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Our Ethical Brand Ratings Explained

Good On You ethical brand ratings give you the power to make choices that match your values – choices that reflect your commitment to doing better by people, the planet and animals.

We believe brands should be transparent. As a consumer, you have a right to know!

The Issues We Consider

People
We look at brands impact on workers across the supply chain. These include policies and practices on child labour, forced labour, worker safety, freedom of association (the right to join a union) and payment of a living wage. We also consider a brand’s supplier relationships and auditing practices.

Planet
We consider each brand’s resource use and disposal, energy use and carbon emissions, impacts on water, as well as chemical use and disposal.

Animals
We identify the use of fur, angora, down feather, shearling, karakul and exotic animal skin and hair. We also consider wool use including ‘mulesing’ and whether and how the brand uses leather.

For each of people, planet and animals we also consider if brands are taking positive steps – such as providing industry leadership on issues – or whether they engage in ‘negative citizenship’ like lobbying against legislation to increase transparency or reduce harm.

See this detailed list of material issues for more information.

Information Sources

Good On You ethical brand ratings build on the great work done by certification schemes and other independent rating projects. The most reliable information about how a brand performs on an issue comes from certification schemes like Fair Trade, OEKO-TEX STeP and the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). However only a small minority of brands offer certified products and so we need to look further at the standard systems brands may choose to follow and the other actions that they claim to take.

We take into account information from more than 50 certifications schemes, standards systems and independent ratings or assessment method that are available for use by brands.

Where an issue is not fully covered by a standard system or rating, we consider the brand’s own public statements. We only put weight on those statements where they meet certain conditions that increase their reliability and usefulness. In particular, we look for statements that make relevant and specific claims which, if false, would breach misleading advertising laws.

The Ratings

Brands are rated from 1 (We Avoid) to 5 (Great). Overall ratings are derived from an average of the scores for each area.

GoY-Ratings_5 Great  = These brands score highly in at least two categories and have one or more certifications or accreditations. They’re often designed from the ground up to be sustainable and ethical, and they’re usually super transparent.

GoY-Ratings_4 Good  = These brands have taken several significant positive initiatives, are often leaders on one or more key issues, and in most case are very transparent.

GoY-Ratings_3 It’s a Start  = These brands are transparent in at least one area and making good progress on one or more of the main issues we look at.

GoY-Ratings_2 Not Good Enough  = These brands have provided some information in several areas, but not enough for us to truly know what happens in their supply chains.

GoY-Ratings_1 We avoid  = These brands provide little to no relevant or concrete information. In some cases, the brand may make ambiguous claims that look like greenwash. We think you have a right to comprehensive and accurate information about how a brand impacts on people, planet and animals!

Important Notes

Good On You ethical brand ratings are prepared in good faith based on information available from independent sources and information published by the brands themselves. We are not responsible for failing to pass on positive information that a brand has not made public, or for errors made in good faith.

We welcome any questions or contributions in relation to a rating.

We strongly encourage brands to be fully transparent with their customers. We believe they should publish full details of their labour conditions, sourcing strategies, suppliers, and environmental and animal protection policies and impacts, and the labour, environment and animal expectations that they place on their suppliers. Your customers have a right to know!

To provide feedback or request further details on a specific brand please contact us.

More questions?

Check our FAQ or drop us a note.

Material Issues

Labor

The rating system considers the following substantive labour issues

  • Living wage
  • Worker health and safety
  • Child labour
  • Forced labour
  • Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining
  • Freedom of movement of workers
  • Non discrimination
  • Non-excessive working hours
  • Unfair, exploitative or abusive labour practices (no harsh or inhumane treatment)
  • Access to grievance and Dispute Procedures
  • Regularity of employment
  • Fair use of contracts

And the following processes that influence the effectiveness on the ground of commitments to workers’ rights and protections.

  • Assurance including auditing, supplier relationships and public reporting
  • Supply chain transparency (publication of supplier lists)
  • Remedial policies and procedures
  • Training in the workplace
  • Head office decision making

Environment

  • Resource management and disposal
  • Energy use and carbon emissions
  • Chemical use and disposal
  • Water usage and effluent

Animals

  • Fur
  • Leather
  • Wool
  • Down and/or feathers
  • Angora
  • Exotic Animal Hairs
  • Exotic Animal Skins
  • Shearling/ Karakul Lamb Fur

Certifications, Standards Systems and Other Sources

  • Aisha Common Code of Conduct
  • Better Cotton Initiative
  • Blue Angel
  • bluesign® system
  • Business Social Compliance Initiative Code of Conduct – BSCI
  • Carbon Trust
  • Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standards
  • Cradle to Cradle Certification
  • Ethical Clothing Australia
  • Ethical Trading Initiative
  • EU Ecolabel
  • Fair Trade Small Producers
  • Fair Trade USA
  • Fair Wear Foundation
  • Fair-trade International – Hired Labour
  • Fair-trade International – Small Producers Organizations
  • Fedex Members Ethical Trade Audit – SMETA Best Practice Guidance
  • FLA Workplace Code of Conduct
  • Global Organic Textile Standard – GOTS
  • Global Recycle Standard
  • Good Weave
  • International Labour Organization Labour Standards
  • ISO 14001:2004
  • Naturland
  • Naturtextil Best
  • Nordic Swan
  • OEKO-TEX Standard 100
  • OEKO-TEX STeP
  • Responsible Jewellery Council
  • Responsible Wool Standard
  • Social Accountability International – SA8000
  • TerraChoice -EcoLogo Program (UL Ecology Certification)
  • The EU Ecolabel
  • Triple Sello – unicef
  • WFTO Guarantee System
  • Workplace Condition Assessment (WCA)
  • Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production – WRAP

Other

The following initiatives that are not standards systems ARE also referred to in the brand rating tool

  • Baptist World Aid, Behind the Barcode, Australian Fashion Report
  • Carbon Disclosure Project
  • Detox Catwalk Greenpeace
  • Environmental Benchmarks for Fibres – Made-By.org
  • Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals Program

Animal Specific Standards

  • Fur Free Retailer
  • Global Traceable Down Standard
  • PETA Approved Vegan
  • Responsible Down Standard
  • Responsible Wool Standard
  • ZQ Merino Label (no mulesing)

There are a number of other animal standards that we do not rely on, on the basis that they try to regulate what is generally regarded as an inhumane practice whether or not the standard is followed (for example the several standards that apply to trapping wild animals for fur).