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Netherlands: Zeeman now also sells locally collected second-hand clothing

Discount Textile Retail Chain Zeeman (family owned) sells customers second-hand clothing. Before the end of the year, worn baby, children's and women's clothing must be available in 50 stores. Customers will also have the option to return their used clothing, the company said.

Initially, the second-hand clothing is only for sale in a few stores. Zeeman works for the initiative, which is called Zeeman RESALE, together with 'Het Goed'. This is a social enterprise with 28 thrift stores and five textile sorting centers in the Netherlands.

"We do it really locally: we collect in the stores, we donate the collected clothing to Het Goed and after sorting we buy the selection made by them," said CEO Erik-Jan Mares. He thinks the clothing will be especially popular with young people. Zeeman already tried out the plan in his branch in Osdorp, where the used clothing was especially popular with young people.

Zeeman has been committed to corporate social responsibility for some time now. For example, the share of sustainable cotton almost doubled last year compared to the previous year. Zeeman has also identified and made public some of the suppliers of the factories with which the chain works, according to a new annual report.

There has been a lot of talk about the factories where clothing chains have their clothes made. A critical report about this was recently published by research organizations SOMO and Arisa, in which a link was made with forced labor in Indian spinning mills.

Zeeman later confirmed that cotton was purchased in such a spinning mill by an intermediary last year for one of the Indian suppliers that produces for Zeeman. The chain then says that it has entered into a dialogue with the company in question. Because the spinning mill was not willing to talk, Zeeman eventually ended the collaboration.


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