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Thread: Eco-friendly & ethical shopping: What brands of clothing & shoes to buy and to avoid?

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    Satyavrata Maciamo's Avatar
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    Post Eco-friendly & ethical shopping: What brands of clothing & shoes to buy and to avoid?

    We have all heard of climate change, plastic pollution, toxic wastes, the loss of biodiversity caused by deforestation carried our for the sake of intensive agriculture, or the horrible working conditions in factories in the developing world. We may not all care about all these things. Or at least, some of us are more concerned about some of these issues than others. Our level of awareness and care depends on where we grew up and how much we were exposed to these issues.

    As a child, I loved animals and became aware early of the number of species facing extinction because of human activities - especially the loss of habitat caused by deforestation. I admit that I didn't start worrying about working conditions in factories that produce the clothes I buy until I was in my 30's. And even though I was by then quite concerned about climate change and pollution, it is only recently that I started to think about changing my buying habits when it comes to clothes and shoes. It's never too late to do something to help the planet and other human beings. You can start acting now too by buying products that cause less harm and avoid the worst abusers.

    I have done a bit of research to help you choose brands more responsibly. I started with three websites that rates all sorts of products for their sustainability, eco-friendliness and workers' rights: Ethical Consumer (UK), Shop Ethical (Australia) and Good on you (Australia). I used them mostly to find the smaller brands dedicated to being environmentally responsible as part of their corporate ethos. For larger companies I used:


    • Sustainable Cotton Ranking : An index developed by the WWF, Pesticide Action Network and Solidaridad. Companies are scored on policy, traceability and actual uptake of sustainable cotton. Brands with a high score (above 60%) are marked as Cotton+ below.
    • Better Cotton Initiative : a global not-for-profit organisation and the largest cotton sustainability programme in the world.
    • Fashion Transparency Index : Reviewed 250 of the world’s largest fashion brands and retailers and ranked them according to how much they disclose about their social and environmental policies, practices and impacts. The best scorers (60 to 73%) are marked as Transparent.
    • Supply Chain+ CITI Evaluation : The Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs (IPE), a non-profit environmental research organisation registered and based in Beijing, assesses brands on the environmental management of their supply chains in China. Best rated brands (60 to 77%) are marked as Supply Chain+. Worst rating brands are marked as Supply Chain- (0 to 35%).
    • Filthy Fashion Climate Scorecard : Stand.earth rates companies on their actual emission reduction (+ short and long term targets), use of renewable energy, and incentive programmes. Brands with a high score (above 55%) are marked as Climate+ below. The worst performers are indicated as Climate-.
    • Greenpeace Detox Catwalk : Assess if fashion brands removed priority chemicals such as Phtalates and APEOs, substitute PFCs with safer alternatives, and how transparently they report their data. Brands that passed all criteria are marked as Detox below. Those that failed all criteria are marked as Toxic.
    • Certified B Corporations : certification of social and environmental performance. Marked as B-corp below.
    • Bluesign : a sustainability standard for the manufacture of textiles that takes particular account of chemical safety aspects. Marked as bluesign.
    • People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) : an American animal rights organization opposed to factory farming, fur farming, animal testing, and the use of animals in entertainment. Members are marked as Animals+.
    • Animal Free Fashion : a project for ethical and sustainable fashion. Members are marked as Animals+.


    Combining the ratings of all sites, I would like to give you here a summary of brands to buy and those to avoid.

    All websites linked provide delivery to most Western countries. The country mentioned in brackets is just an indication of their home base and main market.

    A : Most ethical and eco-friendly brands

    (Note that, apart from H&M, these are all small companies that made ethics and environment their business model)

    General

    Armedangels (Germany/EU) Animals+
    bleed (Germany/EU) Animals+
    Dorsu (Cambodia)
    Etiko (Australia) B-corp
    H&M (Sweden/international) Climate+ Cotton+ Detox Supply Chain+ Transparent Animals+
    Honest Basics (USA) Animals+
    Rapanui (UK/international)
    STORY mfg. (UK/Japan)

    Jeans (+ t-shirts)

    Kings of Indigo (Netherlands/EU - jeans) Animals+
    Kuyichi (Netherlands/EU) Animals+
    MUD Jeans (Netherlands/EU - jeans) B-corp Animals+
    Outland Denim (UK/Australia) B-corp

    Shoes

    Eco Vegan Shoes (Netherlands) Animals+
    Ethletic (international) Animals+
    Vegetarian Shoes (UK/EU)
    Wills Vegan Shoes (international) Animals+

    T-shirts & shirts

    A New York Affair (USA)
    The Classic T-Shirt Company (USA)
    Tuckerman & Co (USA - business shirts) B-corp

    Womenswear

    Alice + Whittles (USA)
    Beyond Skin (UK/EU) Animals+
    MATE the label (USA)
    Miakoda (USA) Animals+
    People Tree (UK) Animals+

    B : Well rated brands

    General

    C&A (international) Cotton+ Detox Supply Chain+ Transparent Animals+
    Ethical Wares (UK) Animals+
    Levi's (US/international) Climate+ Cotton+ Detox Supply Chain+
    Marks & Spencer (UK/EU) Cotton+ Detox Transparent Animals+

    Sportswear

    Adidas/Reebok (international) bluesign Cotton+ Detox Supply Chain+ Transparent
    On Running (Switzerland/EU - sports shoes)

    Outdoor & Hiking

    Jack Wolfskin (Germany/international) bluesign
    Kathmandu (New Zealand) B-corp bluesign
    Patagonia (US/international) B-corp bluesign Climate+ Transparent
    Picture Organic (France/EU)
    Zamberlan (Italy/EU)

    Shoes

    Allbirds (international) B-corp
    Freerangers (UK)
    Po-zu (UK/EU)
    Veja (France/EU) B-corp

    C : Above average brands

    Burberry Climate+ Detox
    Esprit Detox Transparent Animals+
    Gap (USA/international) Climate+
    Nike (US/international) bluesign Climate+ Cotton+ Supply Chain+
    Primark
    Puma bluesign Climate+ Detox

    D : Below average brands

    ASICS Supply Chain- bluesign Climate+
    Fjällräven
    Gola
    Gucci Animals+
    Hanes
    Inditex (Zara, Pull&Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka...) Detox Supply Chain+
    Mammut bluesign
    Meindl
    New Balance
    Otto Group (About You, Alba Moda, Bauer, Bon prix...)
    Pier One
    Regatta
    Scarpa
    Target Supply Chain+
    Teva
    Topo Athletic
    VF Corporation (The North Face, Timberland, Eastpak) bluesign Climate+

    E : Could do better

    American Eagle Outfitters Supply Chain- Climate+
    Berkshire Hathaway (Brooks, Fruit of the Loom)
    Bestseller (Jack & Jones, Name It...) Supply Chain- Toxic
    Columbia Sportswear Supply Chain- bluesign Climate-
    Decathlon (Quechua...) Supply Chain-
    Hugo Boss Supply Chain- Animals+
    New Look
    Next Animals+
    PVH (Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger) Supply Chain- Toxic
    Tom Tailor
    Uniqlo Detox
    United Colors of Benetton Detox Supply Chain-

    F : Unethical brands (to avoid)

    Abercrombie & Fitch Supply Chain-Amazon (brand)
    Arcadia (Burton, Evans, Outfit, Wallis)
    Boohoo
    Carrefour
    Chanel Supply Chain-
    Clarks
    Coach Supply Chain-
    Crocs
    Dolce & Gabbana Toxic
    Dr Martens
    Ecco
    FILA Supply Chain-
    Geox
    Giorgio Armani Supply Chain- Toxic Animals+
    Guess Supply Chain-
    John Lewis
    Karrimor
    Lacoste
    LVMH (Céline, Dior, Fendi, Givency, Kenzo, Loewe...) Climate- Toxic
    Mango Detox
    Mizuno Supply Chain-
    Office
    Prada Supply Chain-
    Ralph Lauren Supply Chain-
    Richemont (Cartier, Chloé, Dunhill...)
    Rip Curl
    Under Armour Climate-
    Valentino Detox Supply Chain-
    Versace Toxic Animals+
    Walmart Supply Chain-Wolverine World Wide (Cat, Chaco, Hush Puppies, Keds, Merrell...)

    G : Worst brands (boycott)

    DKNY Supply Chain-Foot Locker
    Max Mara
    MUJI Supply Chain-Only the Brave (Diesel, Maison Martin, Margiela, Marni...) Toxic
    Skechers

    There are too many bad brands to list. This is just a summary.
    Last edited by Maciamo; 04-08-20 at 13:24.
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  2. #2
    Satyavrata Maciamo's Avatar
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    Here is the summary of the four ratings for major fashion brands. I only included companies that were included in at least three indices for the average.

    Brand Sustainable Cotton Green Supply Chain Fashion Transparency Fashion Climate TOTAL
    H&M 77.4 70 73 65 71.35
    Levi Strauss 64.5 76.96 48 80 67.36
    Adidas/Reebok 79.2 70.88 69 48 66.77
    C&A 69.5 73.48 70 43 63.99
    Nike 60 68.04 55 57 60.01
    Marks & Spencer 66.1 55.88 60 40 55.49
    Gap 43.6 54.8 50 62 52.6
    Esprit 39.8 52.16 64 38 48.49
    VF Corp. (Eastpak, North Face, Timberland) 23.4 44.74 59 58 46.28
    Burberry 37.44 36 65 46.15
    New Balance 26 57.32 48 48 44.83
    Otto Group 69 20 38 42.33
    Target 25.1 61.56 37 43 41.66
    Inditex (Zara, M. Dutti...) 15.9 69 43 38 41.47
    ASICS 17.78 46 58 40.59
    PVH (Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger) 35.9 12.64 54 48 37.63
    Bestseller (Jack & Jones, Name It...) 51 31.68 30 37.56
    Benetton 40.3 6 55 33.77
    Fast Retailing (Uniqlo...) 16.6 44.36 40 33.65
    American Eagle Outfitters 14.5 25.32 17 73 32.45
    Decathlon (Quechua...) 57.6 9.52 23 30.04
    Hugo Boss 31.6 11.72 41 28.11
    Columbia Sportswear 35 32.9 28 5 25.22
    Walmart 10.3 23.08 28 38 24.84
    Guess 7.84 19 38 21.61
    Carrefour 6.3 36.7 20 21.00
    Ralph Lauren 6.3 6.24 27 13.18
    Under Armour 4.3 29 0 11.10
    Giorgio Armani 0 3.2 9 4.07

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    Satyavrata Maciamo's Avatar
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    Here is an updated ranking incorporating the rating from Good on you (combing the 3 ratings on 5 and converting the total in percentage). The addition of a 5th rating component allowed me to include more brands as it would have been misleading to use only two ratings per brand. I gave 5 points bonus to members of Animal Free Fashion or PETA, 5 points bonus to brands who passed the Greenpeace Detox test and withdrew 5 points to brands that failed all three categories of the detox test.

    Brand Sustainable Cotton Green Supply Chain Fashion Transparency Fashion Climate good on you TOTAL
    H&M 77.4 70 73 65 60.00 79.08
    Adidas/Reebok 79.2 70.88 69 48 66.67 71.75
    Levi Strauss 64.5 76.96 48 80 53.33 69.56
    Marks & Spencer 66.1 55.88 60 40 73.33 69.06
    C&A 69.5 73.48 70 43 60.00 68.20
    Patagonia 60 55 86.67 67.22
    Esprit 39.8 52.16 64 38 53.33 59.46
    Puma 57 58 46.67 58.89
    Nike 60 68.04 55 57 53.33 58.67
    Burberry 37.44 36 65 66.67 56.28
    Primark 69.72 38 40.00 54.24
    VF Corp. (Eastpak, North Face, Timberland) 23.4 44.74 59 58 60.00 49.03
    Gap 43.6 54.8 50 62 46.67 46.41
    Inditex (Zara, M. Dutti...) 15.9 69 43 38 40.00 46.18
    Hanes 39 17 80.00 45.33
    Target 25.1 61.56 37 43 53.33 44.00
    New Balance 26 57.32 48 48 40.00 43.86
    ASICS 17.78 46 58 53.33 43.78
    Fast Retailing (Uniqlo...) 16.6 44.36 40 53.33 43.57
    Otto Group 69 20 38 42.33
    Mammut 31 38 53.33 40.78
    Benetton 40.3 6 55 40.00 40.33
    Next 25.3 36 40.00 38.77
    Bestseller (Jack & Jones, Name It...) 51 31.68 30 60.00 38.17
    Hugo Boss 31.6 11.72 41 46.67 37.75
    Tom Tailor 33.5 18 60.00 37.17
    New Look 19.5 43 46.67 36.39
    PVH (Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger) 35.9 12.64 54 48 50.00 35.11
    American Eagle Outfitters 14.5 25.32 17 73 40.00 33.96
    Columbia Sportswear 35 32.9 28 5 66.67 33.51
    Decathlon (Quechua...) 57.6 9.52 23 40.00 32.53
    Berkshire Hathaway (Brooks, Fruit of the Loom) 0.3 25 66.67 30.66
    Arcadia (Burton, Evans, Outfit, Wallis) 11 38 40.00 29.67
    Mango 5 22 46.67 29.56
    Walmart 10.3 23.08 28 38 40.00 27.88
    Abercrombie & Fitch 14.66 25 40.00 26.55
    Guess 7.84 19 38 40.00 26.21
    S Oliver 12.3 16 40.00 22.77
    Valentino 2 10 40.00 22.33
    Amazon 0 25 40.00 21.67
    Under Armour 4.3 29 0 53.33 21.66
    Lacoste 6 25 33.33 21.44
    Coach 5.14 19 40.00 21.38
    LVMH (KENZO, Givenchy, Fendi...) 25 14 40.00 21.33
    Carrefour 6.3 36.7 20 21.00
    Ralph Lauren 6.3 6.24 27 40.00 19.89
    Prada 7.06 18 33.33 19.46
    Giorgio Armani 0 3.2 9 40.00 18.05
    Chanel 3 11 40.00 18.00
    FILA 0.72 8 40.00 16.24
    MUJI 1 10 33.33 14.78
    DKNY 0 2 20.00 7.33
    Max Mara 0 0 20.00 6.67
    Last edited by Maciamo; 03-08-20 at 15:51.

  4. #4
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    I have created a page outside the forum: Ethical clothing & footwear ratings

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    I have created a page outside the forum: Ethical clothing & footwear ratings
    Nice handsome overview thanks Maciamo! (some brands surprise in a positive and also negative way....)

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