How Green is your Brand?

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This Thursday, H&M will be launching their new sustainable fashion line, Conscious Exclusive. The range looks to utilise eco-friendly materials in their bid to help make our world a greener place. What eco-friendly materials are these, you may ask? Well, you may be surprised to hear that this season we’ll all be wearing food waste. 🍍🍊

Yes, you heard it right! Pineapple leaves, orange peels, and apparently even algae are going to be all the rage this spring[1].

Not only is the art of converting these natural materials into floaty and ethereal dresses incredibly creative, but incentives like these go a long way towards making consumers and companies alike aware of their impact on the world. After all, the fashion industry is the 2nd largest consumer of water and one of the biggest contributors to marine pollution.[2] This is being exacerbated by the rise of fast fashion, which causes products to be produced and discarded more rapidly than ever. Therefore the efforts of H&M, a brand who have previously launched sustainable ranges and who actively promote in store recycling, should be saluted. 🙌👏

Their website quotes:

“This Conscious Collection is a wonderful step towards meeting one of our main goals – to use only 100% recycled or other sustainably-sourced materials by 2030”.[3]

H&M are not the only brand in the news as of late. Levis, a huge advocate of sustainable materials, have been experimenting with hemp as an alternative to denim. Their VP of Global Innovation spoke out at the Sustainable Fashion & Design Conference last week to denounce fast fashion mentalities that have been leading to overproduction.

And it would be hard to write a blog on sustainable fashion without mentioning Stella McCartney. Her efforts towards ethical fashion, most notably through utilisation of vegan leather, led to her being honoured at the Sustainable Fashion awards in March. She’s helped to put environmental issues on the radar for the fashion industry worldwide.

Of course, brands such as these still have their issues. Take H&M, for example – although their materials are obtained from sustainable sources, the chemicals added to prevent items from leading to ‘embarrassing’ decomposing fashion moments means that most of the materials will not be recyclable. Similarly, the ‘on trend’ nature of the brand far from discourages fast fashion mentality. Nevertheless, their efforts are most definitely a step forwards in the right direction.

So, feeling inspired by the work of others? Why not question what more your brand can be doing to encourage sustainable production?

It’s almost a win-win-win. A win of the environment, where pollution and overproduction is reduced. A win for the consumer, who is becoming increasingly conscious and sensitive to environmental issues. And a win for brands, who ensure that that they are in tune with consumer demands and so their products appeal to the mass market.

We only have to look at Google trends data for key terms like ‘vegan leather’.[4] Average search volume has grown 119% since 2014.

Similarly, searches for ‘sustainable fashion’ have grown 404% over the same time period worldwide! 💚

What’s more, consumers really do believe that brands like this can make a difference. And its not just ‘millennials’. A survey conducted by YouGov in March this year illustrated that 64% of those over 35 believe in the adoption of sustainable practices.[5]

With such strong consumer signals in favour of sustainability, brands would be foolish to ignore them. It’s most definitely got me thinking as both a marketer and a consumer. As a marketer, what more can I do to support environmentally friendly initiatives in the brands that I work with? And as a consumer, do I really need another dress, or another pair of shoes that I’ll wear once and never again? Probably not.


[1] https://inhabitat.com/hm-releases-sustainable-fashion-line-made-from-fruit-and-algae/

[2] https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3072648/un-launches-alliance-to-tackle-sustainable-fashion

[3] https://about.hm.com/en/media/news/general-news-2019/h-m-s-conscious-collection-launches-worldwide-with-a-sustainable.html

[4] https://trends.google.com/trends/explore

[5] https://today.yougov.com/topics/consumer/articles-reports/2019/03/27/levis-tops-denim-rivals-purchase-consideration

About the author

Sarah Barker
Sarah Barker

I've worked within digital marketing agencies for 4+ years, across a variety of different verticals. But without a doubt, I'm particularly passionate about retail.

My current role as Head of Biddable Media Strategy not only means that I stay on top of the latest news, but also ensures I'm continually developing new best practice and biddable media plans.

So it seemed incredibly fitting for me to start my own retail marketing blog. Not just to cover industry updates, but to include thoughts from my own experience to help get others thinking and talking about all things retail!

Sarah Barker By Sarah Barker