Photos by Henrik Lindholm and Eva Hesselmark during a trip to Lapland.

Meet our Sustainability Manager, Henrik! This is the man who leads Sandqvist’s sustainability work towards our goal of becoming a world leading example for sustainable bags. It’s a long journey but a fun one, and we are well on our way. We wanted to let you in on what he and the rest of us at Sandqvist are doing to reach this goal, how we’re doing it and why. For more information on the subject, please click here.

What in Sandqvist’s sustainability work are you most proud of?

Our organic cotton, without any doubt. By buying this cotton, we directly help marginalised farmers in the Adilabad district in India. In this way, Sandqvist can be a part of tackling rural poverty - one of the greatest challenges we face globally today.

“Most brands don’t even know where the cotton they use come from. And it is actually there, on the cotton fields, we need to start if we want to make sure our products are made in a fair way.”

What is the vision for Sandqvist?

Our vision is to be one of the world leaders in sustainable bags. We are not there yet, but this is where we aim. On our way there, we don’t only need to look at how our products are made, but also how they are used, repaired and finally recycled. We will also have to adress how people consume our products, do you really need to own a bag that you only use two three times per year? Maybe it makes more sense to rent a bag like that?

What are the biggest challenges?

We want to take responsibility for the environmental impact of our bags, from cotton field all the way to the recycling of the products. Therefore, we try to encourage our customers to hand in their old worn out bags, by providing a voucher granting 20% of their next purchase if they do so. However, we sell our bags all over the world, and we only have our own stores in Sweden, Germany and England. If we want to move towards a circular business model, we need to find a better way of recycling our old products.

To be honest, this is probably nothing Sandqvist can solve by ourselves. The industry needs to work together to solve the challenge of handling textile waste.

What can you do as a consumer?

The short answer is, don’t buy anything you don’t need or will not use. In our business, people are a bit afraid to bring this up, the fact that overconsumption is a problem. There are surveys saying that 30 percent of what we have in our wardrobes, we haven’t used for the last twelve months. This is a waste and also a burden to the environment.

And once you have bought a product that you like, you need to take care of it. The better you care for your bags, the longer they will last. And the best way to decrease the environmental impact of a product is to use it longer, quite easy really.

“Taking care of a bag means doing things like applying leather grease or balm, not overstuffing the bag, never forcefully closing a zipper, and when the bag eventually breaks, taking it to be repaired, either at one of our stores or at a local tailor.”

How come Sandqvist has chosen to work with sustainability?

I think it is because we are a small company where everyone working is very interested in these issues. And since the owners are still involved in the day to day work, it is very easy to get the support for new ideas on how to make our business more sustainable. Actually, as a Sustainability Manager, I am quite surprised that I have not once, so far, received a no.

Sandqvist sustainability work:

  • 100% organic cotton sourced directly from the farmers
  • Recycled fibres from post-consumer waste in all new synthetic materials
  • Transparent supply chain, from cotton field to bag
  • Fair Wear Foundation: Independent verification of working conditions at suppliers
  • Sandqvist Repair Shops and redesigned Recollection extends the life of our products