Monday, June 5, 2023

The Ethos 5-Star Sustainability Ranking


What is the Ethos Sustainability Ranking?

Ethos is committed to diligent research to identify tangible sustainability measures across the luxury sector. We work to find the truth behind all of the brands and products featured on Ethos.

Our 5-star sustainability index allows us to help orient our readers toward the products with the smallest carbon footprint as well as the biggest efforts toward a more just and equitable world.

The Ethos Value Statement

At Ethos we believe a better world is possible. We’re showing up to help make our planet more sustainable, equitable, creative, and joyful. We celebrate artistry and entrepreneurship, critical thinking, and science. We demand inclusivity and respect and hold ourselves to this standard. We strive to support and elevate our global community and produce work that matters.

The Ethos Mission Statement

Ethos views sustainability within the context of culture, wellbeing, and the world we all share. It is not just about the global climate—it’s about our personal climates, too. From our health to our homes to our journeys, what we choose defines us—and our planet. Through thought-provoking relevant conversations and recommendations, Ethos is the definitive voice of sustainability.

Image courtesy Prada

The 5-Star Ranking Criteria

Each product is rated for its adherence to commitments in the following categories: Materials and Ingredients, Labor Standards, Shipping and Packaging Materials, Energy Usage, and Circularity Efforts. 

To achieve the Ethos 5-Star rating the product had to show extensive, specific systems in place in all five areas. These brands went above and beyond the basics of each category and are setting themselves apart from their competitors in sustainability efforts and social responsibility initiatives. All products must also be entirely free from animal ingredients and animal testing.

These brands are not only embracing sustainable materials and ethical practices across their selections, but they also have effectively engaged in substantial usage of renewable and clean energy, such as commitments to using all wind and solar energy, LEED-certified facilities, and are actively offsetting their carbon emissions. 

Circularity is also an important area for sustainability, criteria many brands do not yet have in place. Our 5-Star Rated Brands are participating in circular efforts such as buyback programs, recycling old products and unused materials, and creating new products with the lifecycle in mind. 

Fabrics/ Ingredients

Tier 1: Recycled plastic or polyester; mostly organic
Tier 2: Organic cotton, hemp, linen; no virgin plastic or polyester
Tier 3: At least a portion is regenerated cotton, hemp, linen, etc., mixed with organic natural fibers
-Certifications considerations: GOTS organic certified, OEKO-TEX® certified, Cradle to Cradle Certified, Better Cotton Initiative


Tier 1: Safe labor minimums and fair pay minimums
Tier 2: Works mostly with Fair Trade certified factories
Tier 3: Fair Trade certified or artisan-made
-Certification considerations: Fair Trade Certified, B Corp Status, Fairtrade Certified

Shipping/ Packaging Materials

Tier 1: Not specified
Tier 2: Ships in some recycled or recyclable and biodegradable packages 
Tier 3: Ships in all recycled or recyclable and biodegradable packages 

Energy Use

Tier 1: Standard factory
Tier 2: Uses some measures: LEED, carbon offsetting, etc
Tier 3: Above and beyond: solar panels, LEED, carbon offsetting, renewable energy efforts
Certification considerations: LEED certification

Circular Efforts

Tier 1: No known circular lifecycle in place
Tier 2: Uses regenerated/recycled materials to keep out of landfills
Tier 3: Has buyback and recycling program initiated (or willingly works with resale companies), or uses natural fibers that biodegrade, contributes to reforestation, has refillable bottles
Certification considerations: Cradle to Cradle Certified, Global Recycle Standard


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