Luxury fashion labels that have earned Certified B Corp status are leading the industry toward more sustainable and ethical practices.
There is no shortage of label options to choose from when it comes to identifying sustainable and ethical fashion. Materials may be Fair Trade, certified organic, or OEKO-TEX, to name but a few. But what if you want all of those considerations — and more — from the brands you support? How can you be sure the brands are doing what they claim for their products, employees, and the planet? One label may be a catch-all: Certified B Corp.
What Is a Certified B Corp?
Certified B Corporations are “leaders in the global movement for an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economy,” reads the B Lab website. “Unlike other certifications for businesses, B Lab is unique in our ability to measure a company’s entire social and environmental impact.”
Outdoor apparel giant Patagonia is perhaps the best-known mission-led B Corp brand, but B Corp companies cover a range of categories: Maker’s Mark recently earned it for its bourbon, Brad Pitt’s sparkling tea brand Enroot has earned it, too. The French secondhand fashion platform The Vestiaire Collective became the first resale platform to earn it last year. A consortium of B Corp beauty brands, including Dr. Bronner’s, launched in January to help bring more sustainable and ethical business practices to the beauty industry.
For companies to qualify for the designation, they must meet high standards of “verified performance, accountability, and transparency” on factors graded by B Lab. These can include employee benefits and charitable giving, supply chain practices, and input materials.
The criteria include demonstrating high social and environmental performance and earning a B Impact Assessment score of 80 or higher. For multinational corporations, there are additional baseline requirements.
B Corps must be transparent and make information about their performance on B Lab standards publicly accessible. They also need to change corporate governance structure to be accountable to all stakeholders—not just shareholders. This can include benefit corporation status in applicable jurisdictions.
To maintain status, companies must undergo the verification process every three years.
Earning a B Corp status is no easy feat. In the last decade, more than 100,000 companies have started the process, but only about 5,000 have earned B Corp certification.
Certified B Corp fashion labels
The fashion industry has been making strides toward cleaning up its supply chains and working conditions; a number of brands have made commitments in recent years. Proposed legislation in New York may help to spur the industry toward more substantial efforts. But for now, these are some of the top labels that are walking the talk having all earned B Corp status.
1. Eileen Fisher
Eileen Fisher earned the B Corp mark all the way back in 2015 — light-years in ethical business time. Eileen Fisher brings sustainable and ethical practices into its supply chain in nearly every facet, using organic, sustainable, and recycled fibers. It’s a supporter of Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy and the American Sustainable Business Council. It also supports women in the environmental justice movement with a grant program.
French fashion house Chloé became a Certified B Corp in 2021 and the first luxury brand to earn the mark. After Gabriela Hearst joined as creative director in 2020, the label developed a sustainability board, increased its partnership with the World Fair Trade Organization, and increased its use of sustainable materials throughout recent collections.
“It is our strong belief that we need to take full accountability for the impact we have on people and planet, injecting purpose across everything we do, transforming how we do business and actively participating to build a better world,” Chloé CEO, Riccardo Bellini, said in a statement last year.
“B Corp offers us a powerful framework to accelerate and guide this transformation. We are proud of this achievement and I am thankful to the many people in our company that worked hard to make it possible during more than 18 months. By becoming B Corp today, we reinforce our commitment to continuously challenging ourselves to use our brand and our business as a force for good,” Bellini said.
3. Good American
Launched by Khloé Kardashian and Emma Grede in 2016, the eco denim label Good American is known for its size inclusivity. It earned B Corp status in October 2021.
“Since day one, we’ve believed in focusing our efforts on what will make the biggest impact for our community, our business and the planet,” the company said in a statement. “That’s why we worked hard AF to get B Corporation Certified.”
All of its denim is made with either organic or recycled cotton, and its washes use a low chemical eco-process. A portion of the proceeds from all Good American sales goes to Step Up, a charitable organization that “helps girls to fulfill their potential.”
In December 2021, Aera became the first luxury footwear label to achieve B Corp status.
“When we first founded Aera in 2019, we challenged ourselves to create a footwear brand that sets a new standard by proving that luxury design and quality do not have to be compromised in the name of sustainability,” Tina Bhojwani, co-founder and CEO of Aera, said in a statement.
Aera uses sustainable and recycled vegan materials in its shoes and offsets its environmental impact by 110 percent.
“In building Aera, we’ve been methodical in our approach, measuring every environmental and social impact. Becoming a B Corporation is a key part of our journey in producing luxury vegan footwear that’s manufactured with a sense of responsibility for human, animal and environmental welfare,” Bhojwani said.
5. Prota Fiori
Earning its B Corp status earlier this month, Italian footwear brand Prota Fiori is committed to sustainability and craftsmanship. Its vegan shoes are all made with vegan leather, much of it from food waste like apple peels or grape skin. It sources locally and ensures all manufacturing happens in Italy.
“My mission is to create an authentic sustainable luxury brand where accountability and expectations are met beyond our product,” founder Jennifer Stucko said of the announcement. “I set out on the challenge to do just that by pursuing Certified B Corporation status, hoping to set the trend for accountability in the fashion industry.”
French footwear brand Veja started out in 2005 on the right foot, committed to quality and supporting small growers in Brazil.
The label earned its B Corp status in 2015 and it’s been making strides ever since, fully transparent across all stages of production, including working with small-scale producers, and paying higher prices for rubber harvested responsibly from the Amazon rainforest.
Veja’s commitment to quality footwear has earned it high-profile fans including Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle, and Emma Watson.
7. The House of LR&C
Founded by singer Ciara and her husband, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, and Christine Day, who serves as CEO, LR&C is actually three brands: Good Man, Human Nation, and Lita By Ciara.
A newcomer to the fashion world, the House of LR&C has moved swiftly, opening its first brick-and-mortar store and earning B Corp status since launching in the middle of a pandemic in 2020. Sustainable, ethical fashion has been a guiding principle, with the goals of making fashion more inclusive and more participatory.
“Since inception sustainability and being a force for good have always been a core component of The House’s foundation, and we’re committed to holding ourselves transparently accountable so our customers don’t have to choose between fashion and responsibility,” Day said in a statement about the company’s B Corp status.
Ganni recently earned its B Corp status but set a new bar as the luxury label with the highest B Corp score. Its efforts are impressive; in 2020, the Danish label launched a 44-goals-driven Responsibility Game Plan focused on People, Planet, Product, and Prosperity. It has removed unsustainable materials including lambskin and cow leather and has committed to showcasing new sustainable fibers including those made from captured C02.
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