October 06 2020 – Mercantile London
Whilst having a 'green' approach seems to be the top priority for most fashion and beauty brands coming onto the market these days, the lack of clarity surrounding 'eco-friendly' terms, and the multiple factors to weight up (sourcing, materials, production methods, treatment of employees, business practices and charitable contributions) when trying to make a conscious purchase can be a confusing one.
Whilst a product can never be 'zero impact', the following apparel and apothecary brands are all making significant and impressive progress in this area, whilst still producing modern, desirable product that we love.
the Muses London – Conscious, Sustainable Candles
“At every turn these days it seems our choices impact the world around us. As consumers we are often unaware of the impact we are having. And buying sustainably still feels complicated and requires leg work. In our view, it should be part of everyday life. A simple decision to purchase a product shouldn’t lead to a long list of unintended environmental or ethical impacts”- the Muses London
the Muses London candles are hand poured using a clean-burning, certified sustainable combination of non-GMO rapeseed, beeswax and soy wax which is100% free from paraffin, and any palm oil or palm wax. Some sources of soy wax are not regarded as sustainable due to impacts from intensive soybean farming processes like deforestation and displacement of small farmers and indigenous peoples, so the Muses use a renewable soy wax product that is certified sustainable, biodegradable and manufactured from renewable sources.
The candles are also gluten free, lead free, paraben free, phthalate free, sulphate free, petroleum free, and not tested on animals.
the Muses London do not enhance the scent with chemical boosters and do not add colour or dye to the wax. The candles are made with a blend of essential oils and botanical fragrance oils. The company consciously chose to work with an infusion of both because their research showed that the production of essential oils has a higher environmental, and sometimes ethical, cost than the production of fragrance oils. They have sourced eco-conscious and sustainable alternatives that best respect the environment and a have a positive social impact, rather than simply pushing for a pure essential oil solution.
When they do use essential oils, they ensure they are produced responsibly in Europe, transported by ship and do not feature on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and the fragrance oils are free from petroleum, phthalates, parabens and sulphates.
the Muses London strive for an efficient and sustainable production process. And so wick, mix, pour, label and finish the candles by hand, in small batches. They use the exact materials needed at each stage to ensure they do not over produce - as over production can cause significant waste. Following this process also means they use less energy than larger, machine-led producers.
The candles come in pure brass containers which can be reused, repurposed or recycled indefinitely. Brass is a cradle-to-cradle metal, meaning that it is 100% recyclable and can be recycled or repurposed indefinitely - each time it is recycled into a new product, the properties of the metal are retained. It can have an endless life. No other material outside of metal can do this – not glass, ceramic, paper, wood or stone and being lightweight it creates a smaller carbon footprint than glass when it comes to transportation.
The candle boxes and liners are made from paper which is made here in the UK. The paper is fully recyclable and biodegradable. The paper is FSC certified meaning the pulps used are from managed forests (for every tree felled, three are planted) and unused water during the paper production process is returned to the river. It is also heavy metal free, and the bleaching process used during production is chlorine free.
Fully transparent as a company with an impressive sustainability report, they are still committed to offsetting their minimal carbon footprint and are members of Offset Earth, who work towards creating a climate positive workforce. They also plant a tree for every candle sold.
For more information follow the Muses London here.
Colorful Standard - Wardrobe Classics Made Responsibly
“Sustainability can be quite a mouthful. It is a concept that tends to be made more complicated than it should. To us, being sustainable means taking simple, smaller actions that can generate impact both in the short-term and the long-term. From the materials that we use to the way our dear workers are treated we make it our mission to be as fair and ethical as possible” - Colorful Standard
Colorful Standard create uncomplicated basics such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, scarves and beanies which are made from 100% organic cotton, which means cotton that is grown without genetically modified seeds, whilst the winter accessories are made from 100% Italian extra fine merino wool.
All of the garments in the collections are made in Portugal by a team of skilled individuals that the brand have known for years and have built a close relationship with. They work under the European Union Labour Law, which means fair wages, no discrimination and freely chosen employment.
The brand work transparently and the factories are open for visits at any time. They also donate 5% of their proceedings to the their newly established football club and foundation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, FC Masi Manimba. Building a football club from scratch, they created a space where children in the Democratic Republic of Congo could gather outside of school hours and exercise not only their bodies but also their minds while learning about the spirit of teambuilding and community.
For more information follow Colorful Standard here
Good News – Sustainable Sneakers
“Our aim is simple; To create a platform we can use to promote a healthy planet. Giving back, one step at a time!” - Good News
Good News are a British contemporary footwear brand founded in 2016 in London. Co-Founders Ben Tattersall and Nia Jones share one aspiration: to bring the world a little bit of GOOD NEWS. The company are always striving to improve the environmental and social sustainability of their products by decreasing the carbon, chemical and water footprint, whilst also caring for the people who make the shoes.
The collections feature recycled rubber soles, organic cotton and weave uppers and a recycled eco-lite footbed. The collection uses Global Organic Textile Standard certified organic cotton which is grown using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment; helping to keep both workers, water and soil safe from toxic pesticides.
The brand also use Bluesign-certifed chemicals for dying their collections materials to ensure that no hazardous chemicals are used in the manufacturing process. This not only helps to make production as safe as possible for their workers but reduces water usage and helps with pollution control.
Tencel and cord feature in the designs. Tencel is a cellulose fibre acquired from sustainable wood sources by environmentally responsible processes, which offers natural comfort and biodegradability and the corduroy is 100% GOTS certified with 100% naturally dyed hues. Hemp, wool and lyocell are also used as they are biodegradable fibres, which break down naturally to harmless compounds rather than accumulate in the environment. They are breathable, antibacterial and biodegradable. The ZQ-certified merino used offers high standards of animal welfare and land management, and the eucalyptus-derived lyocell from South Africa is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified and uses 95% less water since it relies on rainwater rather than irrigation.
With a recycled natural rubber outsole and a castor oil Eco20 foam insole Good News provide a low impact option for the trainer world.
The packaging is made from 100% recycled and recyclable materials; from the outer box to the protective tissue and structural filler, these are biodegradable and certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
With a transparent approach and detailed sustainability report the brand aim to ensure that their materials are environmentally and socially progressive, and continue to use fewer processes to make the collections.
They also monitor the supply chain to promote a fair trade and donate deadstock and faulty shoes to the homeless and refugees in need.
For more information follow Good News here.