It’s no secret that consumers are expecting more from brands today than ever before. Consumers are more conscious of how their purchase decisions can impact generations to come. A price tag now must come with careful thought and deep purpose. Brands today must show they care about tomorrow as much as their bottom line. It’s not enough for products to just be recyclable, now they must be born from sustainable roots and have a responsible method for disposal. This has led brands worldwide to think about their impact.
Last week was World Recycle Week, a global H&M initiative to close the loop in fashion and recycle unwanted garments. Since 2013, H&M has been inviting customers to bring unwanted and worn-out garments and textiles (from any brand and in any condition) to its store. In return customers receive H&M shopping vouchers. To help raise awareness, musician, M.I.A filmed a music video for H&M, highlighting the environmental impact of clothes going to landfills around the world.
Over the last three years, H&M has collected more than 25,000 tons of clothing, equivalent to almost 130 million t-shirts. In 2014, H&M introduced its first garments that incorporated recycled textile fibers as part of its commitment to sustainability. This year H&M aimed to collect 1,000 tons of garments to create recycled textile fibers for new cloths. The company’s goal is to only use cotton from sustainable sources by 2020. Now that’s a promise to a more sustainable future.
H&M isn’t alone. Successful, fashion-forward brands like ZADY, AMOUR VERT, A Peace Treaty, and Helpsy are also at the forefront of a growing movement in retail in which corporate social responsibility is foundational to the company mission. Nike’s sustainability goal is to be a leader in innovation and sustainable design. The company is applying that ambition to its’ products as well as sharing knowledge and inspiring a new generation of designers.
Nike created the Making App, which provides free, detailed, in-house sustainability impact information on 22 different product materials.
Method is another leading company who puts sustainability first. Its mission is to provide the world with cleaner cleaning products ranging from floor cleaner to hand soap. Method has numerous designations including Cradle-to-Cradle Gold certified product lines, LEED-certified buildings, and B Corp practices. Capitalism and responsibility are not at odds; Method and over 300 other Certified B Corporations are proof.
In the coming decade, sustainability will disrupt virtually every sector. The implications for agriculture, food, water, energy, education, transportation, shelter, apparel, and more are enormous. Consumers are increasingly aware of the challenges our planet faces. They look for sustainable products from brands that share their values and are committed to being leaders of tomorrow. Sustainability goes beyond recycling week and into everyday life.
We’re excited to see companies take on this responsibility, because it’s not only an important aspect of brand building, it’s important to our future.