The significance of this past year simply can’t be overstated. From a business operation perspective, 2020 raised more questions than it answered, which afforded us here at Royal Albartross the opportunity to take stock, recalibrate and hone our focus to sustain the future not only of our business but of our planet as well.
Throughout the pandemic, the close scrutiny of sustainability and business ethics continued to gain traction. The truly global phenomena of COVID-19 held a magnifying glass to our planet’s fragility, further exposing the existing failures within big commerce as well as projecting some possibilities for a brighter more sustainable future.
We acknowledge that improvements can always be made, so here are a number of initiatives we employ towards the goal of achieving a more harmonious and responsible partnership between ourselves and our planet.
Historically, the fast fashion industry has been reliant on an exploited and under-paid workforce. When employee welfare and legal compliance are superseded by profit margins, what remains is a systemic acceptance of an industry dependant on malpractice.
Thankfully, the industry is evolving. Questions continue to be asked of those companies that still conduct their business via archaic practices – a reaffirming sign that there is an increasing appetite for change, while simultaneously demonstrating just how much further there is to go.
There are encouraging signs that the toxic framework of the fashion world is being permeated by forward-thinking, morally sound, and compassionate people across the globe.
At Royal Albartross, we consider ourselves very much among the wave of aspirational businesses determined to positively impact and inspire change within our ecosystem. By becoming increasingly more sustainable as we grow, we aim to help reshape the industry and reinstate its value by the standards and expectations of the modern world.
Our primary way of achieving this is through producing all of our shoes and belts in small, family-run factories in Italy, Spain and Portugal. These companies are an extension of the RA family and we rely on them immeasurably for their craft, expertise and dedication to producing some of the finest golf shoes and belts on the market anywhere in the world.
It should go without saying that suppliers should be committed to ensuring safe and fair working conditions for all employees and, indeed, our colleagues ensure just that. For us, this is a dealbreaker and in the pre-pandemic world we often made trips to visit our suppliers in person to further solidify our relationship both as business partners and friends – a bond that is integral to the RA ethos.
The second critical element to our production process is to use only the finest leathers that have minimal carbon footprint and limited impact on the environment. We work closely with an Italian, family-run company called Gruppo Mastrotto – they have been in the tannery business for over 60 years and specialise in utilising leather derived exclusively as a by-product of the agricultural industry, thus adopting perhaps the oldest known form of recycling.
Our partners utilise exclusively eco-friendly, electrically-powered hide treatment processes that rely upon a water-based finishing process as opposed to a method reliant on chemicals. The artisans that create the products that you love to buy are the lifeblood of our business and we extend to them a deep sense of mutual respect and gratitude.
SUCCESS, NOT EXCESS
Fast fashion is well documented to be both high-consumption and high-waste – neither of which are conducive to sustainable longevity.
However, more than ever, slow fashion is being championed by both business and consumer alike with an emergent number of individuals and even some corporations becoming increasingly conscious of their carbon footprint. There is a growing sense that with continued pressure, persistence and dedication, positive change can be realised.
In a world in which it is predicted that 85% of all textiles from the fashion industry end up in landfill sites every single year, we believe in the obligation to apply a more conscientious and rigorous approach to product creation.
When it comes to our own production process – from the genesis of our designs to the finishing hand touches by our artisan craftspeople – we are very much of the low and slow philosophy. We work closely with our suppliers to develop small-batch production runs based on the demand from our customers. This drastically minimises the potential for waste.
Similarly, we work towards a projection of a 90% sell-through on all of our products and aim always to develop timeless designs that defy fleeting trends, that are not only built to last but that our customers will want to wear many, many years from now.
As a growing company in a thriving industry, we inherit greater accountability for the world in which we conduct our business. To that end, we strive for continuous improvement from the point of sourcing of materials up to the moment our goods are delivered to your door.
Simply put, we make it our business to educate ourselves on ecological best practice. We have a goal to ethically enrich our entire supply chain and commerce business so as to better position ourselves as part of the solution, not the problem – and we are immensely proud to be achieving this.
We will continue to bring you updates on sustainability practices at Royal Albartross as they come, including stories of our factories and exciting new charity partnerships.
We’re in this for the long-run. We hope you’ll be with us all the way.