The venture Freitag: From recycled bags to sustainable fashion

Abstract

The Swiss venture Freitag, founded in 1993 by the two brothers Daniel and Markus Freitag, pioneered the idea of product upcycling by producing functional and fashionable bike messenger bags out of used truck tarpaulins. Relying on its unique raw material of recycled truck tarps, Freitag developed a coherent brand identity and gradually extended its product portfolio of bags and accessoires over the years. From 2009 to 2014 however, Freitag engaged in a development process of manufacturing sustainable clothing which meant nothing less than the entry into an entirely new product category and market. For Freitag, this step constituted a core strategic investment decision, which would have major consequences on its innovation, marketing and branding activities. Due to Freitag’s self-understanding as a sustainability-oriented and design-driven business venture, the challenge was to come up with a profitable clothing collection which would not only meet the venture’s high sustainability critieria but also its aspiration to produce functional and stylish fashion. Yet, the Freitag brothers still had to decide which customer segment they should primarily target with their new product offering. Should they primarily accommodate the needs of these customers which bought Freitag products because of their design and stlye or should they priortize the segment of sustainability-conscious consumers? Or should they even target the mass market with their new product? To reach a well-informed decision, the Freitag brothers had to develop a fine awareness for the peculiarities of Freitag’s brand identity and an in-depth understanding of the socio-ecological impact of sustainable fashion. As two professionally trained designers, Daniel and Markus felt committed to the idea of holistic design-thinking and therefore strived to approach these issues in an integrated fashion, from the procurement and design stage all the way down to the marketing and branding of their products.

AuthorReinhard von Wittken
InstitutionTUM School of Management (TU Munich)
Competition Year2017
PlaceFirst Prize
TrackCorporate Sustainability
Key WordsSustainability Fashion Entrepreneurship
CoursesSustainable Finance, Strategic Management, Finance, Business Sustainability, Business and Society, or Environmental Entrepreneurship
Target AudienceMBAs, Undergraduates
Permission rightsThis case is part of the oikos free case collection. Download a free online copy below. If you are a faculty member and you are interested in teaching this case, you can request a free teaching note by sending us an email to freecase@oikos-international.org.
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posted June 19, 2017

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oikos Winter School

The Winter School “You call it Eco. We call it Common Sense. Sustainability in the Fashion Industry” takes place from 5.-11. March 2017 in Witten.

Read more information on oikos Winter School website.

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oikos International

posted October 20, 2016

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Clothes Exchange Party

oikos Bayreuth is hosting another Clothes Exchange Party to reduce waste, and overconsumption.

More information (in German) here.

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oikos International

posted May 24, 2016

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THE “FABRIC OF CHANGE” CHALLENGE (SEPTEMBER 16 – NOVEMBER 18 2015)

The Fabric of Change challenge seeks innovations for building a fair and sustainable apparel industry that respects people and planet. Winners will be awarded a total of Euros 100,000 in prizes and all. Finalists will receive a travel stipend to present their solutions to key industry players at the Fabric of Change Summit (dates and location to be announced shortly). The deadline to enter is November 18th, 2015, but projects submitted before October 21st, are eligible for an Early Entry Prize of an additional €1,000. 

More information: https://www.changemakers.com/fabricofchange

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oikos International

posted September 23, 2015

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Roba Amiga: Social Entrepreneurship in Textile Waste Management

Abstract

 

The case focuses on Roba Amiga, a network of organizations devoted to collect, select and sell second-hand clothes in Barcelona and its surrounding, with the aim of creating jobs for people excluded from the job market as well as contributing to mitigating the environmental problem of textile waste. The case traces the history of Roba Amiga, leading up to two of the organizations in the network forming a Work Integration Social Enterprise and opening a new sorting plan that allowed them to grow and gain in efficiency. The case explores the alternatives for further growth and examines the advantages and disadvantages for the different organizations staying together under a common brand, even though they have slightly different priorities. It also leads to discuss the social challenges involved in the exporting of clothes to developing countries and to question whether Roba Amiga should be more concerned about this fundamental aspect of its business model.

AuthorsDaniel Arenas, Pablo Sánchez and Solange Hai
InstitutionESADE Business School, Spain
Competition Year2015
PlaceRunner up
TrackSocial Entrepreneurship
Key WordsTextile waste, second-hand clothes, export, WISE
CoursesCSR, social entrepreneurship, business and society
Target AudienceMBA, MSc
Permission RightsThis case is part of the oikos free case collection. Download a free online copy below.
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oikos International

posted June 24, 2015

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From Sweatshops to Sustainability: Wal-Mart’s Journey in Bangladesh

Abstract

Walmart the largest company in the world by revenues as of 2014, operated on the philosophy of providing its consumers products at the lowest possible price. To achieve this, it procured goods from various parts of the world. The clothes were mostly procured from Bangladesh. Walmart and other global retailers were attracted to Bangladesh due to cheap labor and low production costs. They usually outsourced their production to some of the factories in the country. At that time they ensured that the producer and the factory complied with laws and have other facilities in place for workers, pertaining to timings, leave, overtime, etc.

But not all the production was carried out in these factories. Due to tough deadlines set by the retailers, the factories usually outsourced a part of their work to subcontractors, who, in turn, subcontracted to small Tier 3 factories. These factories located in dingy by lanes of the industrial areas in and around Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh, did not have basic facilities for the workers, and lacked safety measures.

The Readymade garment industry in Bangladesh witnessed several accidents, but these did not draw the attention of the administration or the global retailers. But two accidents, one in 2012 (factory fire at Tazreen) and the other in 2013 (collapse of Rana Plaza building, which housed several factories), that killed more than 1200 workers, and left several more injured and handicapped, brought the attention of the global community to the prevailing working conditions in the Bangladesh sweatshops. At the same time, global retailers like Walmart which sourced from these places came under severe criticism.

Walmart, which boasted of being a responsible company, took several initiatives to reduce its impact on environment and also source goods ethically. When it came to Bangladesh, though there was evidence that clothes were being made for Walmart at the factories where the accidents occurred, it refused to take any responsibility, stating that the subcontracts were given without its knowledge.

Some of the experts said that it was the government’s responsibility to ensure minimum wages, good working conditions and safety for their citizens. The garment industry of Bangladesh helped the economy and contributed to the GDP growth in the country. It also provided employment to scores of unemployed women and empowered them, in a male dominated society.

The case talks about the garment industry in Bangladesh, the role of global retailers in the development of the industry, its impact on the economy, and the roles and responsibilities of global corporations like Walmart in a developing economy like Bangladesh. It also discusses the challenges organizations face in balancing demand for sustainability with consumers demand for low cost and high quality, and shareholders demands for higher profits.

AuthorsSurojit Mahato and Indu Perepu
InstitutionIBS Hyderabad, IFHE University, India
Competition Year2015
PlaceRunner up
TrackCorporate Sustainability
Key WordsCSR, multinational corporations, ethical procurement, sweatshops
CoursesCorporate Sustainability, Corporate Sustainability, International Management Strategy
Target AudienceMBA, Undergrads, Executives
Purchase InformationYou will be able to purchase the case at the Case Centre shortly.
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oikos International

posted June 24, 2015

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Un-dress

Sustainable and fashionable? UnDress shows that this goes together very well. In workshops and presentations, HSG students can inform about modern ecofashion. Moreover, there is an exhibition and a fashion show with students and professors, where everyone can gain inspiration for sustainable and fashionable looks and trends.
This annual event is organized in cooperation with the Marketing Club at the University of St. Gallen.

Click here to read more.

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oikos International

posted February 18, 2015

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Fashion (Supply Chain) Learning Circle Updates

The Fashion/Supply Chain Learning Circle 

Fair fashion, sustainable shirts and organic underpants – that is what we want. But what changes need to be pushed on in order to achieve a more sustainable product? What steps within the fashion supply chain are concerned? And in what ways can oikos impact on this transformation towards more sustainability?

Through a co-operation of oikos Maastricht and oikos Reutlingen this Learning Circle was brought to life, to answer those questions. We started of with a research for current models of the fashion supply chain in order to be able to identify the most important stakeholders and/or multipliers. Additionally traditional and new challenges of the fashion industry were defined. To this theoretical basis sustainable fashion expert Enrico Rima added years of experience in the business how changes can effectively be brought forward.

Within the Fashion Learning Cirlce we aim at creating an action kit for each of our participants’ chapters to reach stakeholders and accelerate change. Whether or not there have been projects in your chapter before, we will look for new ways and get inspired.

The FutureLab 2014

The oikos FutureLab is the biggest event in the annual oikos calendar which gathers representatives from the entire oikos community. It provides a 2-day platform for 120 participants to inspire, discover and develop joint perspectives on the future of sustainability in management and economics. It leverages our global network of student members, alumni, advisors, faculty and partners for action. It offers a “laboratory” to design initiatives, engage the oikos community in pursuing them and fuel our journey towards higher impact.

For more information click here.

What are Learning Circles?

A Learning Circle is a highly interactive, participatory structure for organizing group work within a subject area. The goal is to build, share and express knowledge through a process of open dialogue and deep reflection. Within each Learning Circle people with a common interest gain experience, knowledge and establish networks in their chosen subject area. The Learning Circle structure gives the oikos community the opportunity to map the landscape of a specific topic, get in touch with external inspirational experts and systematically spread the knowledge in our network. In 2014, seven Learning Circles were initiated: Leadership, Finance, Entrepreneurship, Energy, Economics, Fashion/Supply Chain and Management.

Learn about other Learning Circles here.

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oikos International

posted October 14, 2014

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oikos Newsletter June 2013

Make it a summer to remember with oikos! Still not sure about where to travel this summer? Then join us at the Summer School in Baku or at the Sustainable Energy for Europe Conference in Warsaw or apply to be a Student Reporter at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Dalian-China or simply join us in our online webinars on sustainable fashion. If you are a PhD student, you can join us at the oikos UNDP Young Scholars Development Academy in Istanbul or the oikos PhD Seminar in Warsaw. In this issue, we also present to you the winners of the oikos Case Writing Competition and invite you to spend 30 seconds with Christina Ek, former President of oikos Copenhagen. Read More

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oikos International

posted June 6, 2013

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