These days, many corporate web sites are fairly bursting with well-intentioned fair trade, certified organic, sustainable supply-chain certification symbols. Looks great, but what does it all mean?
Last week I got an e-catalogue from local clothing company Eco Apparel that answered that question. Eco Apparel is a Vancouver-based clothing manufacturer who really puts their sustainability where their mouth is. From recycled-content fabrics to responsible procurement, they work hard to do it right. (see Green Briefs, May 12, 2008 – ‘What’s behind a green clothing label’)
They are also boast their fair share of certifications – Bluesign, Intertek, 1% for the Planet, CSR Corporate Social Responsibility – as well as claims of certified yarns and fair-trade manufacturing.
But unlike many of their competitors, they didn’t just throw another badge on to their home page. On the back of their new product catalogue is a chart that graphically depicts a simplified version of their supply-chain, showing at each stage the effects of the appropriate certification or claim. (To see a larger version visit and click on the Environmental Standard link) At a glance, a potential customer can see that Eco Apparel really considers every step of the process. And the fact that they take the time to illustrate their behind-the-scenes production speaks volumes about the transparency and honesty of the company. I would even recommend they take it a step further with an animated YouTube version. It would be a great educational piece for up-and-coming clothing designers and corporate buyers. Not to mention setting the bar that much higher for their competitors.
Does your company boast any eco-certification? Do your customers or staff know what they mean? Do you?

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