Is Your Favorite Fashion Brand Sustainable? This App Lets You Know

With the holidays fast approaching, Good on You is helping users identify retailers that commit to ethical practices.
The Good on You app. (Photo: Facebook)
Nov 23, 2015· 1 MIN READ
TakePart editorial fellow Nicole Mormann covers a variety of topics, including social justice, entertainment, and environment.

When it comes to shopping for the holidays, it’s easy to get caught up in trying to snag the best-looking stuff before anyone else, and thinking about the ethical standards of the brands we buy might not always be at the top of the list.

With this in mind, an Australia-based nonprofit, Ethical Consumers Australia, created a free app that gives shoppers the tools they need to search the environmental, labor, and animal treatment standards of some of their favorite brands so they can make more informed purchases at retail stores.

Good on You provides users with ethical ratings on some 1,000 brands—the app lists more than 3,000 fashion brands in Australia’s 100 largest shopping centers—and gives suggestions on clothing, footwear, and accessory stores that match each shopper’s values, budget, and style.

“Many of us want to buy better, we just don’t know where to start,” said Good on You CEO Gordon Renouf in a press release. “Our app makes it easy to understand what brands are doing behind the scenes.”

The five-point ratings system for brands ranges from “Great,” “Good,” and “It’s a start” to “Not Good Enough” and “We Avoid.” The Good on You team determines the ratings based on publicly sourced information. It starts by looking at whether certifications such as Fairtrade Certification—a label that claims brand products meet ethical standards—apply to the brand as a whole or the majority of its products. From there, the team builds ratings based on information from resources including NGO brand ratings reports, independent audits, and company initiatives and public statements.

While some of the brands listed on the app are distinct to Australia, others are globally recognized fashion companies such as H&M. According to its 2014 Conscious Actions Sustainability Report, H&M documents in detail how the company is implementing sustainable practices such as an in-house recycling program, which gives customers a discount for exchanging old clothing. However, Mashable reports that the company received an “It’s a start” rating on the Good on You app for reasons including its “slow action” on labor protection and not disclosing its leather source.

Good on You plans to expand the number of brand ratings on its platform—the app now rates 30 percent of the brands listed. Because the service is free, developers are asking for funding to further the platform’s reach. Retailers with ratings of “Good” or “Great” can also pay to advertise their brand on the app.