Sustainability Standards


URTHWEAR Sustainability Standard

We believe sustainability is a dynamic and evolving multi-dimensional spectrum. What may be the most sustainable choice today must be outshined by new materials and processes tomorrow. What may be possible in one product category may be impractical in another category. As such, our standard is designed to evolve responsively to material, manufacturing, and process innovations. We seek to hold the bar at the highest level possible without diminishing the human experience in expression, comfort, or performance.

How We Review, Approve, and Score

We review products by way of multiple designated committees that apply what we believe to be the strictest sustainability standard in fashion and consumer goods.

Each product must provide transparency, must be entirely free of animal byproducts and testing, and must pass our Labor, Material, and Social Impact Standards active at the time. Each passing product is scored according to our weighted system that considers the product's Attributes, Eco-Friendliness, and Social Impact in determining the product’s 0 - 100 rank within our sustainability spectrum.

Products scoring in the upper half of our sustainability spectrum earn our Black Tag and those scoring in the lower half earn our White Tag. 

1. Exceptional Transparency

Transparent access to important information about a product's manufacturing journey is the hallmark of an evolutionary product. As part of our evaluation process we require rigorous levels of transparency that provide the necessary information we require from every brand in order that we may determine their level of sustainability.

2. Fair Labor and Trade

Where an item is made is key to Fair Trade and Labor standards we strive to ensure. Items made in most developed countries are more likely to provide the standards we seek, while in other countries the local laws are not enough to provide the basic levels of protection we require.

As such we maintain a Country Watchlist that facilitates rigorous scrutiny of products from certain countries while requiring certifications and/or validations from others.

3. Sustainable Materials and Safe Ingredients

Materials, ingredients, and the processes from which they are derived are at the core of the sustainability problem and solution. We review each category of product separately. A standard for one category may not be suitable for another category. What top we wear at home differs from the shoes we can wear to a winter getaway. As such we maintain an evolving materials and ingredients matrix that bans and restricts certain elements while permitting and preferring others, with the objective of offering the most sustainable products possible at the time for each product category.

Further, where we must decide between biodegradable animal byproducts vs alternative materials, we have chosen alternative materials, including synthetics, in alignment with our ethos that compassion must come first for sustainability.

4. Efficient Manufacturing

The methods and processes of manufacturing are just as critical to sustainability as the materials and ingredients used. As part of our product review and approval process we seek greener and more efficient manufacturing methodology, including but not limited to the following types of innovations.

Reduced CO2 Emissions Reduced Water Usage
Recycled Resources Closed Loop Systems
Solar + Wind Carbon Offsets
Supply Chain Optimization Distribution Optimization
Improved Working Conditions Packaging Optimizations

5. Positive Social Impact

Whether intended or not, negative or positive, every product has a social impact. We seek to make available products that have the greatest positive social impact via their product materials, ingredients, sourcing, manufacturing, and forms of social activism.

Each product that we approve must employ one or more forms of meaningful direct or indirect positive social impact across subject matter including but not limited to the following.

Fair Trade & Labor Race Equality
Women's Rights Environmental Protection
Childhood Education Social Justice
Animal Rights Disaster Response