MZ Wallace is a lifestyle brand created by two women who were reputable figures in the fashion industry. The Metro Quatro Tote is one of the best-selling products on their website due to its durability and its chic look. The product is made from recycled Oxford material, which is a type of cloth that is vegan and long-lasting. However, Oxford material can be made from organic cotton or from a mixture of cotton and synthetic fibers. The brand does not clarify what the Oxford material they use is made from, making it difficult to determine if this fabric is truly sustainable. Other than this, the brand has proved its sustainability through its packaging. The dust bag is made from post-consumer recycled water bottles and the plastic used is recyclable and biodegradable. The brand is making efforts to go carbon-neutral by 2021, which is a rapid and upcoming deadline. In addition, they also give back to communities through partnerships with official organizations. It’s clear that they try to make a positive impact on the community and the Earth. The flaws that are holding back this brand is the source of their Oxford material as well as the lack of transparency in their supply chain and labor practices. These are things that the company should focus on improving in order to live up fully to their “sustainable” title.
This bag is made from REC (recycled) Oxford material. Oxford material is a type of cloth that can be made from organic cotton or from a mixture of cotton and synthetic fibers. If the cloth is made from organic cotton, then the material is biodegradable. The latter, not quite so. The organic cotton derived cloth is sustainable because less water is required, no harmful pesticides are used, and ecosystems and soil quality may actually improve. Sadly, MZ Wallace doesn’t specify whether they use Oxford cloth made from organic cotton. Although they do utilize an alternative fabric for nylon, it would be beneficial for them to clarify the exact source of the Oxford fabric. The Oxford cloth is cruelty free and vegan. The tote also has “accents of leather.” The brand’s leather is sourced from family-owned tanneries that operate in accordance with REACH. REACH stands for registration, evaluation, authorization, and restriction of chemicals. REACH is emplaced by the European Union in order to assess the risk of chemicals to human health and the environment. The leather is even certified by the Institution of Quality Certification for the Leather Sector (ICEC). The ICEC has a database that holds the names of tanneries that abide to sustainability standards.
The bag comes in a dust bag “made from 100% post-consumer plastic bottles.” Minimum packaging is emphasized and plastic bags that are used are recyclable and biodegradable. Apparently they can biodegrade in a landfill in 5 years depending on the conditions. There is no information given on the supply chain, so it is difficult to say if this brand is emplacing ethical practices. MZ Wallace works with The Conservation Fund to plant a certain amount of trees to offset the carbon emissions emitted by shipping. So far, they have planted 1000 trees, which is 1205% more than the required amount. The brand has put a lot of thought into reducing the environmental impact of their products, but I wish there was more transparency on the supply chain and the labor practices. Looking at the lack of this transparency, I was reminded that sustainability encompasses more than just a carbon footprint. Social sustainability cannot be left out of the talk and the lack of it thereof, leaves room for suspicion.
MZ Wallace is dedicated to sustainability, constantly searching for ways to reduce waste and their carbon footprint. They have “repurposed over 1,881,887 plastic water bottles” into their sustainable materials such as Power Puff, which is used to create the lightweight and airy qualities of the bags. On their website, they have committed to being a carbon-neutral company by 2021. By 2022, they claim that all their nylon products will be 100% blue sign approved. Blue sign is an “independent verifier” that tracks the environmental compact of a textile at each stage of production. Bluesign is a reliable company for they are an internationally recognized standard and they require companies to be fully transparent about the textile production process. The brand also partners with many organizations where proceeds go to communities in need. The company seems to be taking active strides in achieving their sustainability goals as well as making a social impact on their nearby communities.