5 Inspiring Brands With Purpose

Earth Day is celebrated around the world by more than a billion people and I wanted to join in by giving a shout-out to brands with purpose. Why? Did you know that second to oil, the clothing and textile industry is the largest polluter in the world? Whether planting trees, recycling old clothing, or doing a good ol’ fashioned cleanup, these fashion brands are taking huge strides in the right direction.


Athleta puts their commitment to the environment front and center — just take a look at their latest catalog. They’re a  Certified B Corporation that is balancing purpose and profit. Athleta is also doing a lot towards preserving our planet. In 2018, 5X more of their styles were made with water-saving techniques compared with the previous year. And they are working towards making 25% of their total product line using water-saving techniques by 2020.

Every contribution matters, no matter how small, due to these alarming statistics::

  • Nearly 20% of global waste water is produced by the fashion industry
  • 20,000 liters is the amount of water needed to produce one kilogram of cotton; equivalent to a single t-shirt and pair of jeans
  • The fashion industry is the second biggest polluter of freshwater resources on the planet

Eddie Bauer

Eddie Bauer is committed to protecting our forests through their fabric choices. This commitment is inline with the CanopyStyle Initiative, which helps brands and retailers ensure their supply chain is free of endangered and ancient forests. Read more about their commitment here. In addition, for more than 20 years Eddie Bauer has partnered with American Forests to plant over seven million trees. This mission is something we at Syndeca care deeply about as well (more on that below).

Things to keep in mind when you’re considering where to shop for you next outfit:

  • An average size tree produces enough oxygen in one year to keep a family of four breathing
  • Tropical forest destruction accounts for about 20 percent of current greenhouse gas emissions
  • 46,000-58,000 square miles of forest are lost every year — that’s 36 football fields every minute
  • 80% of the world’s forests are already destroyed
  • Over 70 million trees are logged every year and turned into fabrics like rayon, viscose, modal and lyocell


Fjällräven (pronounced:F—Y’all—Rāven), is just one of several sustainable brands part of Fenix Outdoor Group. According to their Sustainability Manager (we wish every brand had a Sustainability Manager!): “What’s so exciting at Fjällräven is that Environmental Standards isn’t treated as a separate project – it’s at the core of everything we do.”  Fjällräven has embraced this standard on Earth Day by putting on plogging events. If you have no idea what plogging is, you’re certainly not alone. It started in Sweden around 2016 and is basically picking up trash while jogging. You can read more about Fjällräven’s sustainability efforts here.

Why plogging is such a brilliant concept:

  • Trash is a danger to animals that ingest it
  • Picking up trash allows plastics to be recycle instead of contaminating the ground or ground water
  • Trash is just unsightly and picking it up makes our planet a more beautiful place


Another B Certified Corporation, Patagonia literally puts their money where their mouth is when it comes to the environment. Patagonia is also keeping its clothing out of landfills through their Worn Wear program, which lets you trade in old gear for a credit towards items that have been repaired. If they can’t repair a garment, they they’ll recycle it. The brand is also asking their consumers to consume less and wear gear longer.

If only every apparel brand had a recycling program, these stats might read differently:

  • Consumers throw away shoes and clothing [versus recycle] an average of 70 pounds per person annually
  • Up to 95% of the textiles that are land filled each year could be recycled
  • More than 150 billion garments are produced annually, enough to provide 20 new garments to every person on the planet, every year
  • Using recycled cotton saves 20,000 liters of water per kilogram of cotton, a water-intensive crop

Eileen Fisher

Also a B Certified Corporation, Eileen Fisher is having their largest eco season ever with 79% of their spring collection made of sustainable materials. According to their site, Eileen Fisher is “Changing the way clothes are made… researching every fiber, every seed, every dye. Because creating meaningful change means understanding the connection between farms and fashion, between chemicals and clean water.”

Who would think that the choosing cotton, which seems like the “natural” choice, can have such a devastating impact:

  • Cotton farming is responsible for 24% of insecticides and 11% of pesticides, despite using only 3% of the world’s arable land
  • Nearly 70 million barrels of oil are used each year to make the world’s polyester fiber, which is now the most commonly used fiber in clothing. It takes more than 200 years to decompose

We can all do more

We don’t want to rest on our “Laurels” {sorry, couldn’t help myself}, but on Earth Day it’s nice to look around to see some companies making significant efforts towards a healthier planet. Speaking of which, did you know for every page (or image) of shoppable content tagged in the Syndeca platform, we plant a tree? That’s right. When you publish that digital catalog, landing page or shoppable instagram feed — whether it’s one page (1 tree) or 160 pages (160 trees!), we invest in the environment. For more information on the incredible organization we partner with to pull this off, check out trees.org.

— Laurel Adams
Business Development, Syndeca

  1. http://www.alternet.org/environment/its-second-dirtiest-thing-world-and-youre-wearing-it;  Forbes – Making Climate Change Fashionable – The Garment Industry Takes on Global Warming
  2. https://edgexpo.com/fashion-industry-waste-statistics/http://www.smartasn.org/ | Secondary Materials and Recycling Textiles [SMART]
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1964887/
  4. https://www.worldwildlife.org/industries/cotton
  5. https://www.forbes.com/sites/trevornace/2017/07/26/million-plastic-bottles-minute-91-not-recycled/#18dda5ce292c
  6. https://bcorporation.net
  7. United Nations Partnership on Sustainable Fashion and the SDG’s
  8. http://www.nitrofill.com/TreeFacts.aspx
  9. https://onetreeplanted.org/pages/tree-facts
  10. https://phys.org/news/2019-01-microplastic-contamination-common-source-groundwater.html
  11. https://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/timber/meetings/2018/20180716/UN_Partnership_on_Sustainable_Fashion_programme_as_of_6-7-2018.pdf
  12. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2015/12/03/making-climate-change-fashionable-the-garment-industry-takes-on-global-warming/#63bf746a79e4

Cover photo provided by:
Caleb Jones

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