For 30 years, we have got used to recurring scandals about slave wages and pollution linked to companies that manufacture in countries such as China, India, and Bangladesh. So - why does a brand that cares so much about sustainability manufacture in Asia?
Icebug has built long-term relationships with three factories in Vietnam and one in China. We have chosen to have our shoes produced in Asia because of their technically advanced footwear industry with professional knowledge that cannot be found in Europe. Of course, wages and the cost of living are also lower in Vietnam and China than in Sweden, which means we can manufacture shoes that many people can buy. At the same time, we ensure that factory workers receive fair, livable wages according to the well-established Anker method. Icebug is one of several customers at each factory. Our shoes account for only 2-25% of each factory’s production, but we use our influence actively. We believe in trade between countries and that we can make a difference and contribute to sustainable livelihoods even outside of Sweden.
The factories - Chief Vict Industries Corp, Haksan Ltd., Fulgent Sun, and Ironsteel - contribute expertise, experience, and great skill regarding materials and function.
Everyone knows there are bad factories in Asia. But there are great ones as well. Not all factories have hazardous working conditions, and Icebug has high standards when it comes to human rights.
A third party checks all factories. After each inspection, Icebug and the factory management access the protocol and review the results. This protocol is also published online. In cases where there are improvements to be made, we take the necessary steps. In addition to the third-party checks, Icebug representatives regularly visit the factories.
It may sound more sustainable to have production in Europe, but the fact is that shipping shoes from southern Europe by truck produces more greenhouse gas emissions than letting them take the boat from Asia. Above all, we must NEVER fly goods home from the factories. Doing so multiplies shipping-related emissions by 20 times. Many shoe and apparel companies do this, but at Icebug, we NEVER will.