In celebration of Earth Day (April 22nd), Klarna is honored to work with Fairchild Media to recognize innovators across the fashion and retail industries for their commitment to tackling sustainability issues during this critical time.
Below, we’ve rounded up this year’s Sustainability Superheroes, who are setting an example for the industry through incredible efforts to protect the planet we call home.
“As business leaders, it’s time to hold ourselves accountable for the role we play in the daily lives of consumers and in society as a whole. Each of us has a responsibility to tackle global sustainability challenges in some way, shape or form—whether that be through workplace initiatives to reduce carbon emissions, or through product innovation that can build wider awareness around the topic.” — Sebastian Siemiatkowski, CEO of Klarna
Known best for its iconic merino wool footwear, Allbirds is a leader in sustainable materials innovation. In addition to sourcing eco-friendly materials from sheep, castor bean oil, recycled bottles, cardboard, and sugarcane, the company introduced Plant Leather—the world’s first 100% natural, plant-based leather—and continues to invest in low-carbon material R&D.
New York-based accessories brand Bembien approaches all aspects of its business with sustainability in mind. Beyond working with materials that are sourced locally and regenerate naturally, Bembien is making an impact through give-back initiatives, with 10% of proceeds going back to weaving communities through a partnership with Nest. The brand has also recently helped fund a community solar initiative in Brazil to power thousands of small businesses.
Called the “model of sustainability in the fashion industry” by Fortune Magazine, Eileen Fisher approaches sustainability holistically, with efforts embedded deeply throughout every aspect of its business—from fibers and fabrics to chemistry and dye processes. Eileen Fisher is one of the largest women’s fashion companies to achieve B-Corp certification, meeting high criteria for social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.
Textile innovator Evrnu is at the forefront of driving a more circular economy, providing brands including Levi’s, Adidas, Target, and Stella McCartney with more sustainable, and recycled alternatives to high-demand fibers. The company’s NuCycl™ regenerative fiber technologies enable products to be made from discarded clothing, extending the lifecycle of single-use fibers and enabling retailers and shoppers alike to combat global textile waste.
Haircare brand Gisou is committed to sustainability through and through, focused on improving the welfare of the Mirsalehi Honey Bees and developing more sustainable product packaging and product formulations. The company has a strict product development policy to only ever take surpluses of honey and has kicked off several other important initiatives, including switching paper packaging to FSC-certified paper from sustainable sources only.
On a mission to become the most sustainable denim company, Nudie Jeans continues to break barriers through new, creative sustainability initiatives. For example, towards the end of last year, the brand launched a new partnership with the Supply Network Intelligence Program Sag Salim, supporting cotton farmers in Turkey. Nudie Jeans also has been working with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to develop greener production processes in Tunisia.
Iconic outdoor and sports retailer REI believes climate change is the greatest existential threat to its business—and the world—and has implemented aggressive, company-wide sustainability efforts to make an impact and inspire others to do the same. REI is joining Climate Neutral, holding itself financially accountable for every unit of carbon it emits in its own operations. The co-op has also committed to halving its carbon footprint over the next decade.
Rent the Runway
Built around the idea that 100% of the $2 trillion fashion industry didn’t need to be brand new, Rent the Runway is a pioneer of circularity. Even after a product has retired from Rent the Runway’s inventory, ‘Revive by Rent the Runway’ gives items a second life, diverting clothing and textile waste from landfills through re-sale with partners like thredUP, or donations to nonprofits including Dress for Success. The company’s sustainability efforts also extend to other aspects of its business, from packaging and operations to cleaning practices and private label manufacturing.
The North Face
With the outdoors at the heart of everything it does, The North Face continues to stand out for its mission and commitment to reducing its environmental footprint. In addition to ongoing efforts to reduce and offset carbon emissions, The North Face recently partnered with Indigo Ag to use regenerative cotton produced by U.S. farmers and is focused heavily on scaling circularity. The company has expanded its Renewed re-commerce collection of refurbished goods and plans to announce additional circular products this Spring.