On making things that last
For almost seventy years, Marimekko has empowered people around the world by offering products that bring functional, long-lasting benefits to everyday life. In fact, Marimekko designs are renowned for their timelessness and are often passed on from one generation to the next.
We are committed to extending the product life cycle even further and to reducing our environmental impact throughout every segment of our business, including the design process, supply chain, and logistics choices.
We are continually striving to get better. You can follow our progress on our Instagram and here on marimekko.com.
Our commitments in brief
Marimekko was founded around creative printmaking, and we are committed to keeping this legacy alive through our Helsinki printing factory, where we print about a million meters of fabric per year.
We are not about disposable fashion. We want to create items that truly last in use, from one generation to the next, and thus aim at always choosing materials that last longest in our experience. At the same time, acknowledging the textile industry’s environmental impact, we are on a mission to increase the share of sustainable materials in our products.
We require sustainability not only of our own operations but also of our suppliers by promoting safe and fair labor practices and ensuring respect for the environment and high standards of chemical restrictions.
Read about our efforts in more detail below:
Marimekko was founded on an idea put forward by Armi Ratia: to invite insightful young designers to create striking patterns for the company’s printing factory. Our design library contains over 3,500 prints to date, and we invite new artists to design for us each year. We cherish the full creative thinking of our printmakers.
Sustainability starts with design. At Marimekko, we believe that the timeless design that brings joy to our customers for many years is also a sustainable choice.
Every Marimekko print design represents a collaboration between the designer and our printing factory. This highly collaborative process enables designers to achieve their creative visions, but also promotes a unified approach that draws together high-quality materials and the most efficient and relevant production methods.
On product life cycle
Marimekko has never been about disposable fashion – instead, timeless design, quality materials, and experienced craftsmanship come together to form the core of our design and sustainability philosophy.
All seasonal unsold stock is sold either through our outlet channels or staff events. Marimekko products are also popular in the second-cycle market. To enhance this trend, we have cooperated with the secondhand online store Vestis in Finland since 2015.
We encourage our customers to consider their purchases and to buy products that stay in use for as long as possible – it is our dream that every Marimekko product will be used and cherished by several users.
On material choices
We choose our materials based on quality and longevity and prefer to use natural fibers such as cotton, wool, and silk. However, no material is without its challenges, and we are on a mission to increase the share of sustainable materials in our products.
In 2013, we joined the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI). In 2019, Better Cotton represented 88% of all the cotton sourced for our products.
We share information and advice about product care with our customers. You can find our care guide here.
Over the past decade, Marimekko has supported innovative, sustainable material research and contributed to the ongoing development in this field.
We cooperate closely with Spinnova, a Finnish fiber technology company, on the development and market entry of new, wood-based textiles. The first prototypes of clothing have been made, and Marimekko’s involvement helps the end products fulfill the industry’s quality and sustainability requirements.
Since 2013, we have been engaged in a research project led by Aalto University and the University of Helsinki with the aim of developing a birch-cellulose fiber made with the Ioncell™ solvent method. Marimekko first tested the printability of a fabric made of Ioncell™ fibers in 2016, and in a recent project in fall 2019, the tests were extended with a further developed solvent that is fully recyclable.
We have our own textile printing factory in Helsinki that produces about a million meters of fabric every year and operates with biogas and renewable electricity. The factory is so important to us that the whole organization, including our headquarters, is built around it. The majority of the fabrics printed in our factory are certified according to the STANDARD 100 by OEKOTEX®.
The Marimekko factory is one of the only industrial-scale textile printing factories in the Nordic countries. It serves both as a factory and as an innovative hub for our creative teams. We are committed to keeping the art of printmaking alive in our corner of the world.
On supply chain
We require sustainability not only of our own operations but also of our suppliers by respecting human rights, promoting safe and fair labor practices, and ensuring respect for the environment and high standards of chemical restrictions.
Our principle is that we always know in what conditions our products are made. Our products are manufactured by around 75 partner suppliers in approximately 100 factories around the world. Almost 70% of our products are manufactured in Europe and the rest in Asia. A list of our most significant partner suppliers is available here.
We select our partners with care. Our selection is guided by a predetermined process and requirements that are discussed in detail before we embark on the collaboration. We aim to select partners with whom we can develop and plan collaboration over the long term. Our supplier relationships are, on average, approximately ten years in length. With some of our partners, we have collaborated for more than twenty years.
Our suppliers are committed to our sustainability requirements, detailed in the Supplier Code of Conduct, and we monitor compliance with them through factory visits by Marimekko employees and factory audits by external specialists. In 2019, Marimekko’s employees carried out more than forty visits to our product or material suppliers’ premises in Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Spain, Portugal, India, China, and Thailand, and 98% of product purchases from non-EU countries were covered by audits according to amfori BSCI or other social responsibility systems.
We constantly work towards reducing the environmental impacts in our supply chain through, for example, materials selection, logistics choices, and dialogue with suppliers.
We offset emissions from store and e-commerce deliveries in Finland and from e-commerce deliveries in Europe.
We optimize transport routes in an effort to move towards lower-emission modes of transport. This means, for example, that whenever possible, we use sea or rail transport rather than airfreight.
Our products are manufactured in around 100 factories worldwide, and there are about 150 Marimekko stores in 15 countries and an online store serving customers in 32 countries.
Marimekko has defined a governance model for developing and managing non-financial matters. That means:
1. The Board of Directors approves the sustainability strategy, related key targets, and annual sustainability reviews.
2. The Management Group sets targets and follows the progress biannually. Risks related to non-financial matters are addressed as part of consolidated risk management and presented as part of the report of the Board of Directors.
3. Each business unit and function is responsible for the actions relating to their own areas to reach the shared targets.
4. Sustainability work is supported and coordinated by the Sustainability Manager.