1. GOOD: Green Clothing Corporations
While many national clothing corporations are behind some of the greatest sins against workers and the environment, a handful of smaller retailers with a national presence are leading the way toward a better way of doing global business. While they aren’t perfect in every aspect of sustainability, they’re much better than most of the clothing behemoths that often sit next to them at your local shopping center.
Four Corporate Leaders
Patagonia: This US chain sells rugged outdoor clothing and gear for men, women, and children, some of it from organic cotton, hemp, chlorine-free wool, and recycled polyester. The company recently disclosed the location of all of its supplier factories, and it works with the Fair Labor Association to provide all workers in its supply chain with a fair wage and decent working conditions. Thirty percent of total fabric used in its products meets the bluesign standard. And under its Common Threads Initiative, customers can, for a small fee, send torn Patagonia items back to the company for repair—or for repurposing once they’ve worn out.
Hanna Andersson: This Swedish company sells virtually indestructible cotton and organic cotton clothing for children—including older kids—and women. Nearly 60 percent of its pieces are Oeko-Tex 100 certified, and the company is working to certify more.
Eileen Fisher: Designer Eileen Fisher sells elegant casual and dressy clothing for women. Twenty-six percent of the company’s clothing is made from eco-fibers like organic cotton, hemp, recycled polyester, and organic linen. Its organic fibers are Oeko-Tex and GOTS certified, and its Peruvian organic cotton pieces are made according to Fair Trade Federation guidelines. Its silk pieces meet bluesign standards. The company will take back its gently used clothing to resell in support of causes that benefit women and girls. It repurposes worn-out clothing via “Green Eileen” workshops with local artisans in New York City.
NAU: This retailer sells sustainable urban and outdoor apparel for men and women, much of it made from GOTS certified organic cotton, wool, and recycled polyester, free from toxic antimony (look for the “75 denier” on the label or product description). Its wool is certified as sustainable and from humanely treated animals through the Zque or New Merino certification systems.