Impact Report 2018
Change the world sleeping. By making beautiful, soft and above all sustainable products for the bedroom and bathroom, we make life a little more pleasant and comfortable and the world a little cleaner and a little fairer.
We believe that better sleepers can create a better world. That's why we only make beautiful, environmentally friendly and super soft products that our customers can really enjoy. By choosing natural and durable materials such as cotton, linen, wool and down, we're able to make wonderfully soft, warm bedding. In this way we hope to bring about a positive change in the world of sleep, and in the world of sleepers.
Yumeko has translated its mission into various goals that have both a direct and indirect impact:
- Making quality products with ethical and transparent supply chains that contribute to a positive change for the environment, people and animals.
- By using Yumeko bedding to make customers aware of their influence and encourage them to contribute to a more beautiful and cleaner world.
- By working together with partners and suppliers, Yumeko wants to inspire other companies and show them how ethical production is possible and encourage them to join in.
In the heart of Amsterdam, our team is hard at work every day to make this dream a reality. We do this by following a number of basic principles, our guiding principles. For example, it starts with the choices we make about the materials we use and the products we sell; they have to contribute to a better and cleaner world.
To this end, we enter into long-term, transparent partnerships with partners that meet our high ethical standards. Wherever possible, these partner companies are certified with a quality mark for animal, environmental and employment conditions. In this way, we not only guarantee the origin and ethical production, but we also ensure that more and more companies start producing responsibly.
Our impact in 2018 in brief
We used 22,300 kg of organic cotton in 2018. Compared to ordinary cotton, this means 21,992 kg less toxins, leaving almost 223 million litres of water clean and unpolluted.
In 2018, we introduced our first circular line: ReNew down duvets and pillows. In 1 month, we returned 31 kg of recycled down to the bedrooms.
We used 1,873 kg of vegetable materials to make a positive impact on the environment and nature, including 1,302 kg of tencel, 560 kg of kapok and 11 kg of linen. For our mattresses, hot water bottles and pillows, we used 4,252 kg natural latex, which prevents contamination from synthetic latex/oil.
41% of our customers recycled their old mattress after purchasing a new Yumeko mattress. Those mattresses have been reused up to 100%.
Our Indian cotton has been grown by around 280 farmers who have earned a basic income for their families. More than 250 factory and other workers work in our cotton supply chain and receive a Fairtrade fair wage.
We shared the joy of lavender sachets with 14 thousand customers. These sachets were manufactured in a sheltered workshop and provided 720 hours of work.
In 2018, we welcomed more than 2,400 new customers – and the more customers, the more impact. Customers rate our products and services with a high score of 9/10.
By 2018, more than 230,000 hotel guests will have spent at least one sustainable night on and under Yumeko down in more than 600 hotel rooms.
In total we used 3,281 kg duck down with the RDS quality mark and 195 kg organic goose down.
We processed 2,089 kg of organic sheep's wool into our products. A total of about 500 happy sheep who could graze and frolic on an organic meadow free from pesticides. In addition, we used 110 kg of other wool species.
FEATURED: The Sustainable Development Goals
Yumeko is not alone in our ambition for a more beautiful, cleaner world. In 2015, the United Nations set 17 goals that will make the world a bit more beautiful and cleaner: the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The UN aims to achieve these goals by 2030. Yumeko is proud to be part of that. There is an overlap with the following 9 objectives:
In 2018, we used 22,300 kilos of organic cotton to produce our bedding. As a result, we saved some 22,300 kg of toxins, leaving more than 22 million litres of water unpolluted. We used the cotton for the covers of our duvets and pillows, and of course for our wonderfully soft bed linens. In 2018, we expanded our bed linen collection considerably: from 4 materials in 22 colours, to 5 materials in 41 colours.
Cotton is by far the most commonly used material for making bedding and other textiles. Unfortunately, there are a number of disadvantages to that popularity:
- Conventional cotton cultivation is a major user of harmful toxins. Approximately 25% of all pesticides and insecticides used in agriculture are used for growing cotton.
- Cotton is a thirsty crop. It often grows in areas with water scarcity and the water for cotton irrigation competes with water for other crops or household use.
- On many cotton plantations and factories, the working conditions are often poor and child labour is a regular occurrence.
IT CAN BE DONE DIFFERENTLY – The cotton we use at Yumeko is grown organically. It has a number of advantages over ordinary cotton:
- Our cotton is not sprayed with toxins that are harmful to the environment.
- Our cotton grows in areas that are naturally rich in water, which makes our cotton rain fed.
- There are strict controls on child labour, both on the cotton plantation and in the factories.
The independent certification bodies GOTS and Fairtrade check this and a range of other requirements annually.
FEATURED: Transparency in the Cotton Supply Chain
Yumeko always wants to be able to guarantee that its production chains are producing ethically and sustainably, which is why creating transparency in the supply chain is one of our guiding principles.
Yumeko's production chains, including the cotton chain, are very complex. There are many production steps that involve several manufacturing partners and thousands of workers. That's why we've decided to work with existing independent certification bodies that can carry out the inspections in these complex chains.
The GOTS quality mark (Global Organic Textile Standard) and the Fairtrade quality mark, for example, provide insight into and a guarantee for every production step - from cotton plantation to spinning mill to end product. It also gives us the certainty that products meet the environmental standards for organic textiles as well as social standards such as a fair wages and a safe working environment.
The cotton supply chain
Plantation — For cotton, Yumeko works together with the Chetna cooperative in India. The cotton is grown there by some 280 farming families (that is about 9 complete villages) who received their annual income from it in 2018. The Chetna cooperative is both GOTS and Fairtrade certified. This has a number of major advantages for the farmers involved. For example, regardless of the fluctuating world market price, they always receive a (fair) minimum price for their cotton. Through our partners, they also receive extra premiums for improving their living conditions.
Ginning — After the cotton bolls have been harvested, the cotton fibre is separated from the leaves, twigs and seeds. The cottonseed still serves a useful purpose: oil is pressed from it, which is then used in Indian cuisine. The clean fibre continues into the Yumeko production chain. There are strict controls on the use of child labour at this point.
Spinning mill — The loose cotton fibres are spun into usable yarns in the right density and thickness; the yarns are then twisted to give them strength. This step is also monitored by GOTS and Fairtrade.
Dyeing — The spun yarns are dyed in different colours. This is also done in accordance with the GOTS guidelines; no chemicals are used that can be harmful to people or the environment. The dyeing process takes place in a closed loop, which guarantees that no dye gets into the surface water. The dyes we use are completely natural and not harmful to the environment.
Weaving mill — The dyed yarns are now woven into fabric. This is where the softness of Yumeko products comes from. Only the most advanced looms can guarantee the high Yumeko quality. The threads, yarns, are now woven over and over each other. (These two threads are called the warp and the weft). This step in the process also complies with GOTS and Fairtrade guidelines.
Manufacturing end product — At the CMT (cut-make-trim) production sites, the woven fabric is cut and sewn into luxurious bedding. This is done under GOTS and Fairtrade conditions, with respect for the workers in the supply chain. This means, among other things, that there are clear agreements about wages, working hours and safety.
In 2018, we used 3,281 kg of duck down with RDS quality mark and 195 kg of organic goose down. Yumeko is continuously striving to improve animal welfare in the chains and to introduce new products that guarantee better animal welfare.
Down is a commonly used material for filling duvets and pillows. The main advantages are that it insulates well and is nice and light. But it's not such a great experience for most ducks and geese in the chain:
- Down often comes from far away and the exact origin is often unclear. As a result, little is known about the origin of down and animal welfare.
- Down is a by-product of the meat industry. For the production of duck and goose liver, the animals are often cruelly force fed.
- Ducks and geese are plucked alive, hoping that the down will grow back and can be plucked more than once. This is a painful and traumatic process.
IT CAN BE DONE DIFFERENTLY – In 2018, Yumeko used 4 types of down in our collection: goose down, duck down, half down and recycled down. We strive for high-quality end products from an ethical production chain.
- Our down comes from short chains and is certified. Our ducks grow up in the Netherlands and are certified by RDS. Our geese come from Germany, and the Bioland label monitors their living conditions.
- Our down is also a by-product of the meat industry. However, the ducks and geese are free to roam and can eat and drink according to their own needs, from food and water sources that are always available and accessible.
- Our ducks and geese are not plucked alive. The down and the meat are separated after slaughter.
Despite our efforts to gain as much insight into our chain as possible, gaps were still found in our RDS chain in 2018. Last summer, images were shown on RTL News which showed that even stricter regulations and controls are needed around animal welfare. We were shocked by these images, which is why we restarted consultation with our chain partners. Thanks to this kind of cooperation and consultation, the rules for the RDS quality mark have been tightened.
FEATURED: A Sustainable Night's Sleep
Yumeko wants to try, together with its business partners, to effect positive change in the world of sleep. One example is our 2018 collaboration with a number of sustainable hotels, such as the QO Hotel and the Conscious Hotels in Amsterdam. Hotel guests can now enjoy a sustainable night's sleep under Yumeko down duvets and pillows at several locations, introducing them to Yumeko.
By 2018, more than 230,000 hotel guests will have spent at least one sustainable night on and under Yumeko down, in more than 600 hotel rooms.
Another great example: new ways to make sustainable nights in nature possible. In the forests of Drenthe and in the Belgian Ardennes, Cabiner and Slow Cabins make it possible to spend a night in nature on a real Yumeko mattress.
By 2018, more than 150 people had already enjoyed a wonderful night's sleep in nature.
We use wool for our pillows, duvets, blankets and throws. In 2018, this was 2,089 kg of GOTS-certified sheep's wool from more than 500 sheep. In addition, we used around 120 kilos of other wool types, such as alpaca and yak wool. The GOTS quality certification guarantees that the wool has organic origins and that high standards are placed on its processing. It also guarantees:
- that the sheep have the space to graze and move freely;
- that the sheep are sheared in a quiet, compassionate way, avoiding injuries. There is a strict ban on mulesing;
- that the sheep eat naturally and are not vaccinated preventively;
- that the grassland has not been treated with insecticides, pesticides or fertilisers;
- that the raw wool, after shearing, is never treated with harmful chemicals, environmentally harmful degreasers (such as chlorine) or toxic dyes. By using soft soaps when washing, the natural oils in the wool remain intact and we do not unnecessarily burden our living environment.
Yumeko truly believes that as a society, we need to move towards a circular economy where high-quality materials can be reused for a better purpose than ending up in a landfill or an incinerator. Yumeko believes that this makes a major contribution to making our society more sustainable. Product development at Yumeko is therefore also focused on recycled and upcycled materials.
Yumeko has set the goal of building up an extensive circular collection in the coming years under the 'ReNew' moniker, which is entirely made of recycled material. The goal is to eventually create a 100% circular bedroom.
Yumeko also wants to help our customers recycle products and materials that can be reused, helping them take the first steps towards a circular economy.
♺ Recycled down in duvets and pillows
In 2018, Yumeko was the first in the Netherlands to introduce the ReNew collection, duvets and pillows made of recycled down. This is a leading movement in the market that will stimulate both sustainable product development at Yumeko and hopefully also among our colleagues, as well as offering consumers a new, sustainable alternative for the bedroom. The pillows and duvets in the ReNew collection are filled with 100% recycled down and feathers, both from ducks and geese.
The down is collected at various locations across Europe and after a strict quality controls, the usable down (and feathers) are reused in full-fledged pillows and duvets. Often about 80% of the down and feathers can still be reused. The remainder is used to make a mineral-rich compost, which can be used to feed arable land organically.
ReNew customers can return their old down duvet and/or pillow to Yumeko for recycling, free of charge.
♺ Recycled yarns in blankets and throws
Last year, Yumeko added two new throws to its collection made of 100% recycled denim, PET and elastane from rejected and old clothing. The yarns that are spun from that recycling are processed into beautiful, unique throws. Yumeko's Dutch partner Loop-a-Life developed this product.
♺ Mattress recycling
Yumeko is sad to see that many old mattresses end up in waste incineration. That's why Yumeko introduced a free collection and recycling service; the old mattress is collected and recycled free of charge with our partner in Lelystad, which means that up to 100% of the mattress can be reused. The different materials are separated from each other. For example, the foam-like materials - such as latex and polyether - are reused as cushioning or insulation material.
In 2018, we gave more than 50 mattresses a second life. Approximately 41% of the customers who bought a new mattress returned their old mattress to us.
Tencel, kapok and linen and natural latex
Tencel, kapok and linen are our top three natural and plant-based filling materials. In 2018, we used 1,302 kg of tencel, 560 kg of kapok and 11 kg of linen as filling for our pillows and duvets. People who do not want to use animal materials have an alternative to the synthetic options thanks to these materials.
Synthetic materials are often made from petroleum:
- The extraction of oil releases toxic substances that are harmful to people and the environment.
- Synthetic materials release microplastics over time, small plastic particles that do not dissolve and end up in nature and in the sea.
IT CAN BE DONE DIFFERENTLY – Our materials are plant based; linen is made from flax, tencel comes from the eucalyptus tree, and kapok from the kapok tree.
- The plants and trees from which our products are made are actually air-purifying as long as they grow.
- If plant-based materials release dust particles, they are biodegradable.
- These plant-based substances have a positive impact on the environment because they use less water and no chemicals are deposited into the soil water.
We believe that as many natural materials as possible are better for a healthy night's sleep. Mattresses made of oil-based artificial materials, synthetic latex and foam are thorns in our side. That's why we only use natural latex for our pillows, hot water bottles and of course those lovely comfortable mattresses (with quality certifications). In total, we used 4.252 kg of natural latex in 2018.
We only use pure, natural latex.
- A mattress or other product can easily be called natural latex, even though it is often mixed with synthetic latex (this is allowed for contents of at least 15% natural latex).
- In order to guarantee the natural origin of our mattresses, we have been awarded the QUL quality mark. This quality label for environmentally friendly natural latex mattresses also carries out extensive checks on the presence and emission of various chemical substances, such as pesticides and heavy metals.
- Our hot water bottles are FSC certified. That means there is a healthy balance between making money from the timber industry on the one hand and nature conservation and forest conservation on the other.
- Our natural latex cushions bear the Oeko-Tex quality certification. This quality certification guarantees that the latex is extracted in a way that minimises the impact on people, animals and the environment.
Lavender is known for its soothing properties. That's why we like to give our customers a small sachet of organic French lavender. A small, 20-gram sachet can turn an ordinary package into a lovely gift.
To fill the lavender sachets, we work together with a sheltered workshop in the Netherlands. In 2018, we purchased about 14 thousand sachets. This made some 720 hours of work possible.
Impact on our office
Yumeko is a social enterprise, which means entrepreneurship with a social mission. For the people who work at Yumeko, that is often a conscious choice.
Even outside of work hours, our employees are aware of the impact they have on their environment. For example, the average Yumeko employee eats relatively little meat, and they are always glad to give each other tips on the latest developments in sustainable fashion (first-hand or second-hand). One of our employees even has his own worm compost bin on the balcony.
As the English say, practise what you preach, so we're also trying to increase our positive impact within our office and reduce the negative impact. We're making that happen in different ways:
- We come to the office in the morning by bike or public transport.
- Once there, we start the day with an honest cup of coffee or a cup of fair-trade tea.
- If we sit at our desk and turn on the computer, it runs on green energy.
- Our lunch consists as much as possible of local and organic products.
We spent a lot of time and energy on strengthening our culture last year. In our culture, it's all about our three core values: Enterprising, Meaningful and Shifuku. Our core values aren't just meaningless platitudes – they are the compass we use to guide our decisions when it comes to things like recruiting new colleagues, furnishing the office, how we celebrate our successes and how we engaged with each other. It's something that is discussed with the whole team. In 2018, we also introduced the Rockefeller Habits structures, which means that we now do a huddle with the entire team every morning and organise weekly, monthly and quarterly meetings to set the course for the coming period.
'Team Yumeko' went on several fun - and impactful - team outings in 2018. In March, we volunteered with NLDoet. In July, we took a trip through the Amsterdam canals with PlasticWhale, fishing plastic waste out of the water. And our New Year's Eve dinner was hosted with our partner, the Conscious Hotel.
FEATURED: Yumeko's Satisfied Customers
Yumeko believes that better sleep contributes to a better world. Better sleep makes space for beautiful dreams - and provides the energy to make them come true. The more people we reach, the more impact we can achieve. Satisfied customers are Yumeko's best ambassadors. Customer satisfaction is therefore of the utmost importance. On the many different review sites, Yumeko scores at least a 9/10 for customer satisfaction.
FEATURED: Stakeholder Dialogue
Yumeko sees its customers, resellers, manufacturers and their workers, suppliers and labels as stakeholders. By engaging in dialogue with these stakeholders, Yumeko is trying to improve the supply chains, products, impact and propositions. Since different themes have been identified for the various stakeholders, discussions are not held with all stakeholders at the same time.
Yumeko discusses product preferences, such as colours and new products, with customers on a regular basis, both via direct contact with customers on the phone or by email, but also ad hoc, when customers come into the showroom, for example.
Manufacturers and suppliers engage with Yumeko on a structural basis. For example, we carry out supplier consultations about twice a year. This year's discussions were often around the joint development of new sustainable materials/products, increasing social impact and optimising the logistics process. Major steps have also been taken to create more transparency and to identify the different players in the chains.
Since Yumeko as an organisation cannot consult directly with the farmers, we engaged in dialogue with the supplier and the cooperative on issues such as farmers' living conditions, organic production and women's and children's rights. In addition, we are exploring possibilities for providing farmers with a better guarantee for the purchase and financing of their cotton. Many farmers still have to sell part of their harvest at the global market price, which means that they continue to live in poverty.
2018 Impact Report Afterword
In 2018, we were able to achieve impact in various areas. We also started a number of new projects that we would like to take with us to 2019. Some examples include:
- With the ReNew line, we have clearly put circularity on our agenda. We would like to continue that expansion in 2019. For example, together with our partners, we are looking into opportunities for cotton recycling.
- We expanded our current sustainable bed linen collection considerably in 2018. In 2019, we plan to introduce new products that are better for the world, including the introduction of linen made from flax. Compared to cotton production, flax requires considerably less water, which significantly reduces its negative impact on the environment and living conditions.
- Six impact reports have been published since our first report in 2013. We are showing customers and other interested parties the impact we make each year. Achieving impact is an important goal for our organisation. We want to take this even further in 2019.
- Internally, we have also had quite a few successes in recording impact, such as making our Theory of Change concrete. In 2019, we will be working to paint an even clearer picture of our impact goals so we can formulate clear objectives. We also want to improve our measurability and re-evaluate current indicators. The appointment of an impact manager will ensure that happens.
Sources and Methodology
The figures in this impact report have been obtained in various ways.
First of all, we used our own sales data. Based on the number of products sold per product group, we can accurately calculate how many raw materials we needed in total. All sales are translated into kg of material.
The impact on environmental objectives is measured by translating the quantities of material (kg) into environmental effects. For example, we use insights from scientific organisations on the environmental impact of cotton to translate our sales into the use of chemicals and pesticides and water consumption and pollution.
We also received input from our partners. All our suppliers report how many farmers, workers and factory workers are involved in the production of our products, who receive a fair wage for their work. In addition, we also report on things like the number of hotel guests who slept on Yumeko bedding or the number of hours of work that resulted from the production of our lavender sachets.
We use averages for our impact methodology. Exact numbers depend on different conditions in different countries and regions, such as the cotton-growing region. Our goal is to be able to adjust these averages more accurately to our own situation.
As a company, Yumeko is formally certified for all products and all business processes in accordance with the strict guidelines of official GOTS and Fairtrade environmental and social certificates.