are asking for sustainable choices today. To support this we need a lot of knowledge and the Sustainable Fibre Masterclass is a good platform to set the structure for sourcing sustainable fibres.

“The workshops were very educational and we found MADE-BY very open in sharing information in areas where we had a thirst for knowledge”
Eva Kindgren, CSR and Quality Manager, KappAhl

MB: What have you found to be the most pressing sustainability issues for KappAhl?
EK: One pressing sustainability issue is to be able to have all the different skills required, as the sustainability questions are so extensive and complex. KappAhl’s aim is to continue our work, one step at the time within our focus areas, ‘Future, Friendly, Fashion’.

MB: How has your participation in the Fibre Masterclass influenced your sustainability strategy?
EK: Participating in the Sustainable Fibre Masterclass has provided us with more knowledge on which we were able to set our strategy even further. The workshops were very educational and we found MADE-BY very open in sharing information in areas where we had a thirst for knowledge.
It was through this knowledge that we have been able to improve the details of our strategy even further.

MB: Why did KappAhl sign up to the Sustainable Fibre Masterclass?
EK: KappAhl’s purchasing department wanted to gain better and deeper knowledge concerning sustainable fibres and MADE-BY was suggested as a competent partner in the area.

MB: What did you learn from KappAhl’s participation in the Fibre Masterclass?
EK: The conversations with MADE-BY helped us in our work moving forward and we came home with more knowledge and inspiration to carry on KappAhl’s sustainability work.Our view is that MADE-BY has a good knowledge of the complexities of sustainable sourcing and that they have a realistic approach to the daily work of buying textiles.