H&M

H&M was the first major retailer to establish a garment collection program to reclaim used clothes. Some donated items are currently recycled into yarn for new garments. H&M hopes to soon make clothing with 100-per-cent-recycled yarn.

In collaboration with World Wildlife Fund, H&M is also reducing water consumption throughout its supply chain, from better cotton-growing practices to water-savvy laundry instructions on all products. H&M’s Conscious collection, identified with green hang tags, offers customers easy-to-spot sustainable and socially responsible garments. Find out more about H&M's sustainability achievements and processes in their annual sustainability report

 

Patagonia

Patagonia has used polyester fleece recycled from PET bottles since 1993. As of 2014, all of their down products use 100-percent-traceable down from humane farms. Patagonia’s Fair Trade Certified collection, also introduced in 2014, ensures premium wages for garment workers and their Footprint Chronicles offer transparency about their entire supply chain. Patagonia’s Worn Wear program and iFixit partnership also encourage repairing over discarding their garments.

 

Nike

Created so that their product creation teams can make more sustainable design choices, Nike’s Considered Design Index aims to reduce waste and toxins in Nike apparel, footwear and equipment. The Index assesses the environmental footprint of Nike products, in terms of solvent use, waste, materials and energy.

Nike is also addressing workplace conditions in its supply chain by establishing and enforcing codes of conduct and collaborating with governments, manufacturers and other stakeholders to affect industry-wide change.

 

Levi Strauss & Co.

Levi Strauss & Co. made recent headlines when CEO Chip Bergh advised consumers to never wash their jeans. Consistent with Levi’s broader sustainability initiatives, Bergh says spot cleaning is better for both the denim and the environment. 

 

Icebreaker

Among other initiatives, Icebreaker places great importance on the treatment of the merino sheep that produce wool for their products. The workers raising the free-range sheep in New Zealand’s Southern Alps follow Icebreaker’s strict welfare code. Icebreaker provides customer visibility into these practices through their Baacode program. Each garment is labelled with a code that can be used to trace the wool back to its source, allowing customers to see the sheep who produced it and the growers who raised them.

 

Eileen Fisher

Popular American women’s wear brand Eileen Fisher, available at stores across Canada, offers garments made with natural dyes and sustainable fibres such as hemp and organic linen. The company also works toward community development and fair wages throughout its supply chain.

 

Mountain Equipment Co-op

MEC produces an annual scorecard summarizing their performance in terms of the environmental and social impacts of their products and factories, as well as the well-being of workers. Categorized into five sections, the scorecard indicates whether yearly targets were achieved and what the next goals are. The summary is emailed to all members and is available for download on their website.

Kelly Drennan is the founder of Fashion Takes Action (FTA), Canada’s only non-profit organization devoted to sustainability in the fashion industry. She has received Treehugger’s Best in Green Award and been called one of the “30 most influential Canadian women to watch” by FLARE magazine.

Samantha Hui is an A\J editorial volunteer and an undergrad student in Environment and Resource Studies at the University of Waterloo.

Rachel Despres is a Publishing: Book, Magazine & Electronic student at Centennial College, and an editorial intern at A\J.

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