Pick any apparel brand and check their web or social presence. Statements like “our commitment to being sustainable”, “what we do to preserve our planet”, “how we are green” are found everywhere.
Here is the truth: Only very few brands actually know if they are sustainable.
The vast majority of brands don’t know if they are sustainable so why do they state that they are? Sorry, we are not buying it (nor your products).
Before the deregulation and international trade boom in the 90s, brands had their own production. They knew their products inside out, what went into them down to the component level and how the products were made in house by their own employees.
In the 90s, production was outsourced to cheaper locations, primarily to suppliers in Asia. From a business perspective reducing your production depth is a sound decision. Lean may be a term that is popular now but it has been good business philosophy for longer. But your knowledge and data should never be lean. You still need to know your products well.
If you don’t know your products then you are just a reseller of a supplier’s products (adding your logo doesn’t make it your product). While buying ready made may be a valid choice how to run your business, saying that you are sustainable is not. It’s greenwashing.
If you don’t know how your products are made, with which materials and how much the workers are paid then you can not state that you are sustainable.
Sustainable brands need to have Open Costing. If you are struggling with Open Costing reach out and start a conversation!