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A Leg Up on Responsibility

Updated: Mar 5, 2022

Creating an advantage is often associated with the term "a leg up." Getting a leg up on your competition might be as simple as focusing your purchasing choices for apparel around sustainability. We recently found a blog post from an industry partner that concisely captured how sustainability is changing fashion. Let's take a look at the article:

There are two main pillars of sustainability, ecological responsibility and social responsibility. On the ecological leg, clothing is made from renewable materials or manufactured in conditions that preserve natural resources. On the social leg, sustainable clothing is manufactured under fair labor conditions, including paying workers living wages and not employing sweatshops or slavery practices.

When it comes to promotional apparel, the majority of available options fall into the middle part of the sustainability spectrum. When helping your customers choose sustainable uniforms or promotional clothing items, look for the following things:

  • What materials are the items made of? Synthetic fibers like polyester can take over 200 years to break down naturally. Look for fibers like linen, hemp, or Tencel™. Organic cotton is another good option; but keep in mind that cotton is very water-intensive, making it less sustainable than some other options.

  • Where are the items manufactured? Different countries have different labor laws, so locating where your items were made is a reliable way to determine how socially responsible their manufacturing processes are. Look for countries of origin that have stricter labor laws and higher wages where possible.

  • Does the company have any green certifications? Look for certifications such as Fair Trade, Global Recycled Standard, GoodWeave, or Certified B Corporations that indicate a neutral third party has reviewed the company for its sustainability practices.

  • How easy is locating the above information? Transparency is essential to sustainability. If you’re having trouble finding information about a brand’s labor or environmental practices, consider why that might be.

Determining what products are and aren’t sustainable can seem overwhelming but know that every step in the right direction is just that – a step in the right direction. No one brand is perfectly sustainable, and it’s not realistic or reasonable to expect perfection. However, choosing items that satisfy some sustainability qualities is better than choosing products that have none, and every effort made to strive for sustainability makes a difference.

How do you feel about sustainable efforts in your apparel?

Let us know in the comments!

*Source: Caitlin Flynt Marketing Coordinator at our industry partner SAGE

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