What do B Corporations have to do with ethical fashion?
We’re five days deep into Fashion Revolution Week, and we’ve been scooting around town putting signs in retailers’ windows, putting in our two cents on discussion panels, celebrating ethical brand launches, and getting ready for today's Change of Clothes event. Whew! It’s amazing to see our Edmonton community taking on the question #whomademyclothes - but the other question we’ve been hearing all week is… what does “ethical” mean, anyway?
We understand why. “Ethical” and “sustainable” are subjective descriptors; one person’s “fair” can mean another’s “not quite there.” Despite certifications like WRAP, Bluesign, Oeko-Tex, and the many others popping up, there is still no single industry-wide standard that can tell the average shopper what measurable steps a fashion brand has taken towards environmental and social sustainability.
This is the gap that being a B Corporation fills for us, and why we’ve become such advocates for the B Corp movement. You can read the blog post we wrote when we were first certified back in 2015 - but in short, rather than certifying individual products, B Lab (the organization behind B Corp certification) assesses entire companies and measures the actual impact of those companies’ operations on their workers, suppliers, community, and environment.
We love that B Corporations exist across industries, and that businesses of any size can apply for certification. We’re in the company of giants like Patagonia and Eileen Fisher, as well as one- or two-person startups. We also love that the B Corp community is collaborative and inclusive - it’s not about a rubber stamp, it’s about a worldwide network of businesses sharing their resources to help each other make a bigger, better collective impact.
We want more B Corps in the Canadian fashion industry. We’re currently one of three (there are 69 worldwide), but we know there are wayyyyy more clothing and accessory brands who are actively, measurably contributing to a more sustainable garment industry. We’re stronger together, and we need to show our customers that there are metrics behind our words.
So - here’s our Big Goal. By Fashion Revolution Week 2018, we want to be one of 10 Canadian fashion-industry Certified B Corporations. If you’re a brand owner, we are hereby offering ourselves as a resource, a cheerleader, and a collaborator. Seriously - we’ll hop on the phone, meet with you when we’re next in your city, Skype you through your Quick Impact Assessment - whatever you need to be brave and join a movement that we believe matters.