I some times wonder whether more people would shop ethical and sustainable fashion if it was quicker and easier to find out which were the most ethical and sustainable retailers to buy from. Some of the issues that I have had over the last few years have been finding exactly what I want and working out what is and isn’t ethical and just how ethical it is. Beyond the really well known ethical brands like People Tree and Komodo, it can be quite difficult to know where to start looking. Even for those brands that do have a corporate responsibility page, it is sometimes difficult to read through the well worded waffle and what they don’t say is often more informative than what they do say.
It is however becoming easier bit by bit! here are a few online tools which I have found that are pretty useful for those wanting to shop more ethically for fashion.
This fantastic new website has just launched and it is something that I am sure will prove really useful for anyone that would like to shop more ethically on the high street. Basically it summarises and compares how retailers treat their workers and how transparent their supply chain is based on 10 indicators which includes whether they commit to paying living wages . It makes it so much quicker and easier to see how much a commitment a retailer has than trying to negotiate a cleverly worded CSR statement. Interestingly many high street retailers were unable even to demonstrate evidence of an ethical code of conduct based International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards, including a commitment to pay living wages.
Ethical Consumer have some really handy guides for comparing retailers in general as well as for fashion and clothing. Each guide has a handy tool which allows you to change the rating if the brands by changing the priority of different factors including environment, animals, people, politics and product sustainability depending on your own values. The guides that I have found most useful are Alternative Clothes Companies,which includes some of the key brands which are marketing themselves as ethical, High Street Shops and designer clothing. Interestingly depending on how you change the sliders some of the ‘ethical brands’ score lower than the high street retailers.
A shameless plug, I know, but If you want to be able to easily find clothing by brands that are committed to sustainability/ ethical supply chains, you can also check out my new website. All brands with products featured on the site will commit to at least one of the following and in many cases more than one. If you are looking for a product with particular ethics, you can also search for them in a number of different categories.
- Made from sustainable fabrics including organic and Fairtrade Cotton, sustainable Bamboo, recycled materials and Tencel.
- Offering an alternative to buying new including second hand, vintage and clothes for hire.
- Made under fair trade principles or in ethical factories
- Ethically made in Britain
What do you think? do you like to ensure that you buy clothes from companies with ethical and sustainable practices? would you use any of these tools?
Have a lovely weekend
With warmest wishes