The melting of Greenland’s ice sheet has crossed the tipping point. Climate change alarm bells are blaring louder than ever before. It is urgent and essential that we change the way we treat the planet, and one way to do that is to support brands that follow the same ethos. Here’s your shopping guide to a responsible life with sustainable brands. By Shrimayee Thakur
Walk The Talk With The Right Footwear
What better way to reduce your carbon footprint than to walk in sustainable shoes that are made by brands doing their bit for the environment and society.
A New Zealand-based brand, Allbirds uses natural, renewable materials to make the “world’s most comfortable shoe,” with shoelaces made from recycled water bottles and SweetFoam™ cushioned soles made from sugarcane. The shoes’ upper is made out of certified superfine Merino wool or TENCEL™ Lyocel, a tree fibre that helps reduce its carbon footprint.
For every pair of shoes bought, TOMS donates a pair to underprivileged kids. It also provides clean drinking water, eye care services, and safe birth kits around the globe. Its popular slip-ons are made from vegan and sustainable materials like natural hemp, organic cotton, and recycled polyester.
The idea behind a pair of VEJA shoes is “standing up with one foot in design and the other in social responsibility.” While its soles are crafted from rubber consciously harvested from the Amazon, its uppers are made from organic cotton.
ADIDAS X PARLEY
Parley and Adidas first collaborated in 2015, to create a sneaker with yarn made from recycled ocean plastic and illegal deep-sea gill nets. Today, Parley’s recycled materials are used for multiple products such as the Alphabounce+ Run and Ultraboost running sneakers, as well as outdoor shoes like the Terrex Two.
This brand’s sneakers are made out of recycled materials. The uppers are 100 per cent post-consumer recycled plastic, while the other components are made from cotton, fishing nets, rubber, and cork. Nothing New also offers $20 (INR1,500) discounts to those who send back used sneakers, which are then either refurbished and donated or disassembled so that the materials can be put back into the supply chain.
Built for the outdoors, Timberland has been practising sustainability for over a decade. In 2019, it launched the Brooklyn EK+, an Earthkeepers Edition collection, which features boots and rubber soles made from recycled tires, and lining and laces made from recycled plastic bottles.
Responsible Utilities For Keeps
Whether you like to capture your travel memories on a digital camera or on paper, these products will ensure you do so in an eco-friendly manner.
DIZAUL SOLAR CHARGER
Our tech gadgets and toys are irreplaceable, especially when we travel to foreign lands. This power bank by Dizaul allows you to keep your devices charged on the go— with clean renewable energy from the sun. The device supports phones, cameras, and tablets.
For every order above INR1,500 placed on its website, this brand of contemporary stationery plants a tree. Origin One supports communities with jobs and uses sustainably sourced materials for making its stationery items.
Bag Up With Eco-Friendly Luggage
While you explore the many wonders of our planet, ensure that your luggage takes waste out of the environment rather than adding to it.
The ECO-Nu series by Samsonite offers every type of suitcase, from carry-on to expandable wheeled suitcases, all of which are created using Recyclex polyester fabric, which is made out of recycled plastic bottles. It’s durable and comes in three colours and four sizes.
Craghoppers makes anti-theft carry-on suitcases from recycled materials and uses yarns that have been sourced from suppliers certified by the Global Recycled Standard (GRS). They are also members of Bluesign, a globally recognised standard that ensures their materials are manufactured using kinder dye-stuff and less water with the least amount of harmful chemicals possible.
This is the world’s first company to offer lightweight, waterproof, and stylish backpacks made of recycled ocean plastic. The brand runs clean-up activities in Indonesia, in conjunction with local fishermen, who pick up ocean waste while fishing that is then turned into yarn for the bags.
This clothing company is almost as famous for its environmental activism as it is for its high-quality activewear and bags, made out of recycled material. It also donates a percentage of its profit to environmental issues and gives grants to organisations that work towards lasting change.
This brand offers a wide range of bags made from recycled material including wheeled luggage and backpacks. An in-house repair centre helps prolong the lifespan of the products. Eagle Creek also supports many conservation initiatives to support ecosystems, along with funds that support cultural and natural resources in the tourism industry
Home Decor For Your Very-Own Green Space
Choose Indian brands that are going the extra mile to make sure our homes look beautiful without hurting their surroundings.
Aakriti Kumar, the founder of Differniture, uses wood from shipping crates, fallen trees, and old ﬂoor-boards to create beautiful furniture. To reduce wastage, she uses layered designs or creates a new piece from leftover material. She also uses polishes, oils, and waxes made from natural ingredients to enhance the wood grain.
Using leftover materials from the silk sari industry, Ishrat Sahgal’s design house, Mishcat Co, weaves beautiful carpets and dhurries. The label also employs artisans from rural areas of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Each design carries its own quirks, arising from the type of yarn and the artisan’s style.
The brand’s unique lamps are handcrafted from sustainable materials, such as paper made out of agricultural waste like banana and lokta ﬁbre. Oorjaa has also developed a new material that looks and feels like concrete but is created using stone dust and ﬁbre waste.
THE SECOND WIND
The brand upcycles discarded materials, like headboards and cribs, to create new furniture pieces, thus giving them a second life.
Make A Statement With Sustainable Fashion
The fashion industry is notorious for producing large amounts of waste and harming the environment with by-products. Now, some responsible brands are working to change all that.
This US-based activewear brand creates every item using recycled materials. Their most popular products include compressive leggings and bras—often worn by frequent travellers to prevent vein diseases. These are made from post-consumer plastic water bottles. Their tops and tees are made of cupro, a fibre that’s created using waste from the cotton industry. All of their fabrics are made in a zero-waste, zero-emission facility in Taiwan and then sent to their SA8000-certified facility in Hanoi, which guarantees safe working conditions and fair wages.
Eileen Fisher debuted her eco-friendly initiative, Green Eileen in 2009, and has a “full lifecycle” approach to clothing—from responsibly sourced and recycled fibers, to eco-friendly dyes and finishes, to ethics during the production process, and finally repairs and waste management at the end of the cycle. Under its Renew programme, the brand buys back, repairs, and resells its own clothing. If the clothes are damaged, they are turned into entirely new designs.
In 2019, Ralph Lauren unveiled a new strategy, under which it aims to use 100 per cent sustainably sourced materials such as cotton, polyester, and viscose by 2025, eliminate harmful chemicals, and incorporate 170 million recycled plastic bottles in its products and packaging. To this end, it launched Earth Polo, a version of its iconic polo shirt made from recycled plastic bottles and dyed with a zero-water process.
Since its inception in 1991, People Tree’s goal has stayed the same—to create clothes that adhere to the highest standards of sustainable Fair Trade fashion. Its wide range, from tops to undergarments, sleepwear, and activewear, is made of materials like organic cotton, Tencel lyocell, and eco-friendly dyes, with traditional handicraft techniques.
This Indian brand strives to reverse the trend of fast fashion. Using fabrics that come from waste at manufacturing units and export houses, their garments are handcrafted in collaboration with fair unit wages or social enterprises. The waste from this process is shredded and converted into textured fabrics that are used in bags and accessories. Any pieces left are used to make paper.
11.11 / ELEVEN ELEVEN
Their garments are made with 100 per cent khadi and 100 per cent natural dyes from plant sources such as barks, leaves, petals, roots, berries, and wood, ensuring that the dyes retain their true colours over time. The brand’s practices support local communities as well.
At the core of époque évolution’s origin is the belief that one wardrobe can do it all. Their chic collection is made using only responsibly sourced, upcycled deadstock and post-consumer recycled fibres that don’t need to be dry-cleaned. Their range is perfect for travel due to their versatility, which allows you to keep your bags light, and the fact that they don’t wrinkle easily.
Save The Earth As You Pamper Your Skin
While maintaining skincare and beauty routines on trips is important, these products tend to take up a lot of luggage space and can lead to harmful waste-generation. But some brands have come up with solutions.
Ninety per cent of packaging used for Lush products is recycled, including PCR plastic. Some products, like the bath bomb and ocean-inspired shampoo in its ‘naked’ line, come with no packaging. The brand also offers shampoo bars, which are easier to carry and don’t need plastic bottles.
The brand offers an array of face, hair, and body products using biodegradable formulas and recyclable materials, including reef-safe sun protection.
The Argan Project’s sustainably sourced, organic argan oil contains no added fragrances or parabens and soothes hair, skin, and nails. In addition to its cosmetic benefits, every purchase contributes to the economic empowerment of rural Berber women in Morocco.
The brand helps out with initiatives like re-plantation, orchard development, and ecology protection, apart from using sustainable manufacturing methods. If you return any three product containers, the brand gifts you a 50-ml Apricot Kernel Oil on your next online purchase of over INR1,500.
The brand‘s 18-in-1 organic and fair trade soaps can be used as body wash, shampoo, laundry detergent, and more. Although they are packaged in plastic, it is a 100 per cent post-consumer recycled plastic, and the multipurpose property of the product reduces the need to pack multiple bottles.
Products are sustainably sourced, come with 100 per cent post-consumer recycled PET packaging, and micellar technology to remove oil build-up leading to fewer hair washes. The label has also partnered with Charity: Water, an organisation that strives to provide clean water to communities in India, Nepal, Madagascar, and Ethiopia.
L’OCCITANE EN PROVENCE
L’Occitane en Provence not only makes sure their products are made with sustainable resources, but they also sell them in refill packs that cut down on plastic waste. This year, they announced a major initiative in their commitment to the environment by signing a multi-year supply agreement with Loop Industries to replace all plastic packaging with a 100 per cent sustainable PET alternative.