A grey knitted sweater with white text overlaid reading J.Crew above a highlighted sad emoji face.
17 Aug
A grey knitted sweater with white text overlaid reading J.Crew above a highlighted sad emoji face.

How Ethical Is J.Crew?

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Preppy American brand J.Crew is “Not Good Enough” for people, the planet, and animals. This article is based on the J.Crew rating published in July 2020.

The popular fast fashion marketplace under the microscope

J.Crew is known as a favourite store of former US First Lady Michelle Obama. Founded in 1983, the American brand offers preppy and colourful staples for women, men, and children. J.Crew believes “great style begins with great design”, but how do its designs impact planet, people, and animals? How ethical is J.Crew?

Environmental Impact

J.Crew donates its unsold items to Good360.org, a non-profit organization that distributes items to community service groups that are improving the lives of people in need. However, the brand has few environmental practices set in place in its production line. It doesn’t use eco-friendly materials, provides no evidence that it has a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target, or that it is taking adequate steps to minimise or eliminate hazardous chemicals. It has no policies or initiatives on water usage and wastewater management in supply chain and doesn’t specifically states how it minimises non-textile waste. What’s more, it doesn’t have adequate policies and initiatives for resources management and disposal.  A pretty dirty result from a brand with such a clean image! ‘Not Good Enough’.

Labour Conditions

On the labour front, J.Crew is once again ‘Not Good Enough’. None of its supply chain is certified by labour standards which ensure worker health and safety, living wages, or other labour rights. It also received a score of only 11-20% in the Fashion Transparency Index. It likely publishes some information about its supplier policies and audits, but doesn’t publish a list of suppliers or information about forced labour, gender equality, or freedom of association. Finally, it doesn’t disclose any policies or safeguards to protect suppliers and workers in its supply chain from the impacts of COVID-19.

Animal Welfare

Although it doesn’t use angora, down, fur, or exotic animal skin, the brand does use wool, leather, and exotic animal hair without stating their origins, which is why we think it is ‘Not Good Enough’ for the animals, too. Leather in particular has huge impacts on animals, the environment, and workers so it’s essential the supply chain is transparent.

Overall Rating: Not Good Enough

Overall we rated J.Crew ‘Not Good Enough’ as the brand has very few robust and tangible environmental and labour policies. Even though J.Crew’’s website has extensive descriptions about steps to improve its impact on the environment, they mostly concern energy efficiency and don’t communicate sufficient information about the brand’s policies, which is why some people could consider that J.Crew is greenwashing.

Note that Good On You ratings consider 100s 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.

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Editor's note

Feature image via Unsplash, 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 the directory to search thousands of rated brands.

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