“In times of global warming, fast growing landfills and polluted seas, Leah feels very strongly about doing her part in protecting the environment for her family and future generations. She loves her extensive wardrobe, but feels guilty about it, since she knows the clothes were produced for meagre wages and will end up in a landfill, contaminating the environment. She wishes she had clothing that respected the following criteria: material health, energy conservation and social fairness. That is exactly what TRIGEMA had in mind when it launched the brand "TRIGEMA Change" - to produce eco-friendly garments – 100% Made in Germany and certified with Cradle-to-Cradle CertifiedTM at Silver Level.”
Since 1919, TRIGEMA, a family-owned textile business, has been committed to producing high quality garments in South West Germany. In a 4-stage production process (fabric production, dyeing, finishing, cutting & sewing, embroidery shop) 1200 employees manufacture sports and leisurewear 100% Made in Germany. Being a manufacturer in an environmentally conscious country such as Germany, TRIGEMA strives for innovation. TRIGEMA was therefore the first company within the apparel industry to embrace Prof. Michael Braungart’s Cradle-to-Cradle® (C2C) idea. Since 2006, the collection features biodegradable textiles such as T-Shirts, Polo-Shirts, Sweat-Shirts and Sweat-Pants, manufactured strictly according to C2C standards. In 2010, a C2C T-Shirt was displayed in the German Pavilion “Balancity – Stadt im Gleichgewicht” at the Expo in Shanghai. In the spirit of C2C, the staff of the pavilion buried their TRIGEMA C2C uniforms on the premises of the EXPO once the
exhibition had closed.
“Since 2011, the TRIGEMA Change Collection has been regularly certified with the status of Cradle to Cradle Certifed Silver and therefore Leah is reassured, that these clothes will not harm the environment.”
TRIGEMA has invested more than USD $1M into the development of this C2C collection over the past 8 years. Investments include the purchase of new environmentally friendly equipment and machinery and the development and assessment of ingredients safe for biological cycles. This process of developing environmentally harmless ingredients, which meet the high colour qualities and durability of conventional clothing, was tedious but worthwhile. By implementing this process, TRIGEMA invested into employee training, design and marketing strategies portraying the benefits and ideas behind the C2C approach.
The collection, comprising of about 60 different items, makes up 4-5% of TRIGEMA’s entire clothing range and is available on www.trigema.de.“Leah therefore knows that by purchasing these biodegradable garments, she helps to protect the environment but can also expect high quality standards and social fairness.”
TRIGEMA has always placed great importance on energy saving measures, being energy selfsufficient since the early 1980s. By using a combined heat and power system (CHP), excess energy outside the manufacturing process is used to heat the hot water and the various buildings in use at the factory site.
Since 2007, TRIGEMA also focuses on renewable energy in the form of solar energy. Panels, covering an overall area of 6000m2, produce energy, which is used in production, and any excess energy is fed into the grid.
Production Process and Social Fairness
The organic cotton used in all of TRIGEMA’s C2C garments is sourced from a GOTScertified family company in Turkey and is spun into yarn in Greece. Once arriving in Germany, this yarn is knitted into light jersey or sweat fabrics in TRIGEMA’s knitting department. The fabric then undergoes special dyeing and finishing treatment, especially adjusted to meet the high C2C standards, before entering the cutting and garment assembly departments. In the cutting department, a specialised CAD programme is implemented, ensuring that the textile surface is utilised to a maximum, therefore minimizing waste. In the next step, 700 experienced seamstresses sew the individual fabric pieces into garments. In the final stage, several twelve-head embroidery machines, embroider the company logo onto the finished garment, using 100% biodegradable thread in C2C quality.
Having manufactured textiles 100% Made in Germany for almost 100 years, social fairness has always been a major part of TRIGEMA’s philosophy. TRIGEMA feels responsible for its employees even in difficult times, considering them to be part of its corporate family. In the past 45 years, TRIGEMA has not seen any short-time work or redundancies due to lack of orders. Furthermore, all employees’ children are guaranteed an apprenticeship or a workplace after they graduate from school. As a family owned business TRIGEMA not only feels responsible for its employees but also for the environment in which it operates. By embracing the C2C idea, TRIGEMA aims to play its part in conserving the environment for future generations and to support the survival of the German textile industry through continuous innovation and product development.
“Therefore, by purchasing TRIGEMA’s Cradle-to-Cradle® clothing, Leah is in harmony with both her conscience and the environment.”