What Does Eco-Friendly Mean?
The term eco-friendly is thrown around a lot lately. Most of the time, you can find it printed on just about anything in the consumer market.
So, ust a quick Google search of “eco-friendly products” from our team turned up hits on such a mind-blowing range of products we had to laugh out loud a little bit. An eco-friendly tissue dispenser box? Or how about an eco-friendly reusable q-tip swab?
Perhaps the most mind-blowingly ridiculous item we found was an overabundance of brands selling “eco-totes.” So, is it really that sustainable to manufacture and ship whole products that are harmful to the environment, just so their owner can proclaim themselves as eco-friendly to the world?
After scrolling pages and pages of products, the words “eco-friendly” start to yield to that regrettable semantic satiation. They completely lose any and all meaning by the time your finally ready to invest in a more sustainable lifestyle.
This all begs the question: what does “eco-friendly” actually mean? Sadly we’re here to tell you that there’s nothing scientific about this term. Also, it’s pretty much a made up slogan by advertisers.
So, major corporations use this to grab your attention. As a result, you invest more money in their product than the regular non “eco-friendly” brand.
What does Eco-Friendly Mean?
We’re here to give you our special definition of “eco-friendly.” We want to help you cut through the confusing advertising jargon. So, we take terms like this very seriously. Therefore, we need to return to the root word that gets glossed over on product advertisements.
the branch of biology dealing with the relations and interactions between organisms and their environment, including other organisms.
By definition, ecology is a branch of science that studies the relationships between organisms and their evironment. By our definition, that would include our relationship with other humans and how to create stronger human health.
So, in order to be truly eco-friendly we have to be conscious consumers support systems that contribute to quality of life and human rights. Quality of life includes having clean air to breathe and fresh water to drink. Also, it includes a living wage that supports families and communities.
Moreover, we believe that we are not advancing human rights and quality of life for workers around the globe if we’re simultaneously contributing to waste, and vice versa. Supporting a sustainable brand or initiative means that it also needs to be impacting real people, not just the clout of the manufacturer.
How to Become Eco-Friendly
Research and Vet Brands’ Human Rights Records
Organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign and the Black In Fashion Council produce indexes that rate companies based on their rights records for the LGBTQ+ and the Black communities respectively.
The Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB) has produced extensive reports on 50 of the worlds largest apparel companies, rating them in areas of embedding respect and human diligence, governance and policies, and responses to serious allegations amongst others. You can view download company reports here.
Look for Small Batch Manufacturers
One trend sweeping the fashion industry, especially with smaller companies, is small batch order companies. Also known as MQO’s (minimum quantity orders) these companies only order products for manufacturing in either small batches or per purchase. This helps eliminate waste at every step of the supply chain from manufacturing to distribution. Support both small business and companies that are environmentally responsible.
Shop Sustainable Materials
Shopping companies that manufacture with sustainable materials such as recycled materials or organic ingredients is an easy way to educate yourself about the finer points of sustainability. Entire industries have been built around organic fabrications and sustainable practices.
Be sure to cross reference these companies with their human rights record to make sure that they’re the real deal.