Seay

overall rating:

2.5

planets

Harper Kiger Eaton
11/26/2021
No items found.

Founded in Italy, Seay is a certified B-corp designing sustainable solutions for beachwear, inspired by keeping the Mediterranean clean. Seay is seriously committed to sustainability, and they have devoted significant resources to finding the best solutions and available alternatives in their products. The use of more sustainable materials like organic cotton and recyclable polymer help limit waste and resource consumption. Additionally, Seay has reduced their carbon footprint by making 90% of its products within 100 km of its headquarters. What I found most remarkable is the introduction of their new RE3 model; they have incorporated an innovative circular model within their business. This innovation needs to be congratulated and is extremely helpful for the progression of a circular economy. With the combination of their efforts to improve their sustainability in almost every aspect of their supply chain and the ample transparency they show, they are truly deserving of the 2.5 planet rating I have given. The only reason they could not receive a perfect score is for the lack of information about their labor practices.

What it's made of:

2.25

Seay produces beachwear that is designed with materials that are better for humans and the planet. The main materials used in their products include cotton and polyester. As Seay takes sustainability very seriously, they inform the consumer that the polyester and cotton they use are produced with different sustainable certifications. For example, they use 100% organic cotton. Organic cotton is designed to promote biodiversity and biological cycles along with limiting allergic reactions for people with cotton sensitivities. Organic cotton means that the cotton is grown without GMOs or synthetic chemicals like pesticides. The organic cotton used in Seay products is GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified. On their website, they describe the certification by saying “this certification defines compliance with top-level environmental criteria for the entire supply chain of textile fibers and at the same time requires compliance with important social criteria.” In a life cycle assessment done by Textile Exchange in 2014 on both organic cotton and traditional cotton, they found many beneficial aspects of growing organic cotton rather than traditional cotton. Organic cotton is 46% less harmful to the climate, produces 70% less acidification to land and water in the area it is grown, decreases the potential of soil erosion by 26%, and, most importantly, limits the use of groundwater and energy consumption by 91% and 62%, respectively. These are amazing statistics that Seay is taking full advantage of with its use of organic cotton.

Moving on from cotton, the polyester they use also has many more sustainable qualities than traditional polyester or polyamide. Seay uses GRS (Global Recycled Standard) certified polyester. The GRS certification states that it works to “reduce the harmful impact of production to people and the environment. Provide assurance that products are processed more sustainably, and drive higher percentages of recycled content in products.” Recycled polyester is a key factor contributing to Seay’s 32% reduction in carbon emissions. The use of recycled polyester also eliminates the need for excessive extraction of crude oil and natural gas from the earth. Polyester accounts for around 60% of the world’s PET, which is the lightweight plastic we use to make bottles of soda. Polyester is not a very sustainable product but it is nice to see that they are trying to reduce the impact it has on the earth.

It is very refreshing to see the level of transparency Seay provides to its consumers. They do a great job of telling the customer what materials they use, and additionally, take the extra step of explaining how and why that material is beneficial. While their materials are not completely sustainable, they are taking the right steps to choose alternatives that are less harmful to our environment.

How it's made:

3

Seay has identified major problems that the apparel industry creates for the planet, specifically in manufacturing. According to their sustainability report, a typical T-shirt travels about 37,000 km before being worn. Additionally, the average T-shirt is only worn seven times before it is thrown away. They have specifically designed their business in such a way as to limit the negative impacts associated with manufacturing, particularly on the environment. Seay manufactures 90% of its products in Italy, offsetting any outstanding carbon emissions. By manufacturing so close to home (Vizenca, Italy), Seay is reducing a significant proportion of their carbon emissions. Their primary production plants are located within 100 km of their headquarters. This is impressive given the apparel industry is notorious for the use (and misuse) of labor in foreign countries. Seay has consciously decided to avoid this.

Seay has expended many resources investigating the entire life cycle of its products. Most of this research has gone into their packaging, and they have incorporated the RE3 model. Incredibly as a company, they have adopted what they believe to be the second-lowest environmentally impactful shipment process. According to Seay, the only factor that disallows the top spot for sustainable shipment is the actual use of packaging. They thought about completely removing packaging in their shipping, however, they ultimately decided they needed to include packaging in order to protect the products. They concluded that the use of biodegradable and compostable bags was the most sustainable form of packaging. A traditional shipping bag can take anywhere from 10 to 1,000 years to degrade, whereas the bags that Seay uses take up to three months to degrade.

Something that really separates Seay from other companies is its commitment to circularity. They have now launched their RE3 model. This has been a twelve-month process that finally come to fruition. The RE3 model is designed to limit the negative environmental impacts of used apparel by reusing unwanted garments. When you buy a Seay product, the packaging and product come with a return label and a QR code. When you open the packaging, they want you to place any unwanted clothes that you have back in the packaging and reseal the packaging with the return label. After dropping your package at a nearby post office, Seay then pays the shipping tariff in order to receive your unwanted clothes. They are offering 20% off any purchase any time you send in your unwanted clothes.

Where the “RE3” name comes from is what they do next with the old clothes. There are three different options when your clothes are given back to Seay: re-sell, re-use, or re-generate. In the case of the “re-sell”, your clothes will be sanitized and sold as a vintage item, extending the life of the product. When the article is re-used, the garment is sanitized and donated to people in need. Finally, if the clothes are beyond repair, the “re-generate” option is activated. The article is sent to a plant that is able to recycle the material for use in future products. After a stage of the RE3 model is chosen and the product is utilized again, you can scan the QR code you were given and track where your old clothes have gone. This model is very innovative. It is one of the closest models to circularity that I have personally seen within a product-based company. I think this is a great example that other companies can, and should, follow. It provides a more sustainable solution to fast fashion along with providing a great deal of transparency.

Who makes it:

1.5

As Seay is a certified B-corp, its mission is aligned with sustainability, in both its human and environmental forms. There is a very limited amount of information about their labor practices. However, to become a certified B-corp you have to comply with strict labor standards. With the great work that Seay is doing, I believe it is safe to assume that they would not mistreat their workers. Seay received a respectable score of 26.5 in the “community” section of its B-Corp Impact Assessment. Most importantly, they achieved high scores in economic impact and supply chain management. But, it is important that we have more information as consumers and Seay does not yet fulfill these needs.

With the information we have at hand about the social impact of Seay, it is safe to say they take their commitment to their community very seriously. This is a company that started in Italy and has stayed true to its routes since the start. They started a beach clean-up initiative on the shores of Italy. They wanted to raise awareness of the amount of unnecessary and harmful waste that is disposed of on beaches while helping clean up a local beach. They were able to pick up 100 trash bags filled with a mix of different trash, seven polystyrene boxes, six floats, two tires, and a metal sign. Initiatives like these help show that Seay is focused on improving their community along with their business.