28 May, 2021
How many times have you been confused when trying to make a sustainable choice? Is it enough that your sweater is made from recycled cashmere, even if it’s sewn by underpaid workers in Bangladesh? Or is it better to use virgin fibres from a brand that is making quantifiable progress on other sustainability issues?
The fact that sustainability can be hard to navigate is not surprising. These issues are complex. There is an inherent tension: brands want to drive purchasing behaviour and be easy and accessible to consumers, treading the line between providing the right information and not overwhelming consumers with too much detail about some of the trade-offs. And as consumers, while we increasingly look for sustainability credentials, we don’t always understand what to look for, how to factor it into our decision-making or how to prioritise different dimensions of sustainability.
Perhaps even more confusing for consumers is that increasingly, articles like this one from the Times claim to highlight “sustainable” brands and products but are rarely transparent on their criteria.
All of which means that providing consumers with the right information to make decisions is crucial. Which is why it is great to see the likes of Marie Claire launching its first Sustainability Awards with categories ranging from “best eco-friendly decorating brand” to “best sustainable underwear”. These provide a great way for experts to help guide consumers around what really matters, and for readers dive into what some of these brands are doing to be more sustainable across a whole range of different impact areas.
And with Giles as one of the judges, you can be sure that the brands will be subject to tough scrutiny!
By Marie Guérinet