The Race For Sustainability

As brands continue the journey to try to become more sustainable than ever, the world attempts to withstand the amount of pollution that accumulates daily. In a more positive light, many companies are making more efforts to reduce global warming. So, who are the top five sustainable brands of 2021? 

Top Five Sustainable Brands This Year

1. Lush

UK cosmetic brand Lush was founded in the 90s and has pushed for sustainability through its limited packaging, materials and waste management. Lush states that around half of their products can be purchased with no packaging, meaning that the 950 stores globally save a monumental amount of plastic or paper packaging from being used. The packaging and gift wrapping that is used in Lush stores is made with 90% recycled materials that are completely recyclable, compostable or can be returned back to the shop to be recycled by Lush. Many products that are made by Lush are solid soaps, bath and shower products in order to save water and plastic. Lush claim that shampoo bars have saved almost 6 million plastic bottles from being used, a terrific win for the fight against plastic bottles. This brand for sure reaches our list of top five sustainable brands of 2021!

2. TOMS

TOMS is a not-for-profit brand that sells a range of products such as shoes, eyewear and handbags. TOMS use 80% recycled materials in its packaging and the other 20% is from sustainably sourced forests. This brand has made a conscious effort to be more environmentally friendly and help people's lives at the same time. TOMS holds a certification that ‘meets the highest standards of social and environmental impact’. TOMS commits that one-third of profits go towards helping local communities and organisations. This brand proves that environmental responsibility is not the only part to play and sets a high standard for other businesses. Supporting individuals in the community can be seen as an equally brilliant way to help the planet. Future plans for TOMS include using 100% sustainable cotton by aims to develop an end-of-life program for their shoes to reduce waste.   

3. Patagonia

Patagonia’s environmental impact currently uses 80% renewable energy globally and 100% renewable energy in the US. Patagonia is gearing towards eventually using 100% recycled raw materials and hopes to be carbon neutral by 2025. Currently, 65% of textiles used in this season of garments are from recycled sources, according to their website, yet this figure should continue to rise. Patagonia, the outdoor clothing and accessories brand is involved with environmental and social responsibility programs to ensure that they are providing products and their workers a full and fair amount of care and support. Just over 80% of Patagonia products are Fair Trade Certified, this ensures that employees are paid a decent wage despite not directly owning any factories themselves. Patagonia states on their website: “Through our partnership with Fair Trade USA, Patagonia has been making Fair Trade clothing since 2014… To date, Patagonia’s Fair Trade program has impacted more than 72,000 workers in 10 countries around the globe.”

4. Nike

The world-renowned sports and shoewear brand Nike has partnered with different organisations in a bid to support more sustainable projects. One project included planting one million trees in Brazil and Ethiopia to fight deforestation. According to the BBC (2019), between 2014 and 2018, on average, trees that would fill the size of the UK was lost each year. The BBC also reference a report that states the amount of CO2 emissions produced by the EU is around the same amount of carbon emissions that have been created as a result of trees being cut down globally, most of which are in tropical areas. Trees help to capture carbon dioxide, therefore, trees are vital. Nike is not only aiming to help deforestation but aims to use more sustainable materials such as using recycled nylon, recycled polyester and has been using 100% certified organic cotton as of 2020.

5. IKEA

IKEA is probably the world's most recognisable furniture and homeware business, but how are have they become one of the top sustainable brands of 2021?  IKEA's product range uses more than 60% renewable materials and over 10% contains recycled materials. However, in 2019, almost half a million products were either repurposed or recycled into new products and almost 40 million products have been resold. A brilliant way to reduce the amount of waste.  In their environmental-friendly plans for the future, IKEA is currently experimenting with ideas like furniture renting, helping customers repair, buy-back initiatives and re-selling furniture. In the next decade, IKEA is aiming to only sell products that are can be able to be recycled, remanufactured/refurbished and reused. Supporting a 'circular economy' is the way forward for products to ensure that items can be re-used and re-purposed beyond singular use.   

Lessons to Learn From The Top Five Sustainable Brands

There are many ways that brands can become more environmentally friendly and eco-conscious. The first step is to be aware of what can be done and what is possible. Our environment will thrive if the brands and consumers work together to build a more sustainable world. Brands that lead the way into sustainability are the future and set a good example for other brands to follow to take sustainable steps and continue to make the public aware of these changes. Lastly, with a bit of research behind a brand's ethics and practices, consumers able to make well-informed decisions about the brands and products they wish to support.