What makes clothing "sustainable"?

What makes clothing

With consumer demands for eco-friendly fashion, clothing companies and footwear brands are marketing their products as sustainable.


What is the legal qualification for using the term "sustainable"?


It is still ambiguous and causes much confusion among consumers and people in the textile and footwear industry.

In this news piece, Dr Andrew Hudson, our Managing Director, examines how companies can assess the life cycle and environmental impact of clothing and footwear to substantiate their sustainability claims.

In certain jurisdictions, there are existing and proposed legislation about product labelling and marketing in relation to sustainability claims, but there is still a lack of shared understanding within the textile and footwear industry regarding what makes a product sustainable. Some companies claim their materials are sustainable if they are organic, recycled, bio-based and others using regenerative farming and tree planting programmes to offset their carbon footprint. However, there are major risks such as negative media coverage or losing brand loyalty with overstating "green" features of products or falsely claiming that products are sustainable. 

Andrew describes sustainable fashion as an ethical approach towards designing, sourcing, manufacturing, testing, selling, and delivering clothing and footwear in a way that minimises negative impacts on people and the planet along the entire value chain. It's not just about the materials used in products, but about the entire supply chain from raw material extraction through manufacturing and consumer use, all the way to final disposal. It also refers to fair labour practices, the chemicals used in production processes, if the product is recyclable or biodegradable, and so much more.

We found some fashion brands validate sustainability claims by in-depth life cycle assessments to establish the impact of the products on people and the planet. This can take months to carry out a life cycle assessment and can be very expensive. For example when it comes to shoes, large footwear companies might launch hundreds or even thousands of new shoe designs each year, so it can be costly and time consuming.  


The Footwear Impact Calculator


To help brands and manufacturers, we have developed an online tool to assess the environmental impact of shoes, or an entire footwear collection, within minutes. The Footwear Impact Calculator is built specifically for footwear brands. The tool can help shoe designers and manufacturers to quickly see where they can become more sustainable by making improvements in their shoe design, manufacturing process and logistics systems. 

Click here to register or login to the Footwear Impact Calculator Tool - for as little as $350 you can get one assessment. Try it!


Contact us:

Eurofins | BLC has a range of sustainability services to help you manage your products and supply chain. Email [email protected] and one of our experts will be in touch.

1 July 2023

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