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As the world welcomes a new era of sustainability and consumers grow more environmentally and socially conscious, businesses too are evolving with the times; implementing ‘give back’ programs as part of their corporate social responsibility initiatives.
Whether the business plants a tree for every purchase, donates masks and PPE to health workers and hospitals, gives to environmental charities or to social movements such as Black Lives Matter, we’ve curated this comprehensive list of ethical and sustainable brands that give to good causes and deserve your attention and custom:
Buy a pair of shoes from New Zealand-American sustainable shoe brand Allbirds and the business will donate a pair to a healthcare worker – while stocks last. This is part of their ‘Better Together‘ COVID-19 pandemic pledge. So far, the brand has donated $500,000 worth of shoes to the healthcare community. You can also gift a pair of Allbirds to a healthcare worker on the frontlines at a discounted price of $60 (normally $95).
2. Amour Vert
American ethical fashion label Amour Vert known for creating wardrobe staples and lust-worthy basics in eco-friendly fabrics such as organic cotton and TENCEL, Beechwood modal, plants a tree for every t-shirt purchased through their partnership with trusted partner and environmental charity American Forests. So far, the business has planted 312,557 in North America since they opened in 2010.
Australia’s leading sustainable lifestyle and zero waste shop and e-marketplace Biome offsets the environmental impact of shipping and delivery of online parcels by donating to Greening Australia’s Reef Aid program, a project that focuses on restoring coastal wetlands and improving water quality in the Great Barrier Reef. The business also supports ongoing local projects and causes, including bushfire appeals and helping to save koalas.
Australian organic bamboo underwear brand Boody creates super comfy and affordable wardrobe basics and undergarments for the entire family. The brand is a member of 1% for the Planet, an international organization whose members contribute at least one percent of their annual sales to environmental projects focusing on the following key areas: climate, food, land, pollution, water and wildlife.
Australian eco-friendly bedding company Ettitude produces a luxurious range of responsibly-made 100% organic bamboo Lyocell bedding and loungewear – without the luxury price tag. The business also donates 1% of annual sales from its CleanBamboo lyocell bedding range to environmental organisation 1% for the Planet.
American sustainable fashion label Girlfriend Collective ethically manufactures a range of activewear from recycled materials in a factory in Vietnam that upholds high labor standards. As part of their efforts to support the Black Lives Matter movement, the brand has already donated to organisations such as Reclaim the Block, Black Visions Collective and Visit Lake Street. From now until supplies last, Girlfriend will donate 100% of the net proceeds from the Everyday GF campaign to The Loveland Foundation, The Okra Project, and the NAACP Legal & Defense Fund – at a minimum of $20,000 each.
Ethical underwear brand Hara, founded by Allie Cameron after her eye-opening trip to the developing world, produces stylish and comfy bamboo undergarments in Bali, Indonesia. The business has partnered with Environmental Justice Foundation to support projects that protect the natural environment and human health from the world’s most dangerous toxic pesticides, such as the chemicals used in the production of conventional cotton.
Canadian Certified B-Corporation KOTN ethically produces premium-quality wardrobe basics for men and women that are minimalist in design, budget-friendly and made from 100% Egyptian cotton. In addition to creating beautiful clothing, offering sustainable employment and paying living wages, the brand is on a mission to stop the cycle of child labour. Partnering with pro-literacy organizations on the ground in the Nile Delta to help improve child literacy and provide pathways to education, KOTN successfully funded and constructed its first school, and raised enough money during Black Friday sales to fund its second one.
9. Made Trade
US-based ethical homewares online marketplace Made Trade sources and curates beautifully designed, ethically-sourced goods from artisans and makers from around the globe and stocks many popular fair-trade and sustainable brands such as Nisolo, Coyuchi and Ettitude. The business also donates to environmental projects through its membership with 1% for the Planet.
Australia’s leading period underwear company Modibodi creates eco-friendly period-proof undies using eco-friendly and innovative fabrics such as bamboo and Merino wool. Its Give a Pair Program aims to provide vulnerable women dealing with domestic and family violence with Modibodi underwear. For every additional AUD$5 donated by a customer via the program, Modibodi will donate an additional pair to charity. For every ‘virtual pair’ voucher purchased, Modibodi will donate two pairs of physical underwear to women’s shelters across Australia.
Launched in 2017, Australian social enterprise Myoni produces a design-inspired reusable menstrual cup. The brand also gives back – donating 50% of profits to support initiatives that fight ‘period poverty’. One charity the business supports is Share the Dignity which helps to supply menstrual cups to vulnerable women experiencing domestic and family violence and/or homelessness in Australia and in need of sustainable menstrual products.
Founded in 2011, Nisolo creates stylish, handcrafted footwear using premium leather. Initially working with a handful of expert shoemakers, Nisolo has grown to 120 employees who are all paid living wages. The company also owns and operates a factory in Peru. The brand also gives back to the community where it manufactures its products; for every Nisolo product sold, a contribution is made to organisation Ecosphere+ to offset carbon emissions and help protect forests of the Cordillera Azul of the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest while providing sustainable livelihoods for indigenous communities in the Amazon Basin.
Danish sustainable watch brand Nordgreen produces Scandinavian-design minimalist watches for men and women. During the pandemic, the company teamed up with Fuel Them LA to increase awareness of the challenges that frontline workers and show gratitude for the work they do by delivering meals and essential products. As part of this partnership, Nordgreen will donate towards a healthy meal and a cold brew coffee that will feed a frontline worker for every watch sold. The business also invites customers to donate to one of three NGOs through their give back programs; these organisations focus on providing clean water, education and protecting rainforests.
World surfing champion Kelly Slater’s Fair Labor Associated accredited apparel brand Outerknown creates casual wear for men and women using organic, regenerative or recycled materials. The brand has partnered with non-profit organisation, Ocean Conservancy for cause marketing campaigns such as “It’s Not OK” that helps to bring awareness to environmental issues and helps raise needed funds for its conservation projects. Over the years, Outerknown has supported the 12 Days of Giving, Giving Tuesday, the Breitling x Outerknown collaboration give-back and created an advocacy tee where profits raised from sales were donated to the charity.
14. Parker Clay
Premium leather goods company Parker Clay produces high-quality, timeless handbags, travel bags and backpacks made from premium leather. Designed in California, and ethically made in Ethiopia by skilled craftspeople, Parker Clay is a socially-conscious business that aims to empower Ethiopian women. Partnering with Ethiopian NGO Ellilta Women at Risk (EWAR), an organisation that restores value to women who have been exploited through prostitution, the business goes beyond the traditional charity model, have provided skills training, created jobs within their factory and have successfully graduated over 1,000 women through their program, with 90% of women never returning to a life of pristition.
Founded by adventurer turned entrepreneur Yvon Chouinard in 1973, outdoor apparel brand Patagonia is considered by many to be a pioneer in sustainable fashion, incorporating innovative eco-friendly fibres and sourcing ethically and sustainably at a time when it wasn’t done. Chouinard went on to establish 1% for the Planet, and since 1985, Patagonia has donated one percent of its annual sales to the organisation. In total, the business has given over $89 million in cash and other donations to local and international grassroots organisations working on behalf of communities and environment.
16. Pela Case
Pela Case, the climate neutral certified company behind the world’s first 100% biodegradable plant-based phone cases is committed to giving one percent of their annual sales to environmental organisation 1% for the Planet to help fund projects that protect and preserve the environment.
17. Proof Eyewear
Founded in 2010 by three brothers, Tanner, Brooks, and Taylor Dame, Proof Eyewear pioneered the wooden style of eyewear. The brand now produces a range of eco-friendly optical frames and sunglasses handcrafted from sustainably-sourced wood, biodegradable cotton-based acetate, aluminium and reclaimed wood from skateboards. Since its launch, Proof has committed to its “Look Good, Do Good” initiative, donating a portion of each purchase to a worthy cause. Over the years the business has provided tsunami relief in Japan, child soldier rehabilitation in Africa, reforestation efforts in Haiti, donated funds to build eye clinics in India and donated to its local Idaho chapter of The Nature Conservancy to plant trees and preserve the environment.
Throughout this month, cult sustainable label Reformation will be donating a non-medical, reusable mask for every mask purchased or donated on their website. They will donate masks to the following organisations: Until We Do It, the White Mountain Apache Tribe, Los Angeles Mission Shelters and the Los Angeles LGBT Center. The business is also partnering with the City of LA to make masks for essential workers.
19. Rent The Runway
Online fashion subscription and rental service Rent The Runway gives customers a chance to hire/rent and return designer dresses and accessories. To support racial equality, the business has committed to the 15% Pledge, a non-profit organisation founded by Aurora James (founder of NYC-based footwear label Brother Vellies) that asks retailers to commit to dedicating 15% of their inventory and shelf space to Black-owned businesses.
Premium men’s activewear brand Rhone produces high-quality, highly-engineered anti-stink workout clothing, fitness apparel and athletic wear made from innovative materials such as SilverTech, a fabric designed to last the distance. The business is donating 10% of all proceeds to the Direct Relief Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organisation with mission to improve the health and lives of people threatened by disaster, disease, or poverty.
American ethical shoe brand Saola produces a stylish yet comfortable range of casual shoes for men and women, all made with eco-friendly and regenerative materials, such as recycled plastic bottle uppers, recycled Algae Foam and cork insoles and organic cotton laces. The brand is a member of 1% for the Planet and additionally donates 1% of the proceeds from every pair of shoes sold to Mwalua Wildlife Trust, a grassroots organization in Kenya that supplies sustainable water systems to wildlife communities.
Australian-owned and Australian-made brand Sukin are the makers of affordable, vegan-friendly, carbon neutral, natural skincare products. The business is also helping to protect the Great Barrier Reef by becoming a major sponsor of not-for-profit Greening Australia’s Reef Aid Program.
23. TAMGA Designs
Launched in 2014 after the founders lived in Dhaka, Bangladesh, working for the UN and other NGOs and witnessing the dark side of fast fashion, women’s sustainable fashion brand TAMGA Designs creates beautiful eco-friendly boho styles for the free-spirited wanderer. Think tropical print beach clothing, bright maxi dresses and colourful tops and skirts in eco-friendly materials including Tencel and organic cotton. The brand also gives back by actively donating to 1% for the Planet.
Pioneering period underwear brand Thinx will be donating to organisations and hospitals in and around New York City via their NYC Give Back Fund which includes non-profits such as One Fair Wage and Brooklyn Community Foundation to support folks in “their own backyard”. The business are also providing healthcare workers with free period products, and have already donated 1,200 products directly to healthcare workers in Wuhan, China. Thinx customers can also donate to provide a person in need with one menstrual cycle worth of period products at checkout.
This ethically-manufactured, direct-to-consumer, gender-neutral non-binary brand produces bras, underwear and loungewear made of natural fibres such as organic cotton. A super inclusive label, TomboyX is made for all genders, bodies, sizes and styles, and thus it comes as no surprise that the brand is committed to philanthropy, and has financially donated to causes and organisations ranging from Black Lives Matter, National Center for Lesbian Rights, Immigrant Families Together, National Center of Transgender Equality. A member of the BRANDS x BETTER coalition of brands giving back to those affected by COVID-19, the business committed to donating 2% of their proceeds to charities in April during the pandemic.
26. United By Blue
American sustainable outdoor brand and Certified B-Corporation United By Blue responsibly manufactures a range of outdoor apparel and adventure travel products made from eco-friendly fabrics such as organic cotton and recycled polyester. The brand is committed to ocean conservation; for every product purchased, United by Blue removes one pound of trash from oceans and waterways. At the time of writing, the company has removed 3,342,602 pounds of trash.
27. Vege Threads
Australian fashion label Vege Threads creates basics for everyday wear made from GOTS-certified organic cotton and other eco-fabrics such as hemp, merino wool and recycled textiles. The collections are 100% manufactured in Australia and is Ethical Clothing Australia accredited. The brand is also a member of 1% for the Planet, donating at least one percent of its annual sales to projects and causes that protect the natural environment.
LA-based sustainable athletic wear and swimwear brand Wolven fights fast fashion by offering shoppers better alternatives. Their garments are made with OEKO-TEX certified (verifying no harmful chemicals) recycled P.E.T fabric (RPET), a fabric made from recycled plastic water bottles and the fabric prints and designs are inspired by nature. Wolven are currently committing 10% of net profits to COVID-19 LA County Response Fund, a fund that provides financial and emergency relief to the city’s most vulnerable.
Disclosure: All prices are correct at time of publishing. This curated list does not fully take into account all the ethical considerations that are unique to each individual. Before making a purchase, we encourage you to do your own research paying special attention to the supply chain and your own particular set of ethics. This list also includes affiliate links. Click here to read more about our policies.
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Cover image by Nisolo.