Businesses that Prioritize Sustainability

The climate crisis is shedding light on more eco-friendly businesses

Photo courtesy of Pexels.

Every day, the Earth is affected by the climate crisis. “Freak” weather patterns including melting ice caps, endless forest fires, hurricanes, storms, blizzards, floods, are only the beginning of the repercussions we are bound to face. Since 1988, 100 companies have been responsible for at least 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, and thus, our current climate crisis. 

Climate-related doom can feel paralyzing. However, the thought of how massive the implications of our climate becoming uninhabitable in the near future should push us into rash action, rather than fear. There is still hope to turn things around for the better. Renewable sources of energy make up only 18% of energy consumption across the globe. That can increase if there’s enough pressure put on governments and businesses globally to enact change.

The climate crisis is still a heated political debate across America. Calls for the Green New Deal by notable politicians Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders have pushed for government officials to prioritize sustainability and climate-related justice. Not only does the resolution promote sustainability, but it would increase accessibility to jobs for working class people while working on the climate crisis. Sunrise Movement, a non-profit activism organization, has revolutionized community organizing on small and large scales by gathering groups of young people and calling them into action. They have hubs in almost every major city in the U.S., and are rapidly expanding. One of their more integral aspects of Sunrise is their ”Good Jobs for All” national campaign. Good jobs for all includes promoting businesses that prioritize sustainability.

Ways that individuals can contribute to help slow the climate crisis other than actively protesting through organizations like Sunrise is through our consumption of goods. Here are some brands that we believe prioritize sustainability across the fashion and food industries.

The clothing industry and fast-fashion

It takes around 3,781 liters of water to fabricate a pair of jeans, from cotton production all the way to the product hitting the shelves at the store or warehouse. Photo courtesy of Pexels.

Fast-fashion is another huge contributor to the climate crisis. On average, Americans generate about 75 pounds of textile waste per year. Not only are fast-fashion companies a climate issue, but a human rights issue -- people across the world are working in inhumane conditions for top brands like Nike, Zara, Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, Shein, and are paid unlivable wages.

However, there’s been debate on whether people should shop second-hand or continue to contribute to fast-fashion due to cheap prices and easy accessibility. Plus-size women and non-binary people have a special dilemma in which it’s difficult to find clothes that are trendy and in their sizes. Our list hopefully will provide people with diverse options that are relatively affordable and accessible. Most brands on this list are Certified B Corporations, which meet the highest verified standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. 

Tragic Beautiful

This ethical goth clothing, accessory, lifestyle, and beauty company is based in Australia. They have a range of clothes for different body types, in all means of gothic style imaginable. Think summer, winter, cottage, cozy, and corp goth, they have it all. Tragic Beautiful recently partnered with Carbon Neutral Australia to become more carbon neutral in 2021. Tragic Beautiful has also been actively working to reduce their plastic consumption in their packing process, and have introduced biodegradable substitutes, such as eco-pure bubble wrap. Each of their warehouses have ethical working conditions and fair wages for all workers. To check out their products, visit their website

Everlane

Their sustainability goals and accountability are some of the most inspiring initiates that Everlane preaches. They sell everyday clothes, athletic wear, shoes, accessories, denim products and swimwear at relatively affordable prices. The clothing supply chain doesn't use any virgin plastics in their products, offices, stores, and packaging as of 2021. Any fabric in their apparel, structural components, and footwear or accessories no longer use virgin plastic. Everlane is moving all of their cotton to certified organic by 2023, eliminating toxic pesticides and other chemicals that harm the planet from cotton farming. They use certified sustainable materials, are bluesign® Systems Partner, use GOTS Organic Cotton, are Cradle To Cradle Gold Certified, and more

We Are We Wear 

Prioritising a more sustainable approach to fashion, We Are We Wear is a sustainable fashion company based in the United Kingdom that uses fabrics made out of unwanted waste materials. Think fishing nets, industrial plastics, and fabric scraps that are usually thrown out. The company's Founders are black women entrepreneurs and active advocates for body positivity. The company sells intimates, swimwear, and other feminine products in sizes ranging from extra small to 3XL. Their fabrics are guaranteed sustainable under the Global Recycled Standard and their swimwear are made from Italian techno fabric. They pledge to be fully sustainable by 2023, and all of their factories have good working conditions and fair wages. 

Levi’s 

One of the classic trailblazers of the denim industry, Levi's has committed itself to sustainable fashion and renewable energy. Denim is one of the least sustainable fashion items due to the amount of water used. However, the brand is now using Cottonized Hemp, Levi’s® WellThread, Water<Less® technology and other production techniques to offset its environmental impact. 4.2 billion liters of water have been saved since they introduced Water<Less® in 2011. 75% of their cotton is from sustainable sources. 65% of our products are currently made in factories that run our Worker Well-being programs. They pledges to use 100% sustainably sourced cotton, and 100% renewable energy in owned & operated facilities by 2025, promotes purchase of secondhand products, and posts annual sustainability updates

Farmland management, food, and ethical processing  

Consumption-based emissions are calculated by combining transportation, stock variation and international trade. Photo courtesy of Pexels.

A huge contributor to the climate crisis is in how our food is farmed, processed, and packaged. Animal-based foods produce around two times as much greenhouse emissions as plant based options, according to a recent nature food study. The top contributors to emissions were beef production, cow milk, pork, and chicken. Of plant-based emissions, rice is the largest. Farmland management and land-use is the largest contributor.

Now, we don’t want to be the people to push a vegan agenda on anyone, however, the numbers don’t lie -- living a primarily plant-based diet is better for the environment. We don’t put individuals to blame for this issue, but rather the companies that contribute to the climate crisis by continuing to practice unethically. A good way to get back at these companies is to purchase from more ethically-sourced brands, if you’re able to afford it. Check out a few essentials: 

Beyond Meat 

Beyond Meat’s mission is to provide vegan and gluten free meat alternatives for those looking to shift from animal products to a plant-based diet. Beyond Burgers generate 90% fewer Greenhouse Gas Emissions than their beef and poultry counterparts. Their product also uses significantly less water, land and energy, thus reinforcing it’s sustainability. They also provide product details, recipes, and resources on their website. You can find their products at most local grocery stores using their store locator

Miyoko's Kitchen

Miyoko’s Kitchen, a vegan butter and cheese manufacturer, has been B Corp certified since June 2019. Located primarily in Petaluma, California, their creamery started with four employees in Miyoko’s home kitchen. They aim to start global distribution of their ‘cheese’ wheels soon, and want to change perceptions of vegan food across the globe. They are also a founding member of the Plant Based Foods Association. You can find their products at select grocery locations via their store locator, or purchase directly from their website.

BLK & Bold Specialty Beverages

A Black-owned sustainable business, BLK & Bold prioritizes quality over all. The business, located in Des Moines, Iowa, are known for their specialty coffees, teas, and wholesaling. They believe in quality, convenience, community and diversity, and hope to spread these ideals through their business. One of their missions is to make domestic social impact by contributing 5% of their profits to support at-risk youth on a local and national scale, and they have been B Corp Certified since July 2020. You can find their products at select grocery locations via their store locator, or purchase directly from their website, linked here

Triple Bottom Brewing

A craft brewery and taproom, Triple Bottom Brewing has recently gained their B Corp Certification in April 2021. The beverage manufacturer preaches three main principles: beer, people, and the planet. By crafting flavorful and unique beers, they hope to have a variety for all to enjoy. The company tracks how much water, gas, and electricity they use, which is only sourced from wind power produced in Pennsylvania. Their trash is sorted and recycled, and any natural waste is composted. You can purchase some of their beer on their website.

By using these brands when possible, actively getting involved in climate-related action and justice, or simply spreading the word about these issues can make a difference. The clock is ticking, the alarm has been ringing, but there’s still some time left to institute change. 

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Liz Anastasiadis

Liz Anastasiadis (they/she) is a writer + journalist, book lover & vinyl collector living in Cleveland, OH.
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