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Introducing the app making sustainability look Good On You

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It’s no secret that the fashion industry has been home to a number of ethical issues. From child labour, low wages and health and safety risks, to animal cruelty and pollution caused by cotton farming and cloth manufacturing, the issues only seem to be increasing.

 Image credit: Gem & Lauris RK, via Unsplash

Statistics are damning in their exposé of fashion’s trail of destruction: according to the Global Fashion Agenda, over 50% of workers are not paid the minimum wage in countries such as India or The Philippines and they also highlight that “the raw materials stage has a disproportionately large impact on sustainability, partly because of the effect it has on recyclability”. 

 

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Things need to change and the fashion world needs to wake up, but it can be difficult to take a stand for time - and money - short students. How can we put our money where our mouths are and support the companies which are truly working to keep the above in mind?  That’s where Good On You comes in handy.

 

What is Good On You?

Think Google but for sustainable, ethical fashion. Good On You was founded in Australia in 2015 and works to compare and rate the world’s fashion brands according to their ethics and sustainability.

 

How does it work?

Good On You rates brands based on three elements: people, planet and animals, taking their information from certification schemes such as Fair Trade, OEKO-TEX and the Global Organic Textile Standard and, in some circumstances, considering the brands’ own statements.

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The ‘People’ element looks at the impact of brands on workers, policies on child labour, forced labour, worker safety, freedom of association and payment of living wage – along with the brand's auditing practices and their relationships with suppliers.

 

The ‘Planet’ element assesses brands’ “resource use and disposal, energy use and carbon emissions, impact on water, as well as chemical use and disposal.”

The ‘Animals’ element is where Good On You identifies use of fur, angora, down feather, shearing, karakul and exotic animal skin and hair. Use of wool and whether and how the brand uses leather is also considered in this section.

 

To rate brands, Good On You considers whether they are taking positive steps or if they engage in what they call ‘negative citizenship’ – such as lobbying against legislation which would either reduce harm or increase brand transparency. Good On You scores each brand from an average of each of these areas.

 

What are the ratings?

 

From worst to best …

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We avoid: this is where brands provide very little or no relevant information. In some cases, these brands make ambiguous claims that Good On You dubs “greenwash”.

Not good enough: these brands have provided some information in a few areas but not enough to truly unpick their supply chains. 

It’s a start: these brands are transparent in at least one area and are making good progress in at least one of the focus areas of Good On You.

Good: this is where brands have taken several significant positive initiatives. These brands are generally leading the way on one or more key issues and tend to be very transparent.

Great: these brands score highly in two or more categories and have at least one certification or accreditation. They tend to be designed from the ground up as sustainable and ethical and are usually “super transparent”.

 

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In her letter of support for Good On You, actress, model and activist Emma Watson said “we have so much power to change the world by just being careful in what we buy” - and she’s right.

With apps and websites such as Good On You becoming more popular, it’s much easier to shop consciously and make an impact on tackling the issues of the fashion industry.

Good On You’s brand directory includes everything from Oxfam (rated as great), Marks & Spencer (rated as good) and H&M (rated as it’s a start) to Stella McCartney (rated as good), Burberry (rated as it’s a start) and Louis Vuitton (rated as not good enough).

 

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With a brand directory as large as this, there seems to be no excuse…change may be coming sooner than we think.

For more sustainable shopping inspiration, check out our Behind the Brand series!

Lead image credit: Gem & Lauris RK on Unsplash




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