Brands and sustainability: Why green is the new black

The idea of going green can seem rather beige. Instead of the fast fashion, bright packaging and boundless creativity that the modern-day consumer has come to expect, the concept of reduce-reuse-recycle can feel worthy and necessary – but dull.  

Fortunately, today’s reality is considerably brighter. As designer Stella McCartney says, ‘eco’ shouldn’t be a word “that immediately conjures up images of oatmeal-coloured fashion or garments that are oversized or lacking in any sort of luxury or beauty, detailing or desirability”.

So how can brands, particularly in the notoriously wasteful fashion industry, create enticing products and provide smooth services without exploiting people or the planet?

Behind the scenes

Making an environmentally-friendly product is about more than merely avoiding plastic. It’s about what happens backstage: how much water a company uses, where it sources its materials, what it does with waste. 

And environmental principles are only one-third of the story. Indeed, many organisations start to develop an environmental strategy, only to discover how inextricably linked social, economic and environmental issues are. 

While much of this is invisible to consumers, awareness is growing. For those who want to delve deeper, L’Oreal has positioned itself as a thought leader, providing a dedicated hub about its sustainability principles and initiatives. 

Appealing goods

So are all the sustainable products which hit the shops just drab dungarees or hemp smocks?

Certainly not at Swedish fashion brand Weekday, which has recently partnered with Spanish upcycling company Recover have produced a clothing range made from 100% recycled materials

Nor at H&M, whose Conscious collection from recycled polyester and organic cotton is part of the company’s commitment to use only sustainably sourced materials by 2030.  

They’re just two of the high street names which are following the examples set by dedicated sustainable clothing brands such as Thought or Bam

In fact, all the colours of the rainbow are present – and the race is on to improve the sustainability of sequins, meaning the future should be even more sparkly. 

Weekday and H&M are also among an increasing number of shops which will accept bags of used textiles from any brand for recycling, increasing sustainability throughout the product life cycle.

Smooth services

Of course, the actual product is only part of the problem. How it gets to the customer is also key.

In the fashion world, many companies are now replacing plastic with tissue paper and cardboard. Little Mistress recently announced its mailing bags would be made from Green Polyethylene – a product made from sugar cane that’s said to be CO2 negative

And how about transport caused by all that Black Friday online shopping? 

Firstly, online shopping can be more sustainable than the bricks-and-mortar alternative, as a single delivery van can replace several customer cars.

Secondly, more brands are factoring in delivery transport to their sustainability strategy. Online giant ASOS has teamed up with all-electric delivery firm Gnewt in London, while Zara, Next and Seasalt are all investing in warehouses and collection points to minimise the length of journeys. 

Consumer reception

Such moves are winning the approval of customers, with research carried out for click-and-collect firm Doddle finding that 43% prefer retailers with sustainable delivery options.  

In fact, sustainability is a key customer concern. Some 66% of consumers say they would spend more on a product from a sustainable brand, rising to 73% among Millennials. 

Unsurprisingly, therefore, more than 90% of CEOs say that sustainability is fundamental for success and are creating job roles such as Chief Sustainability Officer to ensure their brand commits to these principles. 

So it seems the future’s bright for green fashion!

Contact Linney today

To discuss how Linney can help your brand further its sustainability principles and win customers, contact us today.