09 Jun

How Ethical Is Monki?

Founded in 2006 in Sweden, H&M-owned brand Monki creates on-trend clothing, aiming to empower young women across the globe to salute sisterhood and inspire everyone to express their unique style.

The brand says sustainability is at the core of everything it does. Monki wants to drive global change, and since 2020, it has taken a clear positioning on being kind and empowering by aligning with two of the United Nation’s Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs): SDG 5, gender equality, and SDG 12, sustainable consumption and production.

On paper, Monki seems to be setting the bar high in terms of ethical and sustainable practices. But is that the case? What is Monki really doing to drive global change? How is it impacting the planet, people, and animals? Today, we aim to answer this simple question— how ethical is Monki?

Environmental impact

Monki has taken some good steps on the environmental front—it uses some eco-friendly materials, including organic and recycled cotton. Monki aims to source only recycled or sustainable materials by 2030, and it has a policy approved by CanopyStyle to prevent deforestation of ancient and endangered forests in its supply chain. The brand has also set a science-based target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated from its operations and supply chain, but we found no evidence the brand is on track to meet its target.
More importantly, Monki has fast fashion traits such as on-trend styles and regular new arrivals, making it hard for us to give it an environmental rating higher than ‘It’s A Start’.

Labour conditions

When it comes to labour, Monki is also rated ‘It’s A Start’. Monki received a score of 71-80% in the Fashion Transparency Index—the brand publishes detailed information about its supplier policies, audit and remediation processes, as well as a list of suppliers in the final stage of production. It has some information about the second and first stages of production and detailed information about the findings of supplier audits, forced labour, gender equality, or freedom of association.

However, almost none of Monki’s supply chain is certified by labour standards, ensuring worker health and safety, living wages, or other labour rights. Monki has a project to improve wages in its supply chain, but so far, there is no evidence it is underway. Finally, although Monki discloses some policies to protect suppliers and workers from the impacts of COVID-19, implementation is uncertain.

Animal welfare

Monki has a formal animal welfare policy aligned with Five Freedoms, and it traces some animal products to the first stage of production. The brand does not use fur, down, angora, or exotic animal skin, but it still uses leather and exotic animal hair and wool from non-mulesed sheep, which is why its animal rating is also ‘It’s A Start’.

Overall rating: It’s A Start

We rate Monki ‘It’s A Start’ based on our research and information from the Fashion Transparency Index—you can read more in our post about what our ‘It’s A Start’ rating really means. Although Monki is aiming to align with two of the United Nation’s Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) and has adopted some positive practices and policies across the board, it is still not quite there yet. Monki’s use of eco-friendly materials is a good start. Still, the brand needs to work on its labour and worker empowerment policies and especially ensure the payment of a living wage. Monki is owned by H&M, the world’s second-biggest producer of fashion products designed to be worn just a few times and discarded, so it’s no wonder there is some work to do across the board! Also, 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.

If you like Monki’s on-trend and youthful styles but don’t like the not-so-great practices, then fear not—we’ve found some fantastic ethical and sustainable alternatives to Monki!

Good swaps

Sustainable alternatives to Monki

Afends

Rated: Good
two images of people in tops, shirts and trousers

Offers

Afends – Site-wide

Shop your new wardrobe essentials by AFENDS, a  Byron Bay-based brand, born in 2006 and leading the way in hemp fashion. Exclusive 15% off with code WELCOMEGY20. (Ends: 17 OCT)

Checkout code: WELCOMEGY20
Shop now
Black and white shot of the BROCCOLI Magazine and Afends fashion collaboration.

Afends – Broccoli Collab

The collab everyone has been waiting for: Afends x Broccoli Magazine. Cut from hemp and organic cotton. Step into a new dimension with this super limited capsule. Exclusive 15% off with code GOODBROCCOLI. (Ends: 30 SEP)

Checkout code: GOODBROCCOLI
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Two people outdoors wearing recycled Afends collection clothes.

Afends – Recycled Collection

Explore Afends' Recycled Collection, created with recycled and organic cotton. From pants to tees and sweats, featuring a slew of new prints. Exclusive 20% off with code RECYCLED20. (Ends: 30 SEP)

Checkout code: RECYCLED20
Shop now

Born in Byron Bay, Afends is a responsible brand leading the way in hemp fashion. Drawing inspiration from the environment, streetwear, and surf culture, Afends’ mission is to create more sustainable clothing through innovation, action, and positive change. As true hemp advocates, they purchased 100 acres of farmland called Sleepy Hollow to grow their own hemp crops and ignite the hemp revolution. Explore their range made from 100% eco-conscious threads.

See the rating.

Shop Afends.

AndAll

Rated: Good
person wearing unisex white collared shirt with black dots by AndAll

Based in Hong Kong, AndAll is a size and gender inclusive shirt brand featuring modern prints made for all. It uses a high proportion of eco-friendly materials including TENCEL™ Lyocell, and reduces its climate impact by using renewable energy in its supply chain. It is inclusively sized from 1-7, with instructions on measuring yourself for the perfect fit.

See the rating.

Shop AndAll.

Lucy & Yak

Rated: Good
Girl in light wash ethical dungaree by Lucy & Yak

Independent, handmade, and ethical, we love Lucy & Yak’s playful take on classic garments. With unisex designs for everyone, this UK brand will brighten up your day. Find pieces inclusively sized in UK 4-32.

See the rating.

Shop Lucy & Yak.

Dedicated

Rated: Great

If you love a great graphic print, Swedish label Dedicated has you covered. Dedicated is an ethical streetwear brand for men, women, and children. All cotton used in its pieces are 100% organic and most are Fairtrade-certified, which means that you don’t have to sacrifice your ethics to dress in style. Find the clothes in XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop Dedicated.

Shop Dedicated @ Earthkind.

We love these sustainable brands listed above, but they may not meet your specific needs right now. Maybe they’re out of your price range, or don’t stock your size. If you really need something and a product from Monki is the best option, then you shouldn’t feel guilty about buying it! ‘It’s A Start’ means just that—the brand is making a start. If your options are Monki or a brand like SHEIN that is making little to no effort for people, the planet, and animals, Monki is a clear winner. Progress over perfection!

You can also reach out to brands who you think need a little nudge in the right direction. If enough customers demand change, brands that truly care about their impact will have no choice but to respond in kind. Check out the ‘Your Voice’ function on the app or slide into their DMs on social media to let them know what you think.

Editor's note

Feature image via Monki, 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. We may earn a commission on sales made using our offer codes or affiliate links.

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