Brands We Love: Sustainability, Together
At Kengos, we take sustainability to another level, thinking not only about our plant-based materials from the top of the supply chain, but also near the bottom at our footwear’s end of life. Our goal is to minimize the environmental impact of our groundbreaking shoes so that they break down easily (and sustainably) whenever you’re ready to part ways with them (which should take quite a while!). It’s a tall task, but we’re more than up for the challenge.
And we’re not alone!
The best part is that we’re not alone on this journey to better the planet. Many other companies, not only in the fashion industry, are also making significant strides towards improving their own sustainability practices. Because we know “it takes a village,” we want to take a moment to celebrate some of these brands, too. At the end of the day, it’s bigger than just us.
While certainly not an exhaustive list, below are a few innovative companies that we think deserve a shoutout for their dedication towards making the world a better place to live in. Hopefully in reading about some of the work these brands are up to, you can find inspiration to have your own bias for action. Because as we say every day at Kengos, progress starts now.
Like Kengos, Again&Again was born out of Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, so we have to tip the cap to our fellow Wildcats! The apparel startup makes sustainable denim jeans using lyocell fabric from eucalyptus trees, which requires less water and land consumption than a standard cotton jean.
The company’s “inJEANious” solution (see what they did there?) is that the materials they use allow their jeans to be more durable, sustainable, and upcyclable. What is upcycling? When you’re ready to dispose of your jeans, just send it back to them, and they’ll use your old denim to create an entirely new pair of jeans to sell through a clean chemical recycling process. And the process then repeats, again & again & again… Guess we see where the name comes from.
As one of the early champions of sustainability, it’s impossible to leave Patagonia out of the conversation. Since the 1970s, the company has developed ethical fashion at large scale, finding innovative ways to reuse, repair, and generally expand product lifecycles. They were the first outdoor clothing brand to manufacture polyester from recycled plastic water bottles into fleece in 1993. 1993!!
Today, Patagonia also takes a firm stance on their post-consumer recycling strategy and upcycling policy. Their Worn Wear program targets to repair and reuse any previously worn Patagonia apparel that has neared the end of life with its current owner. Extending a product’s useful life without any new manufacturing is the priority, and then products are next recycled/upcycled back into the supply chain to create something new. If the product is no longer reusable, you can even return it to a Patagonia store so that they can responsibly recycle it for you.
Moving away from the fashion industry, Imperfect Foods is on a mission to eliminate food waste and build a better food ecosystem for everyone. Since 2015, the company has worked to save “imperfect” produce, pantry items, and dairy products from landfills. Instead of wasting products that appear bruised, scarred, discolored, or misshaped, farms and producers sell these products to Imperfect Foods, who then turns them around and distributes groceries to customers throughout the country. Products are still required to be good value, high quality, and sustainably sourced.
Additionally, the company has formalized a recycling program for their packaging, including all gel packs or plastic liners that are included to help food stay cold during the shipping process. Step by step directions ensure easy recycling compliance for customers, and even if the product came from an external shipping carrier, Imperfect provides a plethora of inspiration on how to reuse packaging throughout the house.
Have cleaning products at your house? Hopefully you do… but how many of those are in single-use plastic bottles that you recycle or (worse) throw away when you’re done with them? It’s ok. We’ve all been there, and that’s why Blueland is here. They’re on a mission to eliminate single-use plastic bottles, starting with household cleaning products.
The company sells “Forever Bottles” and soap tablets that you mix with water to activate. Instead of buying a new bottle when you’re done, just fill up the same bottle with water, drop in another tablet, and you’re good to go. They currently have sustainable options for dish and hand soap, glass and mirror cleaner, and dishwasher tablets. Truly taking clean conscience to the next level!
Sustainability and grooming don’t always go hand-in-hand, but this men’s brand that started in 2017 makes hand-crafted products with only clean and natural ingredients. Across their hair, face, and body offerings, Jack Henry removes all chemicals and synthetics, focusing on a few simple, high quality ingredients that they hand source from across the world.
The company also commits to sustainability “from start to finish.” From minimizing waste in the production process to using only 100% recyclable glass packaging, their care goes beyond the end user and towards their greater impact on the globe. Not to mention, all of their glass bottles have an amber tint to keep out UV rays and light that can damage the natural ingredients.
Like what you see? Join us on our journey!
Have a company in mind that you think is charging forward in the considered revolution? We’d love to hear from you! Shoot us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Written by Andrew Klegman, Growth Manager