Behind The B With Sustainable Fashion Challenger Mondetta
After recently earning our B Corp certification we’re more excited than ever to dive into B Corp Month this March. From sharing B Corps you should know about to raising awareness about the impact and necessity of B Corps, we’ve spent the last weeks dropping content and leading social initiatives.
In the next edition of our B Corp spotlights, Ash Modha, president of Mondetta, talks about sustainability, building a fashion brand in Winnipeg, and the importance of embracing a spirit of unification.
Achieving sustainability promises as a B Corp.
When it comes to sustainability, Mondetta makes the environment an action point at every part of their process, from the moment a product’s made to the moment it’s delivered. The brand is part of the Higg Apparel Coalition started by Walmart and Patagonia in 2009, something Modha describes as “the highest level of sustainable management.”
He shares how “there’s so much greenwashing out there and then there’s the ability to test, monitor, and actually comply with the claims that are made. That’s where we spend a lot of time.”
As part of this, the company puts a particular emphasis on data. “As an organization we’re starting to measure and monitor the factory levels of how much carbon footprint they create, how we continue to test, and then actually use the data to continually improve that.”
How sustainability has changed since Mondetta’s founding in 1986.
Since Mondetta started over 30 years ago, Modha states how sustainability has “changed drastically,” but, despite that, it’s only in the past three or four years that brands have started to make true changes towards reducing their footprint.
“The Patagonias of the world have been doing it for a long time but we haven’t seen the switch from a mill and factory perspective until recently,” he continues. “You’ve got to get to a point where it’s cheap enough for everyone to start moving at scale.”
He notes different periods of time where there’s been a greater move towards sustainability, such as the Paris Agreement, but feels consumers need to feel they’re getting genuine results if they’re going to be willing to pay for it.
“That’s why Mondetta comes in from a value model that flips the switch,” he shares. “If we can change that on a large scale, that’s where we can make significant changes to the environment.”
Keeping to core values while working across different markets.
As a brand, Mondetta works across a number of divisions, including DTC and wholesale, and serves a range of countries and regions. While there are nuances in those markets when it comes to sustainability, Modha shares how he’s seeing changes across the board, and that everyone is starting to make an impact.
“We’ve got an existential crisis coming and if we don’t move fast enough, there’s going to be significant problems,” he says. “It has to happen from an entire ecosystem. From us, suppliers, and all of our competitors. Everybody has to move in tandem.”
One of the main ways Mondetta has managed to stick to its goals throughout comes down to compliance. “One of our core values as a company is keeping ahead of compliance. Back in 2014 we said we have to start looking at our environmental footprint and what we can do differently. That was the next phase in how we could switch up gears.”
He continues to say how Mondetta is “probably about 24 to 36 months ahead of our competitors on it, and we’re really starting to see the relevance of it moving forward.”
The importance of B Corps embracing a spirit of unification.
The name Mondetta combines the French word for world (monde) and the Latin suffix ‘etta’, meaning small. This idea of harmonizing the globe through small worlds is what keeps pushing Mondetta forward, and celebrating a spirit of unification.
“We think [a spirit of unification for B Corps today] is more important than anything. Even looking at sustainability, we can’t do it alone. In the last four or five years we’ve seen nationalism but we’re also realizing that the world is so interconnected. That’s what Mondetta really stood for from the beginning.”
Putting together a team of creatives, thinkers, and doers.
While Mondetta is a fashion brand, it’s not from a fashion capital. Being based in Winnipeg is something that Modha credits as having its limitations but more often, its advantages.
He explains how “building a team in Manitoba hasn’t been easy but the team we have is fantastic. We can compete on a world stage with some of the biggest brands. Being in a small town like this, and being able to have a global view allows us to be competitive yet in a situation where we’re not getting distracted.”
Becoming part of the B Corp community.
To those also looking to become part of the B Corp community, Modha “welcomes it to anybody and everybody.”
He explains how it’s difficult to become part of the community and the metrics to become a B Corp are extremely challenging, but it’s worth it.
“In the long-term it will help make a better society. I truly believe you can be a for-profit business that can do good. The more you do for the right reasons, the more it comes back and helps you. That’s key for us.”
Check out our first B Corp spotlight with Grace Mandarano, co-owner, co-founder, and CFO of 100km Foods talks about being a B Corp leader, the notion of eating local, and the seasonal food worth getting excited about.