24 Jul

How Ethical Is Calvin Klein?

Calvin Klein is an iconic ‘all-American’ brand known for their minimalist designs and men’s underwear revolution. Despite their long history as a sought after fashion brand, CK’s ethics aren’t as crisp and clean as their boxer briefs. If we care about the planet and all its inhabitants, should we shop Calvin Klein or look for alternatives?

Environmental Impact: Not Good Enough

Calvin Klein has taken baby steps toward improving their impact on the environment by becoming a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and promising to eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals by 2020. However, the good news ends there. CK have not set specific targets to reduce carbon emissions or water usage. With inadequate policies for management and disposal of resources, a distinct lack of eco-friendly materials, and empty promises about reducing carbon emissions, the brand is largely disappointing when it comes to its environmental impact. To make matters worse, Calvin Klein was highlighted in the Greenpeace Dirty Laundry report as one of the brands linked to water pollution in China.

Labour Conditions: Not Good Enough 

Calvin Klein’s labour rating is ‘Not Good Enough’ based on the 2017 Ethical Fashion Report. This looks at areas such as payment of a living wage, worker empowerment and transparency. Despite receiving a top score for their Supplier Code of Conduct, CK only trace some of their supply chain and do not publicly list their suppliers.

Calvin Klein has minimal worker empowerment initiatives and has made little to no progress toward ensuring the payment of a living wage. Coupled with its history of questionable advertising tactics, Calvin Klein has a long way to go when it comes to empowering people, be they the makers of their clothing, or the wearers.

Animal Welfare: Not Good Enough

Calvin Klein don’t use fur in any of their products. But should they get a pat on the back for this? Not quite! That is the only positive in their animal welfare rating. The brand uses leather, wool, down feather, angora, cashmere and shearling without stating their sources. With so many cruelty free alternatives out there, there really is no excuse – especially when we don’t know their source!

Overall Rating: Not Good Enough

Rated: Not Good Enough

Overall, we've rated Calvin Klein as ‘Not Good Enough’ based on information from the 2017 Ethical Fashion Report and our own research. While the brand is making a start on improving their environmental impact and have a solid Supplier Code of Conduct, they still leave a lot to be desired in all three categories.

Editor's note: Brands correct at the time of publication. Feature image via Calvin Klein. Images via brands mentioned.

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