Ethical Clothing to Boost Your Brand

The drive for businesses to be more sustainable is in full swing. Increasingly, companies of every size and all sectors, from big utility companies to boutique hotels, want their uniforms and promotional clothing to have sustainability credentials that reflect their brand values and aspirations.

Brands that demonstrate a commitment to protecting the environment, from the sustainable uniforms staff wear right down to the Fairtrade and organic coffee they buy, are benefitting in all areas, from gaining and retaining customers to winning more work. Companies with strong values and ethics may also find it easier to recruit staff whose values match their own. 

We look at how ethical clothing and merchandise can benefit every business, and help drive social and environmental change.

THE BUSINESS OF SUSTAINABILITY

We know your business and reputation depends on having quality uniforms or PPE to safely go about your work. But if sustainable uniforms, corporate clothing or other workwear form part of your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) charter you will also want to know the clothing was responsibly made.

Are the working conditions safe and hygienic? What about the makers, are they paid a fair wage? As members of Sedex, we are able to monitor ethical and responsible business practices such as labour rights and health and safety across our supply chain. This enables us to reassure our customers they are making the right sustainable choices when buying clothing and apparel.

Clothing for Events are also ISO14001 (environmental management system) and ISO9001 (quality management system) accredited. These international standards are proof of our commitment to protect the environment and deliver the best products and services.

Other accreditations to look out for are the quality and ethical standards held by responsible, ethical clothing brands.

ETHICAL STANDARDS TO LOOK OUT FOR

It’s not always easy to determine whether a manufacturer’s practices, supply chains and products are ethical. To further confuse matters there are a myriad of different accreditation and compliance
standards. The ethical clothing brands UK-based and overseas we work with are leaders in sustainable fashion, adhering to standards including:

OEKO-TEX Certified – OEKO-TEX certified fabric is free from harmful substances, such as formaldehyde, chlorine and dyes.

Fairtrade – the Fairtrade certification mark is assurance the Fairtrade clothing is sustainably produced. It guarantees farmers are paid a decent price, and that factories processing Fairtrade cotton into Fairtrade t-shirts and other apparel comply with International Labour Organisation standards.

OCS – clothing with the OCS 100 logo contain 95% or more organic material. Organic hoodies, sweatshirts and other clothing bearing the organic content standard logo contain 5% or more organic material.

GOTS –the Global Organic Textile Standard is the leading processing standard for organic fibres. Clothing with the GOTS logo have had their entire manufacturing and production process tracked, from farm to factory, to ensure it meets GOTS strict environment and social standards.  

GRS – the Global Recycled Standard label certifies that the materials used are recyclable. GRS also ensures compliance with social and environmental criteria such as the treatment of wastewater, the absence of certain toxic additives and worker rights.

PETA-Approved Vegan – the PETA cruelty-free logo ensures your ethical and organic clothing is made of vegan alternatives to animal materials such as leather, fur or silk.

EU Ecolabel – the EU Ecolabel applies to products that are kind to the environment. Products carrying this label meet the highest environmental and performance standards throughout their lifecycle.

 

Some of our suppliers are also members of the Better Cotton Initiative. This non-profit organisation trains cotton farmers in water efficiency, caring for natural habitats and reducing the use of harmful chemicals. It also respects workers’ rights.

TRENDS IN SUSTAINABLE WORKWEAR AND MERCHANDISE

Organic cotton 
The process of making conventional cotton clothing is thirsty work. It can take 2,700 litres of water to grow and manufacture a single cotton t-shirt. Times that amount by the number of cotton t-shirts, cotton hoodies, polo shirts and other clothing apparel produced globally and it’s easy to see how water-rich crops contribute to water shortages. The pesticides used in producing conventional cotton farming also makes the water unsuitable for anything else.

Organic cotton farming is a more positive and sustainable alternative. Through practices such as crop rotation, composting, rainwater harvesting and pest management, organic cotton has less impact
on the environment by using 88% less water and 62% less energy. Organic farming methods also benefit the wider ecological system and keep farmers and their families safe by not exposing them to toxic chemicals in their food and water supply. 

As an ethical clothing UK supplier, Clothing for Events works with a select number of certified sustainable clothing and accessory companies to produce organic cotton workwear, sustainable uniforms and other clothing suitable for every size company or event. In following the supply chain to source, these eco-friendly and vegan clothing manufacturers create products that respect people, the environment and customers. Products that look good, feel great and that your staff and customer will be proud to wear.

Clothing for Events are the official UK suppliers of ethical clothing brands including:

Stanley/Stella – Authentic, responsible clothing suitable for branded uniforms made in a humane, ethical and ecological way.

Neutral  – Clothing made from organic raw materials to environmentally friendly and socially
responsible methods. 

Bella + Canvas – Eco-manufacturer of premium wholesale apparel that uses 7 x less
water than average clothing manufacturers. 

Recycled polyester 

Polyester textile recycling often uses old plastic bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a source of plastic that would otherwise go into landfill. Lots of recycled uniforms and other clothing can be made from PET plastic bottles, from polyester aprons, polos and ethical hoodies to work fleece jackets. Our Stanley/Stella ethical clothing range uses recycled polyester derived from 7-8 PET plastic bottles in its windcheater jackets. Recycled polyester can also be combined with organic cotton to create a fabric that’s ultra soft on the skin.

CURIOUS AS TO HOW A PLASTIC BOTTLE CAN TRANSFORM INTO FABRIC?

Clothing for Events are the official UK supplier for brands using recycled polyester, including:

Parkland – Parkland uses recycled water bottles to create bags that combine purpose, style and quality.

Elevate Nxt – Elevate Nxt follows the supply chain to source to create ethical apparel made from recycled polyester and organic cotton.

ECO-FRIENDLY MERCHANDISE

When it comes to promoting your business or event, sustainable merchandise can be a good way to demonstrate the environmental credentials of your brand and stand out. Our eco-friendly, sustainable, recycled and biodegradable range include:

Bamboo cups: Bamboo cups are made from naturally sustainable bamboo fibre combined with corn starch to form a paste which is then mixed with a resin.

Recycled paper notepads: Paper use is one of the greatest causes of deforestation. Our wide range of recycled paper notepads are made from paper reconstituted into paper again.

Sustainable water bottles: Nothing says waste more than a single-use plastic bottle. Reusable water bottles made from sustainable materials such as bamboo and stainless steel help you send out a strong brand message that you care about the environment.

SUSTAINABLE TEXTILE PRINTING

Sustainable t-shirt printing and workwear embroidery help your company go a step further in caring for the environment and reducing textile waste. There are various methods available when branding recycled corporate uniforms and workwear, including water-based screen printing which avoids the use of plastics to recycled polyester thread and organic cotton embroidery thread made to GOTS standards.

Greener and more sustainable than Plastisol (plastic) inks, high quality waterbased inks offer rich, colourfast printing with no sign of cracking or peeling over time. Onsite printing enables us to lower the carbon footprint attached to outsourcing.

BUYING WORKWEAR TO LAST

Buying well made, long lasting workwear is vital to supporting a company’s sustainability initiatives. It also has image, cost, safety and even productivity implications. Poorly made clothing often looks cheap, which can easily undermine brand image. Cheap clothing also often needs replacing often, which can rack up workwear costs. Badly made and ill-fitting clothing, especially safetywear, may also not be fit for purpose, which can affect wearer comfort, productivity, and ultimately be a health and safety concern.

Buying well in the first place is the best way to protect your company’s brand image, the safety, wellbeing and productivity of employees and the company’s uniform budget.

FINDING THE RIGHT SUPPLIER

Working with a clothing supplier whose values align with yours will ensure you get the best products, at the best price. 

At Clothing for Events we’re doing everything we can to help boost our customers sustainability initiatives and to help them keep up with evolving trends. Beyond working with the very best ethical clothing brands, we’re also working hard internally to be more sustainable, by reducing energy use, waste and packaging.

Some of the ways we’re making a difference include:

Energy use 

Solar panels enable us to power our business with renewable energy. Any excess goes into the national grid. All our office and warehouses use solar-generated LED lighting. Energy efficient glazing and wall insulation also helps us lower our carbon footprint.

Carbon footprint

We help reduce global emissions by favouring sea freight over air freight. Our aim is to become carbon neutral by 2030. Managing much of our print and embroidery onsite also enables us to reduce our carbon footprint, while ensuring greater quality control. In 2020, we were awarded the Carbon Footprint Standard for offsetting 19.776 of carbon dioxide.

Packaging 

We make every effort to package responsibly, with up to 90% of our packaging and shipping materials recyclable. Packaging waste within our ISO 14000 certified warehouse goes to recycling, not landfill, further helping us to keep waste down.

Waste

At Clothing for Events we reuse and recycle everything we can, including end of life uniforms. Over 90% of our waste by volume is recycled. This amounted to over 1.5 tonnes in 2019 alone.

All waste is taken to our own waste transfer station in Ascot. Here the waste is tipped, sorted through and separated into plastics, cardboard etc.  

                                          Once separated it is converted into something new. 

Rather than dispose of textile waste we recycle old work uniforms by shredding them down for use as fuel or as wadding for dog beds that local animal shelters can use. Plain, unbranded items go to Christian Eye, a charity helping children and families in need in Africa.

General, non-hazardous waste which cannot be recycled, is sent to an ERF waste treatment facility for converting into energy.

THE FUTURE

Where an item is made, and how it’s manufactured and the way it’s transported all play a role in sustainability. Whether you want the best ethical t-shirt suppliers, a recycled polyester apron, organic cotton sweatshirts or other organic workwear, we make it easy for clients to make the right sustainable choices with clothing and products by manufacturers that combine ethics with style and quality at an accessible price.

This is supported by inhouse uniform design advice and sustainable brand printing powered by our own renewable energy supply.

Say goodbye to fast fashion. Contact us to discuss our stylish and affordable ethical clothing range

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