Where are our products made?

Our products are made both in-house and through carefully selected outsource partners, optimised for reduced environmental harms and increased employee, environmental and stakeholder value creation throughout our value chain. Our Supplier Code of Conduct ensures that every partner we work with must abide by the ethical and responsible business guidelines we have set out, and many go above and beyond this and achieve internationally recognised certification.

Where our products are made

  • All bags (excluding Commuter collection): Handmade in Cape Town by our skilled craftspeople, either in-house or by one of our valued partners.
  • Commuter Collection: Handmade in Jakarta by our valued partner Tasindo, a Bluesign-certified manufacturer of highly technical and recycled gear. Unfortunately, this technology is not available in South Africa yet but we are working to onshore production when and wherever possible.
  • Hemp Shacket/Shirt: Handmade in Cape Town from locally bought hemp.
  • Hemp Bucket Hat and Peak: Handmade in Johannesburg from locally bought hemp.
  • Beanie: Handmade in Cape Town using organic cotton.
  • Tees, Half Zip Polo and Crew Neck: Handmade in Mauritius using recycled cotton and polyester, or organic cotton. We made the choice to look to Mauritius for these garments as they are able to spin organic cotton yarn, create very high quality items and utilise advanced finishing techniques such as brushing for lower Minimum Order Quantities all under one (low impact) roof. We use low-carbon shipping to get product to South Africa and look to onshore this as local production quality increases and MOQs reduce to make this financially viable.
  • Running Hat: Made in China in conjunction with our GRS-certified outsource partner, from recycled polyester. Unfortunately these recycled materials and technical processing capabilities do not currently exist in South Africa, however we look forward to the day when we can bring high-quality recycled inputs and production to our shores.
  • Miir Bottles: Produced in China in a low-impact factory utilising recycled materials.

A note on Chinese production

For many years, “Made In China” was somewhat of a slur on products, synonymous with low-quality, mass-produced, and often high environmental impact products—designed for a short lifespan and quick disposal. But times have changed, drastically and for the better!
Today, Chinese production has pivoted towards sustainable and fair practices that are transforming the global manufacturing landscape. This shift is evident in several key areas:

  1. Air Quality Improvements: China has made significant strides in reducing industrial emissions and improving air quality. Rigorous regulations and the adoption of clean energy technologies have led to cleaner skies and healthier communities. According to recent reports, major cities have seen a dramatic decrease in pollution levels, reflecting the country's commitment to environmental stewardship. The pollutant most affected was PM2.5 (refers to particle size) which saw a 50% reduction averaged over the country over the period 2013-2019, and has seen a further reduction in 339 major Chinese cities. In 2020-2022, there were an average of 316 days per year classified as having good air quality - something that would have been unthinkable only 10 years prior. Although there is still work to be done (particularly on ozone pollution), internal and external pressure has driven great change in China and by supporting only responsible manufacturers working for good, we aim to support that shift.
  2. Worker Well-Being: The well-being of workers is now at the forefront of Chinese manufacturing. Companies are increasingly adopting fair labor practices, ensuring safe working conditions, and providing fair wages. There is a growing emphasis on worker rights and welfare throughout value chains, supported by stringent government policies and international labor standards. This has led to a more motivated and healthier workforce, driving productivity and quality. This has only been possible because of the growing push towards corporate social responsibility, something Sealand holds to the fore in every aspect of business.
  3. Recycled Inputs and Sustainable Materials: The use of recycled inputs and sustainable materials is becoming prevalent in Chinese manufacturing. Companies are incorporating recycled plastics, metals, and textiles into their production processes, significantly reducing waste and conserving natural resources. Innovative practices such as circular economy models are being embraced, ensuring that materials are reused and repurposed, minimizing environmental impact.

Today, “Made In China” is no longer a label to be wary of but a testament to the nation’s remarkable journey towards sustainability and ethical production. By choosing products made responsibly in China (and freighted using low-carbon methods!), you are supporting a new era of responsible manufacturing that prioritizes the planet and people.

A note on Freighting Methods

For many years, shipping has been an invisible cost of our consumer habits, a necessary evil to get products from one place to another. However, as awareness of climate change and carbon footprints grows, the impact of different shipping methods on the environment has come under increasing scrutiny. It’s time to shed light on the carbon costs of various shipping methods and understand how our choices can make a difference.

Air Freight

Air freight is the fastest shipping method but also the most carbon-intensive. Transporting goods by air emits a significant amount of CO2 due to the high fuel consumption of aircraft. For example, shipping 1 ton of goods by air from China to the Cape Town can produce nearly 8.5162 tons of CO2 (Total Carbon calculated as Well-to-Wheel). While ideal for time-sensitive shipments, air freight is the least environmentally friendly option and one that Sealand avoids at all costs. Another problem with emissions from aircraft is that they occur at high-altitude, where their efficiency as GHGs is increased.

Sea Freight

Sea freight, on the other hand, is much more carbon-efficient. Shipping by sea emits significantly less CO2 per ton-mile compared to air freight. A container ship can transport large quantities of goods with relatively low fuel consumption. For instance, the same 1 ton of goods shipped by sea from China to the Cape Town produces approximately 97.06 kg of CO2, or just over 1% of the air freight carbon! This method is ideal for non-urgent deliveries, offering a more sustainable option, and when Sealand needs to move goods around the world, this is always our preferred option!

Rail Transport

Rail transport strikes a balance between speed and carbon efficiency. Railways are highly efficient, particularly over long distances, and emit considerably less CO2 than air freight. For goods moving across continents, such as from China to Europe, rail transport can be both cost-effective and environmentally friendly, producing around 12.5 kg of CO2 per ton-kilometre. Unfortunately, South Africa’s industrial rail network is neither reliable nor easy to access, so this option is rarely utilised by Sealand.

Road Transport

Road transport, while flexible and convenient for door-to-door delivery, varies in its carbon footprint depending on distance and vehicle type. Short-haul trucking has a relatively lower carbon cost, but long-haul trucking can produce significant emissions, around 62-93 kg of CO2 per ton-kilometre. Innovations in electric and hybrid vehicles are helping to reduce these emissions, but road transport remains less efficient than rail or sea for long distances. This lands us in the crazy situation where it is more carbon intensive to truck from Durban (for lack of rail) than to ship from China…

Sustainable Innovations

The shipping industry is also exploring sustainable innovations to reduce its carbon footprint. Initiatives such as slow steaming (reducing ship speed to cut emissions), the use of biofuels, and the development of electric and hydrogen-powered ships are promising steps towards a greener future. Additionally, optimizing logistics and improving supply chain efficiency can further reduce the environmental impact of shipping. Sealand is constantly on the lookout for better ways to move goods, and in collaboration with DHL and their Go Green initiative we aim to reduce our carbon per bag year on year.

Understanding the carbon costs of various shipping methods empowers us to make informed choices. While air freight remains the fastest, its high carbon footprint makes it a less sustainable option and one Sealan avoids at all costs. Sea and rail transport offer more eco-friendly alternatives, particularly for non-urgent deliveries. As consumers and businesses, opting for greener shipping methods and supporting sustainable innovations can significantly reduce our carbon footprint and contribute to a healthier planet.