Companies have a vested interest in your opinion on their products. At Green America, refer to the act of purchasing from companies you share values with as “voting with your dollar.” This action is only one part of conscious consumerism—writing to companies directly to demand accountability is a crucial strategy in getting big corporations to do better for people and the planet.
To help you write the most effective letters to companies, here’s an example letter with notes and suggestions. Ask your friends and family if they’d like to sign onto your letter or write one themselves—there is power in our collective demands for corporate accountability.
Letter Writing Tips
Do Your Research
When writing your letter, do your research to address it as specifically as you can. Do you need to reach the CEO? Head of manufacturing? Use their name when possible.
Use Facts, Name the Problem
In the beginning, state the problem. Use facts to back up your statements. Here, we talk about the climate impact of the fast fashion industry. Other problems you can highlight for the specific company you are talking to may include: toxic chemicals, worker rights, pollution, and livable wages, to name a few.
Call for Action
Lastly, finish up with your call to action. What is it you want the company to do? Develop a measurable climate plan? Transition to compostable packaging? Respect workers’ right to freedom of association or prioritize sourcing from unionized suppliers? Speak to what is important to you.
Set a Deadline
Set up a time frame. This makes the goal measurable and acts as a tool to hold the company accountable.
Sample Letter Using Best Practices:
Dear President and CEO,
The fast fashion industry produces 10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and consumes more energy than both the aviation and shipping industry combined. Additionally, the textile sector accounts for 20% of industrial pollution, and fashion retailers make clothing in excess and burn millions of unsold products, which contributes to emissions and poor air quality. As a longtime customer of your company, when I learned about these issues, I looked to see if your company had developed a plan to address its social and environmental impacts. I was disappointed to see you had not.
It is important, more now than ever, that your company takes responsibility to eliminate your carbon emissions by 2030—the timeline recommended by IPCC scientists to avoid the catastrophic effects of climate change. As a major retailer of men and women’s clothing, your company has the potential to lead industry-wide changes in climate responsibility.
I am writing to ask your company to commit to climate goals. I want to see your company become carbon neutral by 2030 and transition to organic cotton because healthy soil is crucial to capturing carbon emissions. For polyester, I want to see you use reclaimed fishing nets since virgin polyester is made from petroleum, a fossil fuel responsible for the climate crisis. For all clothing, I want to see your company adopt a strong chemical management policy and eliminate the most toxic chemicals from your supply chain. Lastly, I want to see your company offer a take-back and recycling program for used clothes and repurpose them into new clothing items.
I would love to keep buying from you, but my continued support will depend on your taking action and reporting what you do to me and the public. As a leader in fashion sense and sales, your company should prioritize becoming a climate leader, too.