The current world we live in is encouraging us to lessen our impact on the environment. One of the most important topics right now is making sure we buy from companies which are not only sustainable but also ethical. Sadly, even in the 21st century, we hear about companies that exploit workers and use unsustainable ingredients and processes. Boohoo was criticised for exploiting workers by paying them less than the minimum wage, as well as providing no COVID-19 protection in its Leicester factory.
Fortunately, we as customers have the power to influence change. With so many more of us taking an active interest in ethics and the environment, brands are adapting. Many are changing the way they operate and helping to make a positive change in their industry. As organisations take progressive actions, other brands will follow suit. With our favourite YouTubers informing us about brands to avoid and how we can make changes, it’s becoming easier to go green while keeping our usual routines.
Here, we look at some leading brands from different industries to see what they’ve done to solve an environmental issue in their sector and instigate positive change.
The beauty industry is known for its heavy use of plastics, particularly in packaging. Plastic waste is one of the most damaging pollutants, with microplastics getting everywhere from our soil to our water. Plastic takes hundreds of years to decompose, and usually ends up getting dumped in landfills or ingested by animals. The majority of us have more than enough beauty products serving different purposes, so there’s a lot of waste being generated.
If you’re an avid fake tanner, you probably go through a considerable number of bottles a year. You’ve stopped buying bottled water, you recycle your waste, but there are still those pesky empty bottles of tan that will end up in our landfill. Tanning brand Isle of Paradise, which offers a range of tanning products from self-tan drops to tan remover, sells refillable pouches of tanning water that use 81 per cent less plastic. The brand sources the cleanest, most ethical ingredients and regulates its manufacturing processes to reduce its environmental impact, making it an innovative and ethical company. After all, we’re avoiding the sunbeds, so fake tanning should be guilt-free!
Adventure-wear saving the day
The fashion industry makes up 10 per cent of global carbon emissions. This includes the production and transportation of clothing. The stat isn’t surprising, considering we buy 80 billion pieces of clothing each year. What is crazy is that the aviation industry only makes up two per cent!
We’re a fashion-crazy society, so it’s important that we know where to direct our money. It’s worth noting that some ethical brands attempt to profit from ethical consumers, driving up prices to make more money. Sustainable ways of business will become cheaper in the future, but for now they’re not always so affordable. So, if you can’t afford to splash out £80 on a pair of sustainable jeans, don’t feel bad. Just try to be aware of the brands that are careless and inconsiderate and avoid giving them any business.
Patagonia is a popular outdoor adventure-wear brand. Its brand mission commits to respecting the outdoors and nature like the people wearing its clothing do. Patagonia is a Certified B Corporation, which are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency, among other criteria. Brands need a minimum of 80 points to be certified, and Patagonia has 151.
The fabrics sourced for Patagonia’s clothing are certified organic, eco-friendly, and recycled. Unlike fast fashion brands that aim to turn stock around at two weeks, these clothes are high-quality and long-lasting. This results in clothing that will pass the test of time and won’t fall to pieces after several wears.
As well as being environmentally ethical, Patagonia is known for its progressive initiatives that make it a great place to work. These include onsite childcare, three-day weekends every other week, and a commitment to bailing any employee out of jail who is arrested for peacefully protesting for the environment.
Clean water—not in the way you think
Bottled beverages are a huge contributor to the plastic pollution discussed above. So much so that in the UK alone, 7.7 billion plastic water bottles are consumed every year. Globally, Coca-Cola won the notorious title of the world’s biggest plastic polluter.
There’s a real issue here, particularly with the bottling of water, one of the most abundant and natural resources on the planet. Water quality is declining due to pollution, so many consumers are choosing bottled water over tap water.
CanO Water is a brand of packaged water in recyclable and sealable aluminium cans. They can be recycled an infinite number of times, creating a plastic-free cycle. Refill and reuse as you please! Wave Goodbye to Plastic Pollution is an ocean clean-up campaign created by CanO Water. Its aim is to both make our seas cleaner and raise awareness of the looming crisis our oceans are facing. The campaign encouraged the public to post a ‘wave’ emoji 🌊 on CanO Water’s Instagram post. Each wave is equivalent to removing 3.5 plastic bottles of plastic from beaches.
When doing your research, there are ethical alternatives you can take to make sure you’re having the least negative impact on our planet!