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How do you identify a truly sustainable brand? We have done the job for you by focusing on transparency. Read more to discover the many layers of sustainability and learn more about our framework!
At The Comarché, we are in love with beautiful products and solutions made by people with a passion for their craft and work, and with a mission to do what they love without sacrificing neither the earth, human rights, animals nor the nature surrounding us. We know that sustainability means something different to each of us, and we must all find our own sustainable path in life in order to create a lasting change.
As we seek transparency more than anything, each brand and product that we feature is analysed using The Comarché Framework as a guiding tool. The Comarché Framework is developed by us, and is our way of showing the many layers to sustainability. The framework is a key component of
We hope that it will enable you as a consumer to understand what is sustainable about a product. And even more importantly, we hope that you will gain an ever-evolving understanding for what sustainability really is. Because it really is a bit tricky, right?
For more information on our tool go to The Comarché Framework.
This is such a tough cookie to crack. As there are a number of underlying factors and sustainability is in no way a one-size-fits-all kind of term, we need a tool to understand and analyse what truly makes a brand sustainable and thus, how we choose our brands.
When we choose our brands, we look into their Brand Ethos. Is their brand vision rooted in sustainability? Or, in other words, is the brand driven by an underlying ambition to change the world for the better?
Some brands have very clear visions for their work with sustainability, other brands have only just started their sustainable journey.
To qualify for being featured here on The Comarché, a brand does not have to be perfect. Becoming a sustainable brand does not happen overnight, neither over a one-shot project. It is a long process, and we choose to include brands that are not completely sustainable yet. Why? Because we believe it is important to showcase their efforts and support the journey they’re on.
However, when curating and analysing our sustainable brands and game changers, it is important to us that us that they have a genuine desire to make a change in this world. What we’re looking for is a commitment to making a difference and a clear set of values that flow through the entire value chain.
But when is a brand sustainable enough? To avoid greenwashing, we have set some minimum requirements that must be met by all our brands to qualify for our platform.
To decide if a brand qualifies for our platform, we use our custom-built framework, The Comarché Framework. When we assess a brand, we work on two levels: Brand Level and Product Level.
Have you noticed how Social Sustainability has become a buzzword in the corporate world in recent years? We sure have! This means that you would have to search long and hard for a company that does not work with social sustainability in one way or another. Usually, these values are expressed through a set of rules often referred to as a ‘Code of Conduct’ (CoC) or a ‘Code of Ethics’ (CoE).
Don’t get us wrong, having a CoC is great, and it is certainly also better than not having one. But when we choose our brands, a regular CoC is not enough. Rather, it is important that our brands go beyond standardised CoC and walk that extra mile to make sure their workers are in fact treated fairly. Or, in some way give something back to the community in which they’re operating.
Our brands need to:
- Go beyond standardized codes of conduct
- Work actively with social sustainability within at least one of the following categories:
- Fair Trade
- Labour Rights
- Fair Working Conditions
- We Give Back
See Brand Sustainability in The Comarché Framework for a more detailed description of these areas.
Be aware that exceptions may occur. Do you have any questions or need more information? Please, feel free to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
When a brand meets our social sustainability requirements on Brand Level, we take a closer look at the portfolio. Does the entire portfolio consist of sustainable products, or is it a brand that’s going through a transition with only a percentage of the portfolio consisting of sustainable products?
When we determine whether or not a product qualifies for our platform, we use The Comarché Framework to carry out a Product Lifecycle Assessment. This means that we explore the lifecycle of each product and look into how environmental sustainability is a vital part of the product throughout the stages of its lifecycle.
These stages include:
- Material & Material Extraction
- Transportation of Materials
- End of life
For a product to qualify for our platform it must have at least one sustainability indicator in at least three different lifecycle stages (for a full breakdown of our icons, click here).
It is compulsory for each product to have at least one sustainability indicator in the ‘Material & Material Extraction’ stage and at least one sustainability indicator in the ‘Production’ stage. The last remaining stage in the PLC framework is optional.
The ‘Material & Material Extraction’ stage and the ‘Production’ stage are particularly important as the environmental impacts related to obtaining raw materials and transforming them into a final product are extremely high during these two stages.
In some cases, not all products from a particular brand will be sustainable enough to qualify for The Comarché. Therefore, you will not always be able to find an entire brand portfolio on our site, as products that do not live up to our minimum requirements won’t be showcased. Remember, we want to inspire to and reduce barriers for a more sustainable life. Therefore, it is crucial that all products available on our site are in fact more sustainable than other products on the market.
See Product Lifecycle in The Comarché Framework for a more detailed description of the different lifecycle stages.
Again, this is also a tough one. We’re back to the many layers of sustainability. But in an effort to be as transparent as possible when it comes to showcasing our many sustainable brands, we have introduced our four brand sustainability categories.
Before a brand is joining our platform, the sustainability approach of each brand has been assessed by looking into the overall sustainability goals and methods, certifications on a brand level, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), and lastly whether the brand was founded on the notion of sustainability or a work in progress type of approach.
When a brand joins The Comarché, it will receive one of the following Brand Sustainability Categories:
- Work in Progress
- Rising Star
- Born Sustainable
Our Brand Sustainability Categories are made to enable you as a consumer to quickly decode where a particular brand is currently at on its sustainable journey. These categories also provide you with a unique opportunity to follow the progress each brand makes.
It is important for us to emphasize that these categories are not given to point any fingers or to underline what could have been done better. Rather, we believe it is important to be transparent, showcase their efforts and support the journey, they’re on.
Work in Progress
The Brand Sustainability Category ‘Work in Progress’ is assigned to brands who haves just recently started their sustainable journey. And what does that exactly mean? Well, typically, a brand in this category is going through a transition with only a percentage of the portfolio consisting of sustainable products. These brands meet our minimum requirements in terms of social sustainability on Brand Level and they have formulated a strategy to develop sustainably. In addition, they are showcasing a strong ambition to become better and they have already gradually started their journey.
Here we’re talking about brands who have turned their focus towards becoming sustainable throughout its entire organization. This means that they have developed a clear strategy with a commitment to become sustainable in all aspects of their businesses within the near future. Typically, brands in this category already have 50-70% of their portfolio consisting of sustainable products. They also meet our minimum requirements in terms of social sustainability on Brand Level and they already manage some prominent issues across the supply chain.
In this category, we’re talking about brands with a 360-degree approach to sustainability – an approach that has been apparent from day one. They are most likely founded on one or more of the SDG’s or have a sustainability related issue as the reason for their very existence. This means that they have a product portfolio consisting solely of sustainable products, where each product is a better alternative for our planet compared to similar products on the market.
They meet our minimum requires in terms of social sustainability and are likely to have strong policies and strong assurance (e.g. from one or more broad-based certification such as GOTS, ECO-CERT, The Nordic Swan Label or similar) to guarantee both environmental and social sustainability in the value chain. However, far from all of our brands in this category will have one or more of these certifications. And why is that exactly? Well, it can be extremely costly to obtain global certification schemes, especially for smaller brands who might be on a tight budget. However, just because some of our brands don’t have a certification scheme, it does not necessarily mean they do not work with sustainable materials.
These brands demonstrate leadership in both environmental, social and economic sustainability. They are frontrunners and role models for other brands in the industry and have proven economic sustainability along with a strong international brand.
They work actively with several SDG’s and document their work and their progress related to these goals. Furthermore, each product in their portfolio contribute to one or more of the SDG’s, and consider all stages in the PLC.
They are very transparent and have both strong policies and strong assurance (e.g. from one or more broad-based certification such as B Corp, Fair Trade, GOTS or similar) to guarantee both environmental and social sustainability in the value chain.