How sustainable are your favourite brands?

News, blog and backgrounds about the sustainability scores of brands

On your marks…!

Just one day to go until the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics and the world is watching. With an anticipated global audience of 4 billion (that’s over half of the world’s entire population – that’s a lot of people!) the games are set to be one of the most popular social media events in sporting history. The reach of the Olympics is truly phenomenal and it has the potential to inspire countless people, getting them into sports and exercising, kick-starting a generation of enthusiasts.

Sports brands will be hoping, as well, that millions of people will also head to the shops to buy their goods after seeing their favourite athletes wearing their products. Ussain Bolt – the world’s fastest man – is sponsored by Puma and they fully anticipate that demand for their products will soar. But, of all the sports brands out there, which ones are crossing the finishing line first and taking their social responsibilities the most seriously?

Photo Finish

Setting the pace

At Rankabrand, we’ve done all the hard work for you (not the exercise bit, the research) so you can find a comprehensive summary of the major sports brands and how well they score.

It is great to see that a lot of progress has been made by the sports manufactures and they appear in the upper section of our ratings. The big brands like NikePumaReebok and Adidas (who own Reebok) all score a respectable ‘B’. Why?

They have a clear policy on reducing their carbon emissions and are members of the Fair Labor Association (FLA). All of them have a commitment to minimise, reduce, or compensate their carbon emission and report on how they are doing at meeting their targets. Credit where credit is due, “B” is a great score and these brands should be commended for their positive approach and commitment to sustainable manufacture. Not wanting to take away from this fact, the one area that would have given them top marks, having a policy (or concrete targets) about using environmentally casino sustainable raw materials, such as organic cotton. Saying this Nike and Puma have signed up to Greenpeace’s  Detox challenge committing themselves to eliminating all hazardous chemicals across its entire supply chain by 2020. Can Adidas follow suit? Competition in this sector is high so we’ll be watching closely to find out.

Not even a bronze medal!

It should be said that not all sports brands are doing well. Fila, the Korean sports giant only scores a meagre ‘E’ (the lowest score possible!) with no information about how they are reducing their carbon emissions, their labor conditions or their use of raw materials on its website. This is worrying and begs the question, do they have a policy or even care?

New Balance, the American sports manufacture doesn’t fair much better (and even has a new Olympic collection to cash in on the hype!) scoring just one better with a ‘D’. Whilst New Balance has various policy measures to reduce its carbon emissions (such as recycling waste), that is about it. On its website it does mention that it has eliminated the use of PVCs from its footwear which is commendable, but transparency and clear concrete targets are few and far between.

Asics also score a “D” with much the same areas for improvement as New Balance. They are members of the Fair Labor Association, of which New Balance could follow their lead as a starter for 10.

Room for improvement

It is clear, from some of the big players, that sustainable sportswear manufacture is possible and can be achieved, and that consumer pressure and competition within the industry is showing good results. But there is always more to do. We would like to see more transparency and a commitment in the use of sustainable raw materials and for those manufacturers performing badly…catch up!

So before you go out and purchase the latest running shoes; high-tech breathable tops or light-weight sports equipment check Rankabrand as to which ones are performing the best and if your preferred brand is lagging behind, why not give them a poke!

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