What are your concerns when searching for local suppliers and partner businesses with this goal in mind?
It is the reality of life that often, the reason for important product decisions lies with the cost of production and profit generation. It is this Supply and Demand economics which helps to dictate the direction sustainable production is heading in. Due to the new technology required, creating and sourcing recycled materials is still relatively expensive currently. For the most part though, Mr Teruel believes that the current situation is improving and mainly due to the fact that the idea has quickly begun to gain awareness. With time, things may become easier for local suppliers as a result of future changes in demand.
JIT (Just-in-Time production) strategy used when producing your clothing. Why do you use this method of production?
We use this method to decrease unit costs as much as possible and make sure nothing is overproduced. Upon expansion on the advantages of this method, Mr Teruel spoke on how the lower stock led to lower financial risks and fewer environmental issues. Curiously, Mekong N’to looks to reduce the number of products being sold, making it a wonderful example of a company that truly prioritises the wellbeing of the environment.
How can your products be expanded to other areas of clothing and not only t-shirts?
Expansion in areas of clothing has already begun at Mekong N'to and they produce a variety of clothing. Namely, sport kits, swimming suits, masks and jackets. Many of these are customised and branded by the customer. Historically, Mekong N’to has created 15,000 different items of clothing. Examples of which appear on this website.
Why is it important to use ink that is environmentally safe? What is the difference between the ink you use and commercially produced clothing ink?
The typical ink used on regular clothes can often contain harmful substances. Research shows that often, fabric ink is basically just “liquid plastic” which is toxic. In the case that it somehow gets exposed to the environment, it could cause problems for the customer and even animals that end up coming across these inks. This is why it’s important to also consider the environmental consequences of the inks used when producing clothes. As a result, Mekong N’to uses only water-based inks to make sure they’re harmless.
You’ve made connections between the UN Global Goals and this project, could you explain how your company meets these goals?
When looking into connections between the Global Goals and Mekong N’to, Mr Teruel explained how they essentially viewed the SDGs as news to share. It encouraged Mekong N’to to share which goals reflected the methods they used to preserve the environment which, upon looking further into the topic, have been featured on its own separate page on their website. It's apparent that the company cares about sustainable and responsible production but also on creating the optimal working environment for employees.
Has the plan to stay sustainable interfered with any other projects or ideas you have in mind?
There is an unfortunate lack of versatility within the sustainable production industry due to the limited number of supply chains, brands, and companies that are focused on being sustainable. While this is changing over time, it has pushed Mekong N’to towards developing a clear understanding of their own capabilities and the aims of their partners. With this positive attitude, limitations that come with sustainability can still be managed, albeit rather slowly.