27 Jul

How Ethical Is Aritzia?

Boasting more than a million followers on Instagram, Aritzia is arguably one of Canada’s most popular brands. But how ethical is Aritzia, really? Sadly, we rate the brand “Not Good Enough”. Aritzia isn’t doing enough to protect workers and the environment. Keep reading to learn more about Aritzia’s sustainability rating. This article is based on the Aritzia rating published in January 2022.

Dabbling in sustainability but not doing enough

Launched in 1984, Canadian brand Aritzia’s mission is simple: offer beautiful clothes in aspirational spaces with exceptional service. Since then, the brand has grown to be one of Canada’s most popular brands.

Aritzia has been dabbling in sustainability and ethics for a while, creating more sustainable denim and using eco-friendly materials. In 2020, the brand declared it’s now carbon neutral, claiming it’s “accounting for 100% of the carbon [it] emits through [its] offices, stores and distribution centres” and is offsetting them by purchasing Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) and investing in Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) certified carbon offsets. In 2020, the brand announced it would be donating 1,000 of its popular Super Puff jackets to Canadian women and girls during the holidays as part of the company’s Community Giving Program, which aims to empower and positively impact members of the local community.

All of these initiatives are commendable, but what are the actual impacts of Aritzia on people, the planet, and animals? How ethical is Aritzia?

Environmental impact

We gave Aritzia’s environmental initiatives a “Not Good Enough” rating. The brand does use some eco-friendly materials, including organic cotton, but we found no evidence that it has taken meaningful action to reduce or eliminate hazardous chemicals. We also found no evidence Aritzia minimises textile waste when manufacturing its products. In addition, becoming “carbon neutral” and simply offsetting carbon emissions is not enough, and we found no evidence Aritzia is actively reducing its carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions in its supply chain.

Labour conditions

When it comes to labour, little of Aritzia’s supply chain is certified by labour standards which ensure worker health and safety or other labour rights. The Canadian brand received a 21-30% score in the 2021 Fashion Transparency Index, an improvement from its 11-20% score the previous year.

While Aritzia did disclose some policies and safeguards to protect suppliers and workers in its supply chain from the impacts of COVID-19, we found no evidence Aritzia ensures payment of a living wage in its supply chain or that it implements practices to support diversity and inclusion. For all these reasons, we rated Aritzia’s labour standards as “Not Good Enough”.

Animal welfare

Sadly, Aritzia’s animal rating is also “Not Good Enough”. While the brand has a general statement about minimising animal suffering, it does not have a formal animal welfare policy. Aritzia still uses wool, leather, exotic animal hair, and down accredited by the Responsible Down Standard. It does not, however, use fur, angora, or exotic animal skin. There is no evidence it traces any animal products to the first stage of production, which means the welfare of our animal friends can’t be guaranteed.

Overall rating: Not Good Enough

We rated Aritzia “Not Good Enough” overall, based on information from the research done by our team at Good On You. The brand has slightly improved over the years, certifying parts of its supply chain or being more transparent about how it protects its people from COVID-19. But it’s not enough for us to give a higher rating to the Canadian brand.

For its clothes to be truly beautiful, inside and out, Aritzia needs to improve its impact on the planet by actively reducing its carbon emissions throughout its supply chain but also making sure its workers are treated fairly and paid a living wage.

Note that Good On You ratings consider hundreds of issues, and it is not possible to list every relevant issue in a summary of the brand’s performance. For more information, see our How We Rate page and our FAQs.

See the rating.

If you’re into Aritzia’s aesthetics and want to look good, while doing good, we found more ethical and sustainable alternatives to Aritzia.

Good swaps

“Good” and “Great” alternatives to Aritizia

tentree

Rated: Good

Canadian brand tentree believes big change starts small. Small as in bringing your reusable bag to the grocery store, making fewer, more thoughtful purchases, and choosing to purchase sustainably when you do. The brand plants ten trees for every item purchased to help regenerate ecosystems and provide planting jobs in communities around the world, and has already planted over 65 million trees.

All tentree’s products are created with an Earth-First approach, meaning they're made in fair, safe working conditions, and constructed using only sustainably sourced and recycled materials. tentree’s super comfy fabrics and easy wardrobe staples are typically available from XS to XL.

See the rating.

Shop tentree.

Kotn

Rated: Good

Offers

Someone riding on the shoulders of another person wearing sustainably clothing by Kotn.

Kotn – Womenswear and Menswear

This isn’t just a sale. It’s a thank you. For a limited time, save up to 70% off seasonal styles. Up to 70% off womenswear and menswear. (Ends: 31 JUL)

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Certified B Corp Kotn is based in Canada and works with local NGOs on the ground at the Nile Delta to provide every child in their farming communities with quality education, and to help close the gap of low literacy rates amongst communities. With every purchase, not only will you adorn a beautifully made shirt, but also help fund school infrastructure, materials, and salaries for teachers. Find Kotn in sizes XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Shop Kotn.

Franc

Rated: Good

Franc is a Canadian brand that makes basics so you can enjoy a complete wardrobe built on timeless essentials. The brand ranks 'Good' on all fronts: it uses eco-friendly materials, pays a living wage and uses no animal products. Find most products in sizes XS to 3XL.

See the rating.

Shop Franc.

Whimsy + Row

Rated: Good

Whimsy + Row is an eco-conscious lifestyle brand born out of a love for quality goods and sustainable practices. Since 2014, its mission has been to provide ease and elegance for the modern, sustainable woman. Whimsy + Row utilises deadstock fabric, and by limiting each garment to short runs, the brand also reduces packaging waste and takes care of precious water resources. Find most products in XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop Whimsy + Row.

Shop Whimsy + Row @ Earthkind.

Mara Hoffman

Rated: Good

With a focus on mindful and conscious practices, Mara Hoffman uses eco-friendly materials including GOTS certified cotton, recycled nylon, and recycled polyester, and even has a range of Oeko-Tex STeP certified products. Items come in sizes XS to 3XL, and the brand also has a gorgeous extended sizes collection, so you can be sure to find a new wardrobe addition no matter the bod you rock.

See the rating.

Shop Mara Hoffman @ Reve en Vert.

Shop Mara Hoffman @ Farfetch.

Shop Mara Hoffman Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Shop Mara Hoffman.

MANNING CARTELL (Pre-Owned)

Rated: It's A Start

MANNING CARTELL is a designer brand that is ethically-made in Australia and committed to creativity, inclusivity and igniting joy. This Australian brand was created by three sisters, creating for women, who understand how women want to look and feel.

See the rating.

Shop MANNING CARTELL Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Editor's note

Feature image via Aritzia. All other images via brands mentioned. Good On You publishes the world’s most comprehensive ratings of fashion brands’ impact on people, the planet, and animals. Use our directory  to search thousands of rated brands. We may earn a commission on sales with top-rated partners made using our offer codes or affiliate links. We love to recommend some of the best sustainable brands, rated "Good" or "Great". We also encourage shopping pre-owned as another great way to reduce the impact of our fashion choices.

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