1. A lot of specific, well-organized, and clear information
Our favorite brand websites are like an anthill. At the tippy-top, you only see a tag line and short promise of sustainability. But click on the “Sustainability” link, and you find an organized but ever-branching world of information. The first level down might briefly describe their approach to materials, labor, emissions and extended producer responsibility (a.k.a. what you do with their product when it’s worn out or no longer fits). Click any of those, and it will take you further down into more details on their factories, certifications, exact fiber mix with percentages, and exactly where to send your old items for repair or donation.
2. Straightforward Information
Instead, it’s more about whether their sustainability page obfuscates or elucidates. On a good website, all the answers to our questions are just a few clicks away. On a greenwashing website, we’re left with our head spinning, and with more questions than answers.
3. Third-party certifications
Don’t just tell us you’re sustainable and ethical. Show us proof!. For example: How much of the cotton is organic? Are the products themselves certified by Oeko-Tex, or just the material in the products? Is your brand certified, or only the factory you source from? We don’t expect tiny brands to be fully certified, but if you claim to be sourcing sustainably and ethically, you should have at least one certificate of authenticity to back your claims up.
4. Where they are and where they want to go
No brand is perfect. So the brands we trust most have measured their negative impact in detail — toxins, emissions, water usage, waste — on the environment and set goals for where they want to go, and by what date they hope to achieve it. That helps keep them honest and motivate the company and employees to do better.
5. Labor transparency
For small brands, sharing the name and location of their factory can mean a competitor steals that factory, or can put the artisans in danger of a burglary. But we would at least like to see pictures and know which region of which country they’re located in, what they’re paid relative to the minimum and living wage in the area, and what kind of inspections and certifications they operate under.
6. Accurate information and promises
Even the best brands have shared misinformation in the past. But now that we’re all aware of the need for vigorous fact-checking, we don’t have the patience for pitches that tell us that fashion is the second most polluting industry. Or website copy that promises a product that is not possible. For example, one brand pitched bags that are made from leather that is the offcuts from a leather jacket factory, and later said the leather was vegetable-tanned. That’s not possible, as leather jackets can’t be made from stiff vegetable-tanned leather. That’s not a brand we will link to until they fix the copy and demonstrate more expertise and awareness.
7. Cultural awareness
We’ve received some truly offensive pitches before from brands who just don’t get it when it comes to white saviorism, cultural appropriation, and other hot-button topics in the sustainable and ethical fashion scene. Or, they don’t have any models of color in the lookbook they sent over. We might pass on these pitches completely, or if we think the issue is easily fixable and not representative of deeper issues, tell them that we simply can’t share their message until they do some updates.
This article is summarised by Cindy T from a part of a blog published byEcoCult.com which is originally written by Alden Wicker.