The Composition of Sustainability
We are using the term ‘sustainable’ like our favourite lip balm in winter – inflationary! Even though ‘sustainability’ is a far-reaching hypernym for many different concepts, it is probably the most used word when communicating certain responsible or conscious attributes of a brand – whether their production takes place in Europe, they gift to a charity or their designs can be worn by vegans. With our sustainability icons activation, we want to bring light into the dark of the jungle, because we could not see the wood for the trees anymore.
From now on, you will find our sustainability icons in our online marketplace. With only one quick look, they will tell you all about our brand’s and product’s ethical background. We curated our brands, read up about their items, and talked to their founders, so you do not have to invest your precious time in researching your next purchases! One click will tell you all you need to know.
Instead of communicating our sustainable brand selection and jumping on the train of green-washing our marketing section, we really want to understand the complicated world behind the term. This is why we made a list of ten different categories, straightening up with any confusions:
Made in Europe
While the “Made in…” seal oftentimes seems like a proof of quality, it has lost some of its value within the last years. People are more aware and know that assembling a design in Italy made from sweatshop fabrics can get the brand a “Made in Italy” seal. However, the “Made in Europe” or, even better “Made within the European Nations” seal, suggests a certain amount of certainty. The seal secures that the product has mainly been made within the EU, which, in turn, means it was produced under European regulations: To be exact, this concerns safety measures, eco-friendliness and fair payment. Most of our “Made in Europe” brands even undertake every step of their delivery chain within the EU, additionally cutting down on delivery routes.
The term FairTrade too is an official seal and is three-folded: It can be categorized in economic, environmental, and social criteria. If your purchase has a FairTrade seal it means that certain materials cannot be sold for less than a regulated minimum price, which, in turn, leads to more stable income and a safety net against falling prices. Environmentally, FairTrade is concerned with agricultural practices like responsible water use, waste management, and the minimum use of pesticides. Finally, FairTrade also comprises fair payment for workers, equality rights, safe working conditions, and health insurance.
While the FairTrade seal is concerned with environmental friendliness and only uses a minimum of pesticides, the term ‘organic’ means a complete abandonment of artificial and harming chemicals.
While the term ‘hand-made’ does not tell you anything about the raw materials used, it suggests a high-quality within the production process, leading to longevity. Hand-made products are mostly made by smaller manufacturers and craftsmen or -women that have mastered their professions over many years. Oftentimes brands and their suppliers are in active contact and brands are supporting the artisanal communities they are working with.
Recycled or Upcycled
We are producing too many products that end up in landfills using scarce raw materials and exploiting marginalized communities. With recycling or upcycling we are tackling different areas within the industry: Recycled and upcycled products are utilising what is already there, no farmers will be exploited, no pesticides will be used and waste is upgraded.
Animal-friendly or vegan
Within the cosmetics industry, a lot of products are tested on animals, while within the fashion- and accessory-branche, a lot of items are made from leather. If you find this sustainability icon in our market place, no animal will have been harmed or killed for the product you want to purchase.
With production processes high on energy input and long delivery-routes, whether within Germany or all over the planet, a brand produces a lot of Co2. By investing in methods that will cut Co2 emissions or by donating proceeds to climate organizations, a brand can reduce its ecological footprint.
Some brands are donating a percentage of their sales to good causes – whether to educational programs, environmental causes or to solve social issues. In our portfolio, you can find brands that are committed to cleaning the oceans from plastic waste or others that are focusing on training indigenous people to build a sustainable future for them. Have a look out for this icon, you might fall in love with the brand’s aims.
You might ask yourself how a made-to-order approach is sustainable: Made-to-order brands are usually waiting for a certain amount of incoming orders before they will inform their suppliers and produce the product. This might take longer for you to receive your purchase, but it also means that the brand does not have to buy at least 1000 pieces of jumpers from their production facilities when only 500 people want to buy the jumper and the other half might never be worn, or worse, end up in landfills. The made-to-order approach, thus, is solving the problem of over-production.
Zero Waste or No-Waste
When seeing the zero-waste seal within our sustainability icons, we are telling you that a label is doing its utmost to prevent waste. Patterns for clothes are cut in a space-optimised way, so that the whole material can be used. Additionally, material that already had a life cycle might be used again – whether its old clothes or deadstock materials.