13 Oct

How Ethical Is KOOKAÏ?

KOOKAÏ has an uncommon story: originally founded in Paris in 1983, with a vision to offer fashionable, high-quality pieces at accessible prices to French women, the brand decided to go to the land down under and landed in Australia in the 1990s. Today, the brand is present across Australia, New Zealand, and Europe, designing its Parisian chic-infused collection out of its Melbourne and Paris studios. If you’re reading this article, you might be wondering, “how is KOOKAÏ impacting the planet, people, and animals?”. And we hear you! The brand says it is pursuing “an ethical and meaningful existence in the fashion world” and that it hopes that “whenever you purchase a KOOKAÏ garment you can feel confident it is giving more to the world than it is taking away”. But is that really the case? How ethical is KOOKAÏ?

How ethical is KOOKAÏ?

Environmental Impact

We rate KOOKAÏ’s environment rating ‘Very Poor’. The brand says it is on the journey of understanding and improving its environmental impact, working towards incorporating sustainable materials and responsible production measures into its designs, and achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

But at the time of rating (September 2021), the brand is using few eco-friendly materials. We found no evidence KOOKAÏ reduces its carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions, that it has taken meaningful action to reduce or eliminate hazardous chemicals, or that it implements water reduction initiatives.

Labour Conditions

KOOKAÏ’s labour rating is ‘Not Good Enough’. On its website, the brand says working conditions and worker welfare are of paramount importance and are why it has chosen to own and operate its own manufacturing facilities in Fiji and Sri Lanka (two countries with a high risk of labour abuse).

Unfortunately, we found no evidence KOOKAÏ has worker empowerment initiatives such as collective bargaining or rights to make a complaint. The brand states it has a Code of Conduct but does not publicly share it.

KOOKAÏ says it is committed to ensuring workers within its supply chain are paid a living wage and is actively working with suppliers to achieve this goal, but it is unclear how.

What’s more, the brand does not disclose any policies or safeguards to protect suppliers and workers in its supply chain from the impacts of COVID-19.

Animal Welfare

When it comes to the impact on animals, we also rate KOOKAÏ ‘Not Good Enough’. The brand does not use fur, down, angora, or exotic animal skin, which is commendable. But it still uses leather, exotic animal hair, and wool. Plus, we found no evidence KOOKAÏ has a policy to minimise the suffering of animals or that it traces any animal products to the first stage of production.

Overall Rating: Not Good Enough

KOOKAÏ says it is keeping sustainability initiatives at the core of everything it does. Unfortunately, we struggled to find proof to back up this claim and make us feel confident the brand is “giving more to the world than it is taking away”.

Overall, we rate KOOKAÏ ‘Not Good Enough’. The brand should start using more eco-friendly materials, publish evidence of its work to reduce carbon emissions, publish its Code of Conduct, and be more transparent about how it’s making sure workers are paid a living wage.

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 KOOKAÏ 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 more than 3,000 brands. To support our work, we may earn a commission on sales made using our offer codes or affiliate links.

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