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Wednesday, 26 September 2018

What are the Most Sustainable High Street Brands?

Regent Street

There I was the other day, stood on Oxford Street wondering where an earth to go. I must have spun around 4 or 5 times trying to decide which shop to find some sustainable clothes and you know what? I came up with two shops, two shops which I knew were ethical/ had ethical ranges!

It got me thinking that we spend so much time on high streets but don't really know that much about the brand behind the name and it's quite a challenge to decipher who would come out on top in terms of sustainability. With so much information and initiatives out there it can be really hard to tell what is true and what is green washing to make us continue to buy and feel good.

Although the high street shops wouldn't be classed as sustainable brands there is quite a difference between them and so below is my rough list of the companies / collections with strong sustainability campaigns. Many of the brands would are what you would deem as fast fashion but they are doing a lot more than many others out their to improve the fabrics they use and the conditions people work in.

ASOS

Although not technically high street, with next day delievery (if it actually arrives on time) is nearly just as good. ASOS are up there in sustainability which always seems to surprise people. With their recent announcement to stop selling real silk, feathers and mohair by 2019 along with there HUGE quantity of sustainability initiatives they really are making waves to a sustainable future. Their Eco Edit section on their website also offers a easy guide for you to locate top quality products easily.

Weekday

What you may not know is weekday is owned by H&M but there strong sustainability commitment which is all about fair living wages, environmental performance and animal welfare means the correct things are being examined. Finally, their use of recycled and organic materials in their clothing means they are above many other brands.

H&M Conscious

H&M Conscious continues to grow every year. The brand continues to try and innovate within the sustainability circle in particular, being the largest purchaser of organic cotton. There new collections continue to try out new fabrics and with their bold commitment to only use sustainable or recycled materials by 2030, the company are stepping upto the challenge and help a sustainable future. With current collections using fabric made out of recycled fishing newts

Mango Committed

A personal sustainable favourite, Mango Committed Collection, is all about sustainable cotton. With the company aiming to have 50% of their cotton from sustainable sources.The initiative is part of  Take Action an initiative which is part of a long-term plan to create a business model based around more environmentally friendly processes and sustainability criteria.

Zara Join Life

As one of the giants, ZARA does have some issues with ensure an ethical supply chain but they are trying. Back in 2015 they launched their Join Life Collection (you may have noticed a different tag on some clothe showing less water usage etc), garments only earn the label if they meet a series of internal qualifications: the primary fabric must be Better Cotton Initiative approved cotton, organic or recycled cotton, recycled polyester or polyamide or modal. The garment must also be manufactured with a "green to wear" technology such as water recycling. The collection is at least a step in the right direction for the high street brand.

Bershka Join Life

Named the same as Zara by the owners of both brands, Retail giant Inditex, the principles are exactly the same as well. Clothing make with better cotton, recycled materials and renewable materials. Obviously the brand is still seen as fast fashion, but at least it is some improvement to the overall Although the brand is still classed as fast fashion and owned by a super giant, if you care about the environment then its a great easy option.

United Colours of Benetton

Benetton are up there in those high street brands trying to do better. They are one of the leaders for Greenpeace's Catwalk Detox program to reduce their impact by 2020. The company is also heavily monitoring their supply chain and logistics to reduce their CO2 production. The company are set on removing any dangerous chemicals from their products.

Addidas x Parley

Addidas has been working hard on their sustainability and their partnership with Parley is credit to this. The collaboration is all about raising awareness to ocean plastic and whilst using recycling fishing nets into trainers. With large future goals including the role out of their workers hotline and aiming to reduce water and electricity usage they are trying to move towards a more sustainable future.

Marks & Spencer

I've written about Marks & Spencers being a sustainable brand before (here's the link for more information). The company as a whole have a very strong sustainability plan called Plan A. 49% of their cotton, 99% of the wood materials and 27% of their leather are now from more sustainable source. Not only have they got good factories but also ensured set pay standards around the world meaning they are helping to shape the future as well.

My list may not be what you expect, I have chosen either brands or collections that are having a positive impact that I really believe in . Ethical Consumer have created a data base of high street shops using much stronger set of criteria if you want more information which is facilitating and can even take your preferences into account whether that be animals, the environment or people. The tool has certainly opened my eyes to high street brands I had never considered before such as Uniqlo and White Stuff. I cant wait to see high streets progress in sustainability and improve their collections to be better for the environment and their supply chain.

Love
Erin

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