The Brands With Sustainability at their Core

The Brands at TYF

By Rodney Laws

As climate change looms ever larger in the world’s consciousness, more and more brands are putting an eco-friendly focus at the heart of what they do. All businesses, big and small, have a duty to do their bit for the planet.

A brand that tells customers not 

to buy their products. 

Patagonia is renowned around the world for its unique blend of high-quality apparel and inimitable sustainable commitments. 

The brand embodies a unique approach to environmentalism. It eschews the consumerist norms by actively imploring its customers to not buy any products they don’t need. Instead, Patagonia invites its customers to engage with its Worn Wear programme. This lets customers return their products for repair, rather than binning them. It’s unorthodox and unlike anything else seen in the world of business today — but it’s great for the planet.

Top takeaway - Environmental experts agree that buying fewer clothes is one of the best ways we, as individuals, can prevent or mitigate climate change. But this isn’t something most brands want to shout about. Fewer sales mean smaller profits, anathema to business. So when a big brand like Patagonia flips the system and actively discourages unnecessary purchases, but still manages to operate, it shows that it’s still possible to run a profitable business without such a big impact on the planet.

An outdoor company that focuses on people, 

not just the planet. 

The term ‘Sherpa’ is often used to refer to a mountain guide, particularly those operating around Mount Everest. But the word actually refers to a specific ethnic group of Nepalese people who live in the mountains.

The region experiences low literacy rates, poor economic status, and a degree of social instability. Sherpa Adventure Gear seeks to combat this through a concerted social giving programme, funded by its apparel line.

All of the hats and mittens are handmade by Nepalese women, each of whom are paid a fair, ethical wage. Beyond providing local communities with a source of regular income, Sherpa Adventure Gear also helps fund education and literacy programmes in the region.

Top Takeaway - Being eco-friendly isn’t just about recycling and planting trees. Supporting local industries like the above ensure indigenous populations aren’t swept away by Western corporations. Environmentalism isn’t just about plants — it’s about people too. As the climate changes, populations around the world suffer the effects of it, including floods, droughts, and more.

Eco-friendly at every step of the supply chain.

Activewear brand Howies was born in Carmarthen up the road from TYF. Surrounded by stunning rural landscapes and situated on the River Towy in the heart of Wales. A love for the planet was all but inevitable for its founders, David and Clare Hieatt. 

David and Clare also came up with the idea of The Do Lectures in 2007 - an Annual gathering in West Wales. The idea is a simple one. That people who Do things, can inspire the rest of us to go and Do amazing things too. An encouragement network and safe space for people to ask better questions. TYF are a proud founding partner of this incredible event. 

Consequently, Howies is a brand with environmentalism at its core. It produces a range of jeans, t-shirts, and other activewear garments using only natural fabrics. Merino wool,  organic and recycled cotton, and plant-based fibres are just a few of the sustainable materials used by Howies for its apparel.

What sets the brand apart is its focus on sustainability at every step of the way. As Howiesstates on its about page: “That responsibility starts at the design stage and carries through to production; from how our products are delivered to your door, how they perform, then eventually what happens to them when they are no longer wearable.”

Howies’ products are genuinely designed to last, keeping them away from the landfill forlonger. Even after a product is no longer usable, it is designed in such a way as to haveminimal impact on the planet as waste.

Top takeaway - being eco-friendly doesn’t stop at the point of purchase. Once aproduct has been made, it’s there forever. By using natural, organic materials, wemitigate that impact on the planet. And for your business, this doesn’t just stop at your product itself. Packaging and shipping generate huge amounts of waste, but there are plenty ofsustainable solutions that mitigate this. Sustainability can and should be built into every step of the production process, including your delivery and logistics too.

Special thanks to our guest writer Rodney Laws. 

Connect with him on Twitter @EcomPlatformsio.

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