• Jennifer Scales

Can Sustainability Be Measured?

The Sustainability Facts Label


When you are standing in the supermarket wondering how healthy a certain food is, you can simply look at the nutrition facts label to check the most important properties.

Even though some medical assessments may change over the years, it gives you a great basis for an informed decision. For over 30 years, the transparency provided by this label made the food and beverage industry move towards healthier products.


Wouldn't it be amazing to use the same tool for sustainability in the fashion industry? Imagine that whenever you buy shoes or clothes, instead of wondering what a company means by “sustainable” or “ethical”, you could just compare some key measures, scored on a defined scale.



 

Sustainable Shopping Made Simple

 


A VISION OF TRANSPARENCY IN FASHION


Nisolo is a fashion brand with a great vision. Not only are they producing all their shoes and accessories in the most sustainable way possible, but they also want to help revolutionize the fashion industry. Therefore, they invented the Sustainability Facts Label – just like the nutrition facts label it makes it easy to see all the important information at a glance.


“To empower consumers to make better choices and hold ourselves more accountable in hopes the industry will begin to do the same, we built the most comprehensive yet digestible evaluation tool the fashion industry has seen to date, the Sustainability Facts Label. (…) Through open sourcing our label and methodology we envision the adoption of this level of transparency across the industry.”


The sustainability facts show the impact of each product on the people in the supply chain and on the planet, using 200 data points to calculate a score in 10 categories. The criteria used were developed by analyzing over 30 of the most comprehensive assessments and certifications used in the fashion industry today.



Woman hand holding an FDA-like Sustainability Label with a Nisolo shoe in the background


PEOPLE


The fashion industry is shaped by today's fast fashion culture, and it’s often the workers who pay the price. The Sustainability Facts Label looks at these 5 categories to measure the impact on people:

  1. Wages and Payment

  2. Health and Safety

  3. Worker’s Rights and Governance

  4. Gender Equality and Empowerment

  5. Healthcare and Benefits


“Ethical manufacturing” has become a buzzword in the marketing of fashion to conscious consumers, but what does it really mean? All the above criteria play a role, and even a seemingly simple question like “is the workplace safe?” cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. So, all those categories are measured on a scale of 0-100%.

If you want to find out more about the details, here is Nisolo's Sustainability Facts Label Methodology.




PLANET


Fashion has an enormous impact on the environment and greenhouse emissions. The assessment of a product's impact on the planet is best described in Nisolo’s own words:

“We envision the fashion industry regenerating the natural environment instead of depleting it. We believe Fashion can reverse its impact on climate change, and inspire other industries to do their part in saving the planet. In contrast to fast fashion’s “take, make, dispose” model, we believe in a “circular fashion” approach that takes environmental impact into account at all stages ranging from initial design, to the sourcing of materials, to manufacturing, to logistics to the final customer, to the end lifecycle of products post-consumer use, and all steps in between.”

These are the five categories for the assessment of the Sustainability Facts:

  1. Carbon Footprint

  2. Raw Material Integrity and Durability

  3. Processing and Manufacturing

  4. Packaging and Distribution

  5. Post-use Product Lifecycle


I always find it fascinating to dive into the abundance of factors that must be considered when thinking about sustainability. If you are a similar kind of geek, you may enjoy reading all about the Sustainability Facts Label Methodology.




LET’S MAKE IT HAPPEN


I had never heard about the Sustainability Facts Label before I researched Nisolo for inclusion in the askBelynda plugin. Have you?


I think it’s such a great idea that it’s worth taking the time to spread the word. They have a designated hashtag you could use if you tell people on social media: #SustainabilityFactsLabel


Since the label and the methodology are both open source, other brands are free to use them. Why not ask your favorite sustainable fashion brand to join the movement?


And until the Sustainability Facts Label has become the industry standard, you can always depend on askBelynda to find and vet the most amazing companies for your sustainable shopping experience.




 

Jennifer Scales is a photo artist and train travel enthusiast. When she is not vetting companies for askBelynda, she spreads her love for sustainable travel by capturing the beauty of nature seen through the train window.

Check out her website Landscape in Motion and follow Jennifer Scales | Fine Art on Instagram to see her artwork.

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