woman wearing green lululemon leggins
13 Jul
woman wearing green lululemon leggins

How Ethical Is Lululemon?

Is Lululemon as dedicated to active sustainability as it says? How ethical is Lululemon, really? Sadly calling Lululemon ethical is a bit of a stretch, and we rate the brand “Not Good Enough”. This article is based on the Lululemon rating published in January 2022.

Is Lululemon ethical or sustainable? That’s a bit of a stretch

Lululemon is a high-end activewear chain that offers yoga-inspired athletic apparel for most sweaty pursuits. While the brand claims to be dedicated to sustainable practice, does Lululemon really put its best foot forward for people, the planet, and animals? Or is it a s-t-r-e-t-c-h to call it ethical? Read on to find out what its impact is really like as we answer the question: how ethical is Lululemon?

Environmental impact

Lululemon claims sustainability as one of its core principles, but its environmental impact is “Not Good Enough”.

Lululemon only uses some eco-friendly materials, including recycled materials. While it has set a science-based target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated from its owned operations and supply chain by 60% by 2030, it is unclear whether it is on track to meet its target. There is no evidence it has taken meaningful action to reduce or eliminate hazardous chemicals, nor that it has policies or initiatives on water reduction.

On the sustainability section of its website, Lululemon talks about ways to improve environmental impact. Although this is positive, it doesn’t reflect any meaningful action. For a global brand such as Lululemon, there is no excuse not to do its part for the environment.

Labour conditions

Regarding workers, Lululemon falls short again, with a “Not Good Enough” rating. It discloses some policies to protect suppliers and workers in its supply chain from the impacts of COVID-19, but the good news ends there.

Lululemon’s supply chain is not certified by labour standards that ensure worker health and safety, living wages or other labour rights. There is no evidence the brand implements practices to support diversity and inclusion in its supply chain, and it has made little to no progress toward payment of a living wage. It received a score of 41-50% in the Fashion Transparency Index, and to top it all off, it sources its final stage of production from countries with extreme risk of labour abuse. It has also been linked with sourcing cotton from the Xinjiang region in China at risk of using Uyghur forced labour and has taken insufficient steps to remediate.

Animal welfare

Lululemon’s score for animals is “It’s a Start”. While it does not use fur, angora, leather, or exotic animal skin, there is no evidence it has a policy in place to minimise the suffering of animals. It uses down feathers accredited by the Responsible Down Standard, which is a plus, but it also uses wool and exotic animal hair. It traces some animal products to the first stage of production.

Overall rating: Not Good Enough

So, how ethical is Lululemon? Based on information from our research, we’ve given Lululemon an overall rating of “Not Good Enough”. When it comes to labour, we’re glad to see some level of transparency in the supply chain, but it still falls short. If the brand’s employees aren’t being paid a living wage, it’s simply not good enough to be considered truly ethical conduct. On the environment front, we’d like to see less talk and more action.

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.

Luckily there are numerous ethical activewear brands that have our full support, which you can see below.

Good swaps

“Good” and “Great” alternatives to Lululemon

Boody

Rated: Good

Founded in Australia by two best friends, BOODY is an eco-clothing brand with comfort, style and health at its core. It creates comfortable, thoughtfully made everyday essentials made from organically grown bamboo. They reduce waste through low-waste cutting techniques and using a closed-loop system in its supply chain, supporting the trend for all things green and ethical. Find the range in sizes XS-3XL.

See the rating.

Shop Boody.

Shop Boody @ Immaculate Vegan.

CasaGIN

Rated: Good
woman wearing sustainable teal singlet by ethical brand CasaGIN

CasaGIN is a positive place, designed for those looking for a sustainable and conscious lifestyle where you can find products capable of conveying wellbeing and harmony. Find most items in sizes XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop CasaGIN.

dk active

Rated: Good

dk active is an Australian high-performance brand supporting everybody seeking an authentic edge in life. It uses renewable energy in its supply chain to reduce its climate impact, and reuses all of its offcuts to minimise textile waste. It is also a PETA approved 100% vegan brand! Find the products in sizes XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Shop dk active.

Dharma Bums

Rated: Great
A woman with dark curl hair wear a white yoga crop top.

Dharma Bums is an ethical yoga and activewear brand providing beautiful, high performance activewear that performs flawlessly. Its all-Australian-made items are certified by Ethical Clothing Australia and it doesn't use any animal products! Find the range in sizes XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Shop Dharma Bums.

Girlfriend Collective

Rated: Good
Two women wearing sports leggings and crop tops in burgundy and green

Girlfriend Collective creates minimal, luxury clothes made with certified fair labour, certified by the Social Accountability Standard International SA8000. The brand uses eco-friendly materials like recycled polyester as well as low-impact non-toxic dyes and is fully Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified. Inclusively sized Girlfriend Collective offers products from 2XS-6XL.

See the rating.

Shop Girlfriend Collective @ LVR Sustainable.

Shop Girlfriend Collective.

Organic Basics

Rated: Great
people wearing organic basics basics

Organic Basics offers high-quality sustainable fashion basics for men and women in organic materials. It also recently launched its first sustainable denim collection! The Denmark-based brand puts sustainable thinking at the centre of everything—it only chooses fabrics that care for our environment, and only ever partners with factories that care about their impact. Organic Basics clothes are available in sizes XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop Organic Basics @ Rêve en Vert.

Shop Organic Basics.

Nube

Rated: Great

Nube turns recycled plastic into responsible and fashionable activewear, designed and made in the US. The brand partners with artists and designers around the world to create prints motivated by the environmental crisis that inspire connection and action. This fully woman-owned business uses a closed-loop manufacturing process by recycling all off-cuts created during the manufacturing process. Find Nube products in sizes XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop Nube.

Shop Nube @ Cerqular.

tentree

Rated: Good
women wearing black sports bras by tentree

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.

Tripulse

Rated: Great

Tripulse is a Swedish activewear brand on a mission to create high-performing activewear that protects our planet and its people. The brand believes that fitness, both physical and mental, is the foundation for a good and healthy life and gives people the courage to live the life they dreamed of, to become their best selves, to make bold moves, and to change the world for the better. Find most items in sizes XS to 3XL.

See the rating.

Shop Tripulse.

Discover 6 sustainable alternatives to Lululemon leggings

Editor's note

Feature image via Lululemon. Additional images via the 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 made using our offer codes or affiliate links.

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