More expensive brands not necessarily more sustainable
For many cheap clothing brands, you might wonder if the low price means that the environment and labour conditions of labourers in low wage countries will suffer. In general this seems to be the case. Sadly, this does not mean that when you pay a premium price for a piece of clothing, it automatically means the environment and labour conditions are improved. From our latest research of 38 premium clothing brands on their performance with respect to climate, environment, and labour conditions, we can conclude that most of these brands hardly perform better than their cheaper competitors.
Just like in the cheaper sectors, such as the large retailers, premium brands show little effort when it comes to sustainability. Only one brand receives the C label (scoring 13 out of 31 points): COS, one of the brands of fashion giant H&M Group. This score means the brand is performing reasonably with regard to the environment and labour conditions. While both COS and H&M received a B label in our previous ranking, they did not manage to maintain this score. This also has to do with the fact that we made our criteria more stringent. This is because we like to see that brands keep trying to perform better each year.
COS receives points for its casino online first steps toward reducing its carbon emissions, making use of environmentally prefered materials (14% in 2014), reducing harmful chemicals, and working toward achieving fairer labour conditions in factories in low wage countries. To achieve this latter issue, H&M Group also became member of the Fair Labour Association and the Ethical Trading Initiative. These organizations are committed to improving labour conditions.
Unfortunately, the remaining brands do not perform as well. Seven brands receive the second lowest grade, the D label. This label was achieved by the brands Acne, Claudia Sträter, Marimekko, Marc O’Polo, Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein, and Tommy Hilfiger. These brands show some first steps when it comes to incorporating sustainability in their company policy, but still have a long road ahead of them. Of these brands, Acne receives the highest score (9 out of 31 points) and comes in second. Third place is shared by Claudia Sträter and Marimekko. Both brands scored 8 points.
The remaining 30 brands remain stuck at the lowest grade, the E label. These brands hardly or do not show any performance with respect to sustainability. We therefore recommend consumers not to buy these brands until they show better results. Examples of brands in this group of laggards are: McGregor, Gant, Benetton, Ralph Lauren, Lacoste, and Michael Kors.
Help get sustainability into fashion
Before people say that it apparently does not matter which clothes you buy, because it is all just as unsustainable; this is not the case. Research in other sectors by Rank a Brand shows that there certainly are brands that perform better. To find an overview of such brands, you can visit our website, for example the overview page of all clothing brands. By purchasing these better performing brands, you support an upward trend to fairer and cleaner clothes.
You can find the list of the brands we’ve examined on the overview page of premium brands. By clicking a brand, you can find more information on our rating. Through these brand pages, you can also send the brand a message to stimulate them to perform better.
To do the work we do, we could really use your help. Besides your support as a responsible consumer making conscious choices in your clothing purchases, you can also support us financially or volunteer to help in our research. Do you want to stay up to 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.