How sustainable are your favourite brands?

News, blog and backgrounds about the sustainability scores of brands

GoodOnYou.eco incorporates Rank a Brand

Good On You, the world’s largest consumer guide to ethical fashion brands recently incorporated Rank a Brand. With this move Good On You builds on the pioneering work of Rank a Brand, to further grow the global ethical fashion community.

Since its foundation in 2015, Good On You assessed over 3000 fashion brands on criteria for human rights, the environment and animal welfare. The Australian social enterprise launched in Europe in 2018, where it has rapidly established its reputation as a trusted source of ethical fashion ratings and information. CEO Sandra Capponi says, “We are delighted to welcome Rank a Brand users into the Good On You community and congratulate Niels and the Rank a Brand team for their incredible work in this sector. Good On You exists to create change and our vision is to make fashion fair and sustainable. We celebrate the designers and makers who are doing good, and connect them with members of the global Good On You community who want to look and live better. Our acquisition of Rank a Brand will further build on this vision.”

In the last 10 years Rank a Brand has rated the social and environmental performances of more than 500 known brands. Founder Niels Oskam: “At our peak we had a million users a year. Because of our non-profit approach with many volunteers and fewer donations, our development stagnated. We came to the point that we could only find our way up if we were to raise funds to invest in technology, and then we would build something that would look like GoodOnYou. It made more sense to continue our shared mission together.”

The Rank a Brand web pages will gradually be redirected to GoodOnYou.eco. Niels Oskam remains active as a member of the Advisory Board of the Australian company.

Thanks to everyone

Dear friend, volunteer, donor and loyal user of Rank a Brand,

Rank a Brand becomes Good On You. With this message I want to thank you for all the support since the establishment of Rank a Brand in 2009. We have worked together for a full decade on a wonderful project and shook many companies up to work more transparently and sustainably. We have helped many thousands of consumers with buying more fair products such as clothing, food or electronics.

Our mission is now largely continued under the flag of GoodOnYou.eco. This is an Australian social enterprise with the same objective as Rank a Brand. It is a fast-growing company that has already assessed thousands of fashion brands based on criteria for human rights, environment and animal welfare. GoodOnYou also offers links to the webshops of the most sustainable brands. And yes, that is how GoodOnYou generates income. Thanks to the commercial approach, GoodOnYou can hopefully continue to grow for a long time and entice millions of consumers to shop fairly.

For us it was often hectic behind the scenes to keep our organization up and running. In the last years our development stagnated due to our non-profit approach with many volunteers and fewer donations. We came to the point that we could only find our way up again if we were to raise a lot of funds to invest in technology, and then we would build something that would look like GoodOnYou. It was therefore more logical to continue our shared mission together. The great ambitions of Rank a Brand now get a second life through GoodOnYou.

As a member of the Advisory Board, I myself remain involved with GoodOnYou. In this position I want to make a special commitment to the quality of the research and the presentation of the results.

I would like to once again thank everyone who has been involved in the past decades: volunteers, donors, friends, board members, members of the advisory board, employees, partner organizations and all users of the website and app.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact me.

Sincerely,

Niels Oskam
niels (at) rankabrand (.) org

Outdoor Fashion: Good for the Great Outdoors (and Beyond)?

If there is one type of fashion that is obviously connected to nature, it is outdoor fashion. Think breathable jackets, windproof pants and protective base layers – the type of clothing you wear when you go hiking, trekking and mountain biking.

So are these clothes not only good for enjoying nature, but also good for nature itself? Without workers manufacturing this clothing being exploited, of course?

Outdoor brands certainly recognize their natural link with sustainability. Their stories often begin with a few outdoor enthusiasts being inspired by nature. And to their credit, outdoor brands stress durable over fashionable clothes, functionality over fast fashion. Almost all offer a repair service, for example. Patagonia and Norrøna even donate 1% of their revenue to environmental projects.

The outdoor sector does need to be more transparent, though. Especially climate reporting was limited. Except for VAUDE, few brands reported a climate footprint, let alone a smaller footprint than in the previous reporting year. Reporting about renewable energy was often also too limited to convince us that brands were really frontrunners in the energy transition.

Instead, brands often reported on their use of environmentally preferred raw materials and phasing out of suspect chemicals. Especially PYUA obtained a high score here. But it often remained unclear which materials exactly were used to what extent in the brands’ collections, and whether chemicals were eliminated during the manufacturing process, rather than only in the end product. Reporting on waste and packaging was also limited, VAUDE being an exception.

Good labour conditions, finally, were actually emphasized by brands as much as environmental protection. Many readily disclosed a list of direct suppliers, are a member of a multi-stakeholder initiative and reported on human rights in their supply chain. Still, even frontrunners could not yet guarantee that all their workers overseas actually receive living wages. A few brands, such as PYUA and Trigema, circumvented this problem: Their clothing is essentially made in countries where laws provide for living wages.

Altogether, VAUDE convinced us most to be good for the great outdoors and beyond, followed by PYUA . Useful knowledge, we hope, if you aim to preserve the very nature you set out to appreciate on your trips!

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For all ranking criteria…

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What’s boiling in the tea sector?

Tea is, after water, world’s most popular beverage. And, if you brew it without heating too much water, tea is also a very sustainable beverage. Or at least, it can be.

After all, tea leaves also need to be responsibly sourced from farmers, sustainable agricultural practices have to be employed, and packaging needs to be environmentally friendly, too. For consumers this is not always easy to determine, but that is of course where we come in.

In our study of over a dozen popular German, Dutch and international tea brands, we have found considerable differences between brands. Leading the field are the German brands Lebensbaum (scoring 16/19) and GEPA (13/19), together with the Dutch brand Fairtrade Original (14/19). International brands, led by Lipton, Yogi Tea and Twinings, follow at a considerable distance (8/19).

Whereas certifications such as Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and Organic used to be the exception rather than the rule, we found that such certifications have become the new normal. Indeed, many brands have set a target to phase out uncertified tea completely in the next few years. That is a wonderful development.

At the same time, we must note that such certifications do not guarantee that all farmers actually earn living wages or that tea is produced in climate-neutral fashion. While top-ranking brands make clear efforts in this direction, the tea sector has the potential to go much further. This is not only because it is able to increase the living standards of around 8 million Asian and African smallholder farmers. The tea sector can also ensure through sustainable agricultural methods and compostable packaging that in the production of tea more greenhouse gases are being stored in the soil than actually emitted.

Just imagine that: drinking a cup of tea would no longer increase your ecological footprint, but instead mean you are doing something good for the world!

Sustainability telecom nothing to mail home about

Mobile phone, digital TV and Internet subscriptions—you might think that for such services, which are digital after all, sustainability is not a main concern.

But it is. By 2025, the Telecom sector is expected to use a whopping 10% of global power consumption, so climate change is a key issue. Yet Telecom companies also use ample high-tech electronics and thousands of kilometres of cables and wires which, if not properly recycled, contribute to the growing ecological and health problem of electronic waste. And then there is the procurement of such electronics, where child labour, forced labour and conflict minerals are still a significant risk.

Our updated rankings and ranking criteria reflect this, focusing strongly on climate neutrality, the circular economy, and improved labour conditions. And, like last year, in our rankings we were—much to our delight—advised and assisted by Global Business & Sustainability Master students from the Rotterdam School of Management.

Climate change policies contributed most to the difference in rankings. Brands from KPN Group (KPN, Ortel, XS4ALL, Telfort and Simyo) are leading the field, as already in 2015 they achieved climate neutrality. Other brands, such as Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom and Tele2 generally have a climate policy, but have not reduced their carbon emissions, nor sufficiently demonstrated that they really source renewable energy.

In transitioning to the circular economy, KPN brands also prove frontrunners, as they are on schedule to basically become fully circular by 2025. Even so, all brands can substantially increase the percentage of waste they recycle, and none report what percentage of their input materials has been recycled, even though the Global Reporting Initiative specifically recommends this.

No telecom brands score high on labour policies. Vodafone and its brand hollandsnieuwe are the only ones to show good progress in implementing a fair supplier Code of Conduct. However, none of the brands reviewed here could fully guarantee—in spite of their efforts—that at least one conflict mineral is sourced conflict-free, nor did we find a brand that was so transparent as to provide a list of its direct suppliers.

Of course, we hope that the telecom sector answers our calls—for more sustainability, that is.

Freshly Brewed Ranking Guidelines for the Coffee Sector

Did you know that coffee was the first product for which a Fairtrade certification was introduced, now three decennia ago? To examine if the coffee sector as a whole—and certain brands in particular—are indeed a frontrunner in sustainability, we have for this year’s edition of coffee brand rankings revised our ranking criteria substantially. For one, we now more heavily stress the climate footprint of supply chains, and encourage brands to achieve climate neutrality. But we have also refined how we take into account environmental and social certifications such as Fairtrade.

The revisions to the environmental and social certification questions are primarily driven by the Authoritative Recommendations of Milieu Centraal. As stated in the updated Ranking Guidelines for the Coffee Sector, Milieu Centraal started as an initiative of the Dutch environmental ministry, and is an independent, non-commercial scientific research institute that conducts its own research of certifications, including by means of a multi-stakeholder dialogue involving governing organizations of the certifications at hand. Their research is verified by an expert group and the process is governed by the Scientific Advice Council. Milieu Centraal evaluates certifications on a scale from 0 (“adhering to minimum legal requirements”) to 5 (“very strict demands”) on both environmental standards (“Milieu”) and labour standards (“Mens en Welzijn”), while verifying whether the certification is transparent (“Transparantie”) and strictly monitoring compliance to its standards (“Controle”). Therefore, Rank a Brand only accepts coffee certifications that are rated by Milieu Centraal.

In addition, the environmental and social certification standards have become more stringent in that some certifications do not guarantee that 100% of coffee beans or tea leaves are certified. Therefore, Rank a Brand now calculates the percentage of coffee beans environmentally or socially certified based on these guaranteed minimum percentages (rather than necessarily the reported percentage in corporate sustainability communications).

Due to these changes in the ranking criteria, there was some overall movement in the rankings of various brands since the last update of the Coffee Sector. Both Peeze and Lebensbaum moved up in the rankings and are currently the highest scoring brands, receiving an “A” ranking, with 18 and 16 out of 20 points, respectively. Peeze and Lebensbaum were the only two brands to receive an “A” ranking, primarily due to their exemplary efforts in environmentally and socially certified coffee that aligned with the intent of the new, more transparent ranking criteria for these certifications discussed in the previous paragraph. Also, these brands’ comprehensive efforts to provide this information to consumers on their websites is noteworthy.

Overall, the Coffee Sector as a whole has significant room for improvement in its practices, with 13 out of 22 brands (59%) receiving a ranking of “D” or worse. Many brands are not as transparent as they could be in the environmental and social certifications of their coffee beans. They need to focus more on the sustainability of their supply chains, as this is a critical issue where most environmental and social impacts arise in the coffee sector.

To be able to do our work, we need your support. Besides your contribution as a responsible consumer making informed decisions using our website, you can also support us financially or by helping in our research as a volunteer. Do you want to be kept up date about our research of the sustainability performance of well-known brands? Then follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Or, subscribe to our newsletter through our website.

Rank a Brand vs. RSM business students: 11 ideas

Here’s an experiment: 54 master students from the Rotterdam School of Management, specializing in business and sustainability, do brand research for Rank a Brand and investigate its methodology and operations for a few weeks. Then they present their findings. Will this yield any useful insights to Rank a Brand? Do Rank a Brand’s activities even hold up to such intensive scrutiny?

As you may have guessed, we have just conducted said experiment. Multiple student teams from the master Global Business and Sustainability at the Rotterdam School of Management helped rank the telecom sector as part of the course Sustainability & Behavioural Ethics. Meanwhile they investigated how fair Rank a Brand’s ranking system is, whether rankings are based on the ‘right’ values, how Rank a Brand might best treat its stakeholders, and much more.

Their general conclusion: Rank a Brand’s work is well-researched, crucial to creating consumer awareness, and invaluable in pressuring brands to become more sustainable. But, clearly, the road toward truly sustainable production and consumption is still long. That is why students came up with numerous ideas to help Rank a Brand accomplish its mission. Here’s an impression:

      1. Rank a Brand aims to expand to other countries, and thus to other cultures. But could there be valid differences in how cultures view sustainability? A cross-cultural dialogue could be useful to probe whether Rank a Brand’s assessment of sustainability is culturally biased and needs to be adjusted per culture.
      2. Rank a Brand is not alone in assessing sustainability. Other examples are the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, the Corporate Knights’ G100, Good Guide and B Corps. Not surprisingly, these assessments sometimes diverge. Why is this, and could a collaborative effort overcome this?
      3. Rank a Brand evaluates a brand’s climate protection policy, environmental policy and labour conditions. This squarely covers some of the most important sustainability issues. However, there are other areas that are interesting in this respect. For example: should economic sustainability also be covered? Criteria in this area could be covering, among other topics, whether or not a brand avoids taxes.
      4. To what extent should brands be able to compensate low scores in certain areas with high scores in others? For example, if a brand is suspected to employ children, should positive practices such as using renewable energy or recycling waste still be fully rewarded?
      5. Rank a Brand’s A- to E-ratings, while neat, might be confounded with the American grade system or hide the fact that, say, two C-ratings sometimes differ more in their ranking than a C- and D-rating. An alternative could be the less ambiguous five-leaves system.  Furthermore, when hovering one’s mouse cursor over a brand’s ranking, a pop-up window could display separate scores for carbon emissions, environmental policy and labour conditions.
      6. Rank a Brand values transparency: Brands that disclose no sustainability information will invariably receive the lowest ranking. While this encourages transparency, it may disadvantage smaller brands with limited resources to publish such information. What about sending such brands templates so they only need to fill out the required information to receive an accurate ranking?
      7. In a similar vein, Rank a Brand could be more transparent about how its own ranking criteria are established. Sustainability domains are selected from, among others, the Global Reporting Initiative, but how is optimal coverage of these domains determined? And how is decided for each domain which codes and guidelines are sufficiently reliable to be used for the rankings? One way to increase transparency is to send brands an advance notice of new ranking questions.
      8. Brands that are already deeply committed to sustainability probably care about more than just their ranking. What else can Rank a Brand offer them? An industry report with the latest ranking developments, perhaps? Or maybe these brands are willing to share some inside information to further improve the ranking process?
      9. As Rank a Brand grows in size, more formal regulatory procedures may become necessary. Auditing comes to mind, as does adopting codified ethics for non-profit organizations. For example, it could be explicitly stated that rankers have no conflicts of interest.
      10. For Rank a Brand as a non-profit organization, it is an open question how to measure its impact or added value. Statistics such as number of website visitors and brands ranked measure this only by approximation. An interesting KPI could therefore be how many brands receive a higher ranking than the year before. A problem, though, is that higher rankings may also result from other factors than Rank a Brand’s activities.
      11. After visiting Rank a Brand’s website, consumers may have the best intentions to buy sustainable brands, but when push comes to shove, they may not always do so. To make sure good intentions translate more often into actual behavior, Rank a Brand could release a browser extension that allows consumers to see the rankings of brands when surfing—or even shopping—online.

Without a doubt, receiving all these ideas from so many highly critical and bright students is a bit like a swarm of bees in an orchard: very fruitful. And, surely, as we are designing our new website and planning a major overhaul of our Wiki covering our ranking criteria, each idea will be seriously considered. That does not imply, of course, that our experimenting with seeking advice is limited to consulting business students. So, dear reader, linger not, and feel encouraged to share your thoughts!

Calling upon telecom providers to become more sustainable

When thinking about brands in sectors with a need for sustainable practices, telecom providers do not immediately come to mind. However, this sector uses so much energy that a change towards renewables would be a major improvement. This energy dependency is mostly caused by the data centres that allow internet and telephone communications.

Apart from energy, the purchasing of electronics is also a major impact of this sector. By moving to electronics with responsibly mined minerals, both with respect to the environment as to the workers doing the mining, this sector can create much improvement. Finally, telecom providers are often the primary source of mobile telephones sold to consumers. By showing consumers what the impact of such telephones are, and by offering sustainable alternatives (for an example, see our ranking of the electronics sector), telecom providers can nudge their customers to better choices. So, with all this being said, how do the large telecom providers actually perform? Find out below.

Not much change compared to previous update
In our previous update (blog in Dutch only) of this sector, the Dutch brand KPN and its subsidiaries (Ortel, XS4ALL, Simyo and Telfort) clearly took the lead. All five brands received the B-rating, meaning they were well on their way towards sustainability, while there was still room for improvement. However, in this new update, which was done by students of the Rotterdam School of Management, only Ortel was able to keep this rating. The reason behind this is that Ortel does not offer hardware, and in doing so doesn’t trigger the constant purchasing of new devices while old ones still work fine, thereby reducing this brand’s environmental impact automatically. Since KPN does not sufficiently report on its policy for the environmentally and socially responsible sourcing of its hardware (both sold and used), a lower score was rewarded in this update. This leads to the lower C-rating for KPN, XS4ALL, Simyo and Telfort. Noteworthy is that KPN only uses renewable energy which was generated in the Netherlands, by wind or biomass. Furthermore, KPN publishes its greenhouse gas emissions and has already taken steps to reduce them. Finally, KPN shows good recycling results for both consumer electronics and its own electronics, and publishes its waste footprint as well as a policy to reduce this waste.

Besides KPN and its subsidiaries, a C-rating was awarded to Ortel Mobile (a German brand owned by Telefonica S.A. and different from Ortel from KPN) and Hollandsnieuwe (a Dutch brand owned by Vodafone). Ortel Mobile receives extra points for not offering hardware, while Hollandsnieuwe uses 100% renewable energy. The rest of the telecom providers all received either a D- or an E-rating. In the former category are names like Ziggo, T-Mobile, O2, Lebara and Vodafone. While its Dutch brand Hollandsnieuwe performs well when taking renewable energy into account, Vodafone is not (sufficiently) clear on the use of renewables company wide, leading to a lower score.

In the lowest category, with an E-rating, we find telecom providers like 1&1 and Tele2. These brands publish either no or too little information about their corporate social responsibility policy, or too little to be rewarded more points. Our recommendation is therefore to avoid these brands, at least until they show better performance.

Support our work
To be able to do our work, we need your support. Besides your contribution as a responsible consumer making informed decisions using our website, you can also support us financially or by helping in our research as a volunteer. If you want to support the work of Rank a Brand we invite you to become a Friend of Rank a Brand. We ask our Friends to make a contribution of €25 per year, or a higher amount if you can afford it, to enable our work. You will have a say in the sectors and brands that we will assess and can contribute to the further development of our criteria. See our website for more info and please share this post.

Do you want to be kept up to date about our research of the sustainability performance of well-known brands? Then follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Furthermore, subscribe to our newsletter through our website.

Searching online sustainability

They are inescapable in our daily lives and we might assume that their environmental footprint is just as small as the electricity it takes to load a webpage. We’re talking about websites. Think Google, Gmail, Facebook, Wikipedia, eBay, Linkedin, Youtube, Dropbox and more. We use them as search engines, for social interactions and for shopping. But behind all the great services these websites provide, one service  does not get the attention it deserves: making sure visitors don’t have to worry about whether their use of the websites’ services is harming the environment or other people in any way.

Rank a Brand has tested that service in the latest sector update about the sustainability of some of the most well-known and consumer relevant websites. For that update, the websites behind those websites have been searched through, looking for policy and policy implementation examples that show the website aims to prevent negative environmental and social impact by its activities.

Background
Websites of the large brands we looked at in this research tend to operate large data centers that require a lot of energy. In that sense, choosing and then transparently and actively communicating their use of renewable energy, would make these website brands great potential examples and stimulators for choosing renewables. Furthermore, a large quantity and diversity of electronic parts is needed to build and maintain those data centers. In order to make sure those parts are sourced sustainably and with respect for workers’ rights, website brands should have procurement policies with minimum criteria for both the suppliers they source from, and the suppliers of those suppliers. Additionally, as e-waste is globally reaching  millions of tons per year, a fierce policy on electronic waste from data center servers and corporate computers by website brands is another criteria included in this update.

E-waste is a growing problem that all brands in this sector should consider when forming policies for how to properly dispose of their electronic waste such as data center servers and corporate computers. United Nations University’s estimations indicate that current e-waste arising across the twenty- seven members of the European Union amount to around 8.3 – 9.1 million tons per year; globally this is estimated to be around 40 million tons per year (Huisman J. et al. 2008 Review of Directive 2002/96 on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). Bonn: United Nations University, 2007). See also our manual for more information on e-waste.

Results
The results of this ranking show that while some improvements are being made, in general scores have unfortunately dropped. Most points are being scored regarding questions about climate protection measures in general, and the use of renewable energy specifically[2]. A total of 16 out of the 23 website brands report on policy measures to minimize, reduce, or compensate greenhouse gas emissions, thereby representing the relatively as well as absolutely best scored assessment element. Another 8 of those have actually disclosed the annual climate footprint of their own operations and have already reduced or compensated at least 10% of these emissions in the last 5 years. 11 of the website brands have an overall Power Usage Efficiency (PUE) of their data centers of below 1.5 (for more information on PUE, see Wikipedia).

Regarding the environmental protection, none of the 23 website brands present a convincing policy for responsible disposal of e-waste – including reporting on respective annual results. Only 4 of them, being the Alphabet, Inc.’s brands Gmail, Google, Google+ and YouTube – also ranked highest in this update with a C-rating – have a policy for seeking suppliers and/or service providers that conduct their business in environmentally responsible ways and also provide examples to that. However, none of the brands present convincing reporting on an actual procurement policy for all electronics used in specific detail.

Among the group of website brands that yielded a D-rating in this update, 5 out of 7 brands, being Facebook and Instagram (both owned by Facebook, Inc.), and Bing, Skype and Outlook.com (all owned by Microsoft Corp.), publish their water use footprint and present a policy to minimize that footprint. Thereby, Microsoft Corp. also publishes clear objectives to minimize its waste materials footprint, and annually reports on the results. The remaining two D-rated brands, eBay and Marktplaats (both owned by eBay, Inc.), only scored points in the assessment elements on climate protection measures highlighted in the first paragraph of the results.

The group of website brands that was ranked with an E-rating in this update can be split up into a group of brands that scored some points and a group that scored no points at all. Within the first group, represented by Flickr, Yahoo! (both owned by Yahoo! Inc.), GMX, WEB.DE (both owned by United Internet AG) and Wikipedia, the only points were earned in having a policy to minimize, reduce or compensate greenhouse gas emissions. Yahoo! Inc. thereby also reported about its climate footprint and a reduction of more than 10% between the years 2013 and 2015. The website brands that scored no points at all are Dropbox, LinkedIn, Myspace, Pinterest, Twitter, Vimeo and XING. These brands don’t give any impression yet that social and / or environmental sustainability is on their agenda.

Call to action
So what can we do? It seems that deleting our social media accounts or stopping searching the web aren’t the most realistic solutions to keep ourselves going. Yet there are options to do something. Mailing, tweeting or posting @the respective website brands in public can provoke serious reactions by their representatives. Also, some promising alternatives do exist, such as search engine Ecosia or mail provider Posteo – which seem to put sustainability at the heart of their operations. If these assumptions hold true, we would of course like to research these websites. Your donations can help us to complete this research.

Support our work
To be able to do our work, we need your support. Besides your contribution as a responsible consumer making informed decisions using our website, you can also support us financially or by helping in our research as a volunteer. If you want to support the work of Rank a Brand we invite you to become a Friend of Rank a Brand. We ask our Friends to make a contribution of €25 per year, or a higher amount if you can afford it, to enable our work. You will have a say in the sectors and brands that we will assess and can contribute to the further development of our criteria. See our website for more info and please share this post.

Do you want to be kept up to date about our research of the sustainability performance of well-known brands? Then follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Furthermore, subscribe to our newsletter through our website.

Donate to support our next shoe ranking

It’s time for shoe brands to step up to the plate! In the areas of sustainability, social responsibility and transparency, which brands are progressing in leaps and bounds, and which are digging their heels in?

To answer this question, Rank a Brand is asking supporters to help raise the funds needed to update our shoe brand ranking. A crowdfunding campaign specifically for this project has been set up on Pifworld and is ready to take donations. For every €250 raised, we can assess one brand. Donors will have the opportunity to nominate a brand they’d like included in the ranking by leaving a message when donating.

Click here to donate to the crowdfunding campaign for our shoe update

If you regularly check the Rank a Brand website for information from an independent source, please consider making a donation and spreading the word amongst your networks to support this update. Your donation will help us continue our work and increase its impact on brands and consumer behavior.

For this project, all brands will be graded against criteria that covers the biggest issues in the shoe production industry – child labour, fair wages for workers, environmentally-friendly leather tanning, use of eco-friendly materials, banning hazardous and toxic chemicals, and reducing carbon emissions.

Our last shoe and footwear ranking was completed in early 2015 and saw Ethletic finish first with an overall B-rating. However, many of the selected brands showed much room for improvement with the majority  receiving an E, the lowest possible rating. Not exactly kicking goals! But that was almost two years ago and it’s possible they have since stepped up their game.

Are we the only ones footing the bill for that pair of new kicks?
It’s often hard to tell. But brands that publish information about their production chains, the materials used and the people involved in making their products, show consumers that they are motivated by more than just their bottom line. With help from environmentally and socially-conscious consumers like you, Rank a Brand will identify and highlight the shoe brands  currently leading the way and nudge those lagging behind.

See which popular shoe brands were included in the 2015 ranking and how they scored, under the Shoes & footwear sector on our website.

Rank a Brand is a completely independent, non-profit organisation. We rely on donations to grade brands across a variety of sectors on their sustainability, and keep consumers informed. In addition to this project, you can also support us by becoming a Friend of Rank a Brand with a donation of €25 or more per year.

You can also support us in the following ways: