Sustainability & ethics is becoming more and more important to consumers. Many of us are asking a whole lot more from the businesses we buy from and we want to know the choices we make are not causing harm to our people or our plant.
In some cases, this is encouraging and challenging businesses of all kinds to make positive changes. In others, businesses are using greenwashing tactics to profit off the sustainability movement without making any true meaningful change.
It took me about a year of researching & vetting to figure out which brands were walking the walk enough to be included in The Good Look Store. So you can imagine I've become pretty good at pinpointing exactly where a brand lies on the sustainability spectrum.
I want to empower you to do the same.
Here's the top 5 questions I ask when research a new brand and a couple of extra tips too. Use these next time you're wondering, is this brand sustainable?
Rach xx (owner)
1. What information is available?
Some of the type of information I look for includes:
- supply chain (what's it made from, by who and under what conditions)
- waste management
- postage & packaging (is a carbon neutral and/or plastic free option being used?)
2. How easy is it to find information?
If an about page, sustainability statement etc is linked on the home page, or in the footer of every page - great!
If you have to go hunting and it seems like any information about the business is hidden away or hard to find - reg flag!
3. What sort of language is used?
If the business has a sustainability statement or information regarding sustainability initiatives available, how do they talk about their goals?
- Specific, measurable goals (eg. certain % recycled materials used)
- Certain language like 'we do', 'we are'
- Examples of progress already made
Be weary of:
- uncertain language like 'we try', 'we aim' without explanations of how or any measurable parameters
- Mentioning only particular products or product ranges rather than all products and the general running of the business
4. How easy is it to ask questions?
Many businesses are proud to show off the things they are doing to be more sustainable and ethical. However, this can be a little trickier for small and/or new businesses trying to find their feet. They may be weary to make big statements while they're still trying to figure it all out.
That's okay - in this case look for ways to contact the business owner or managers. Are they openly encouraging you get in contact or are contact details hard to find?
If you do ask a question consider how quickly they respond and how specific the information they provide is or how willing they are to take on feedback and implement change.
5. What's the whole picture?
We've seen it time and time again. A fast fashion brand releases a 'conscious' or 'eco' range of a few items while still over-producing & wasting 100s or 1000s of other pieces on a week-to-week basis. Is this brand sustainable because a couple of their pieces are made from some % bamboo fibre? I'll let you answer that one.
It's important to consider how the business operates as a whole, not just with particular items. After all, you don't control which parts o the business your money goes to or supports. When you buy from a brand, you buy the whole brand. Not just what you're taking home.
Fast fashion brands releasing a few 'eco' pieces a year while maintaining business as usual in all other ranges does not make them sustainable. However, if a brand is showing consistent moves towards sustainability that is something worth celebrating. This could mean slowly transitioning their entire range one by one to being made from more sustainable materials. Or changing their manufacturers one factory at a time to ethically operated ones. While we'd love to see a quick change to sustainable practices, doing things slowly likely means better conditions for workers, minimising waste and taking on feedback from customers to make sure the business is investing in what their community really wants and needs. That's something to be supported and celebrated.
If they are there - great. Often though, certifications like B-Corp, GOTS, 1% For the Planet etc. can cost hundereds or thousands of dollars and are just not possible for smaller or newer businesses.
That's why we've armed you with the tools to dig a little deeper on your own.
Put The Good Look Store to the Test
We'd love to know what you think about our sustainability practices.
Put us to the test using the above 5 questions and let us know how we did at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's the cheat sheet...
Our Sustainability Statement is available in the footer of every page
Our About is available from our home page & in the footer of every page
Our Contact form is available from the foot of every page
Our Brand Directory which explains why we chose our beautiful brand partners is available from our home page