Sustainability Communications (Part 3) – 5 Companies Getting it Right

As sustainability communications specialists, we see a lot (A LOT) of green washing out there.

Just as sustainability has been gaining popularity amongst consumers, companies have increasingly started to use it to window dress feel-good marketing campaigns. All whilst their claims far outweigh their actual sustainability initiatives. This means a lot of sustainability marketing out there is false or exaggerated.

Instead of focusing on what many companies are doing wrong, we thought to take a moment to appreciate brands who are getting their sustainability communications right. Those who are holding sustainability at their core, being as transparent as possible with their customers as well as challenging themselves to higher standards of sustainability.

Here are five companies we believe are getting it right (as far as we can tell):

1.) Organic Basics

Created in 2015, Organic Basics is a clothing company based in Copenhagen that is dedicated to creating sustainable, better made basics for both men and women in an industry that is riddled with fast fashion that harms the environment.

We’re inspired by Organic Basics’ determination to make a difference in an industry that is well-known for its harmful impact on the environment. They are transparent in communicating their story and the workings of their business, as well as inspiring their customers to be more eco-conscious in how they care for their garments.

On their website, Organic Basics explain how they have placed sustainability at the centre of everything they do, from better fabrics and factories, to teaching consumers to wash smarter and the story of why they exist. They use organic cotton to make their garments, and explain to consumers that while organic cotton is a step in the right direction when it comes to sustainable fabric, it is still classified as a class B fibre because it requires more land and water than other natural fibres to grow, and thus they are striving towards a better goal in sourcing even more sustainable fibre for their clothing line.

We love: Organic Basics’ dedication to detailed and transparent information about every fabric and factory used in the making of their products, as well as some of the less sustainable aspects of their business, i.e. packaging.

2.) The Joinery

The Joinery is a sustainable lifestyle brand based in Cape Town, South Africa. Working with local artisans and sewing cooperatives in and around the townships of Cape Town, the Joinery is committed to designing and producing sustainable products made from responsible materials, and are passionate about making a difference in the fashion industry while remaining transparent in their workings. Using eco fabrics and fibres that are grown without the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilisers, as well as conceptualising responsible fabrics made from 100% recycled plastic bottles, The Joinery prove that you can produce fashion collections with little impact on the environment.

The Joinery values community in their way of doing business, and believe that through working in collaboration with all key stakeholders in the production process, they can create products that are not only environmentally responsible, but also aid community empowerment through employment.

The Joinery have taken to their social media, particularly Instagram, to tell the stories of their workers and suppliers, as well as sharing information about the positive role that their products play in preserving the environment and reducing the impact that their products have on the planet.

We love: That the Joinery’s products act as pieces of messaging in themself as well as their take on profiling the individuals behind the products they sell. #whomadeyourclothes

3.) Nourish’d

Nourish’d is a cafe and juicery based in Cape Town, Western Cape that believe in running their cafe’s the sustainable, natural way. Their philosophy of living in harmony with nature is reflected in their menu that changes with the seasons. Why? Because they believe that if people start following the natural rhythms of life, they will begin noticing positive changes in their bodies, mind and spirits.

Nourish’d strive to keep their supply chain transparent and ethical by sourcing produce from local farmers when possible, and hope to serve more than just deliciously wholesome food, but also educate and encourage a growing community of conscious individuals that are seeking to live a healthier lifestyle that benefits themselves and the planet equally.

Take a look at some of the ways they communicate conscious, healthy living with their Instagram followers, as well as addressing current environmental crises that affect South Africa, such as the current landfill crisis where we are running out of space to dump our waste, as well as many recyclable items ending up in landfill. It’s no wonder Nourish’d have decided to operate as a low waste cafe!

We love: That the concept of wellness extends to sustainable and conscious living. This can be seen in their blog posts, their Instagram page and even messaging inside the restaurants.

4.) Patagonia

Patagonia, a California based clothing company, was created by a group of climbers and surfers that value minimal style that’s both functional and simple. The brand’s mission statement communicates their purpose of providing customers with excellent quality products that cause no unnecessary harm while simultaneously utilising business to inspire and implement solutions that tackle the environmental crisis.

Patagonia are serious about reducing their impact on the planet, and are fully aware of the negative effects that the fashion industry has on the environment, which is why they have committed to reducing their environmental footprint by using recycled polyester in their clothes as well as organic cotton. Through being completely transparent in their communications, Patagonia are honest with the public about the effect their business has on the environment, and constantly assess their production line for areas of improvement.

We love: Patagonia’s anti-consumerist advertising and communications, encouraging people to buy less, not only better.

Patagonia

5.) Eco Age

Eco-Age is a London based sustainability and communications agency that are based on the principle of assisting brands understand how they can add sustainability to their existing brand strategy, whilst simultaneously meeting ethical business standards and sound corporate behaviours. They help brands showcase their commitments to ethical social and environmental behaviour in both their internal and external communications.

Eco Age go beyond simply helping brands communicate what they’re doing right in terms of sustainability. They work alongside businesses to help them develop strategies that address both environmental and social needs, as well as assess supply chains to ensure social justice, corporate accountability and environmental stewardship is achieved.

We love: How Eco Age has become a resource hub for all things relating to a sustainable lifestyle with an inclusion on issues of social justice – which we believe cannot separate from environmentalism.

Eco Age

That concludes our three part series on sustainability communications! We hope that this has helped you gauge a better understanding of what it entails, and the various forms it can take.

If this is something that has sparked your interest for your brand, business or personal venture, do not hesitate to get in touch with us, we would love to walk your journey with you! Simply email us on hello@transparenci.co.za and we will assist where we can.

Enjoyed this blog? Check out the other parts of this series:

References

Eco-Age. (2018). Eco-Age. [online] Available at: https://www.eco-age.com/ [Accessed 15 Nov. 2018].

Nourish’d. (2018). Home – Nourish’d. [online] Available at: https://nourishd.co.za/ [Accessed 15 Nov. 2018].

Organic Basics. (n.d.). Our Story I Organic Basics. [online] Available at: https://organicbasics.com/pages/our-story [Accessed 15 Nov. 2018].

Patagonia. (2018). Patagonia’s Mission Statement. [online] Available at: https://www.patagonia.com/company-info.html [Accessed 15 Nov. 2018].

The Joinery. (2018). Home – The Joinery. [online] Available at: https://thejoinery.co.za/ [Accessed 15 Nov. 2018].