Our Ethical Brand Ratings Explained
How we rate brands
Good On You ratings give you the power to make good choices – choices that reflect your commitment to doing better by people, the planet and the environment.
Our ambition is to provide a rating for every brand, so you can buy with confidence every time you shop. Our aim is to provide ethical ratings for the vast majority of clothing, footwear and accessory brands listed in the Good On You app. Most ratings also include detailed information and breakdowns for environment, labour and animals. We’ve rated more than 1,000 brands and are rating more brands every week.
The issues we consider
People: we look at the impact across the supply chain including child labour, forced labour, worker safety, the right to association (unions) and paying a living wage.
The environment: includes direct and indirect impacts, considers climate change and energy efficiency, environmentally friendly materials, water use, hazardous chemicals, packaging and waste.
Animals: the use of fur and angora, whether ‘mulesing’ is associated with wool production, whether and how the brand uses leather. (As at August 2016 we are in the process the animals rating elements to consider use of down/down feather, shearling/karukul, exotic animal skins and exotic animal hair.).
Good On You ratings build on the great work done by certification schemes and other independent rating projects.
The most reliable information about how a brand performs on an issue comes from certification schemes like Fair Trade, Ethical Clothing Australia and the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). These schemes include independent audits against transparently developed criteria. Unfortunately, only a small proportion of brands offer certified products.
We also take into account information from a large number of certifications on specific issues, NGO rating projects, multi-stakeholder agreements and industry initiatives. Here are some of the sources we look at.
Labour and environment
- STeP by OEKO-Tex
- Global Organic Textile Standard
- Ethical Consumers UK/Fashion Revolution Transparency Report 2016
- Baptist World Aid – The 2016 Australian Fashion Report
- Fair Trade Certification (includes some environmental requirements)
- Workplace Condition Assessment
- Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP)
- Ethical Clothing Australia Accreditation
- The Ethical Trading Initiative
- Fair Wear Foundation
- Good Weave certification
- Business Social Compliance Initiative
- Social Accountability 8000 (SA8000)
- Clean Clothes Campaign – Code of Labour practice
- The Bangladesh Fire and Safety Accor
- Responsible Sourcing Network Uzbek Cotton Pledge
- Cradle to Cradle certification
- Bluesign System
- Naturtextil Best
- EU Ecolabel
- Nordic Swan eco label
- Global Recycle Standard
- Carbon Trust
- Better Cotton Initiative
- Responsible Wool Standard
- ISO 14001
- Greenpeace Detox
- Humane Society International Fur Free Pledge
- PETA Angora Pledge
We may also have regard to information provided about a brand a number of other broad based rating or information collection systems including Shop Ethical, Rank a Brand, Ethical Consumers UK.
We take account of other credible information relevant to a brand, including recent media reports of negative actions by a brand or the company that owns it.
Finally, where an issue is not adequately covered by third party information, we consider the brand’s public statements. We only put weight on those statements where they meet certain conditions that increase their reliability and usefulness. In particular we look for statements that make relevant and specific claims which, if false, would breach misleading conduct laws.
Good On You brand ratings are prepared in good faith based on information available from independent sources and information published by the brands themselves. We are not responsible for failing to pass on positive information that a brand has not made public, for errors made in good faith or for new information that becomes available after a brand rating was prepared. We welcome any questions or contributions in relation to a rating.
We strongly encourage brands to be fully transparent with their customers. We believe they should publish full details of their labour conditions, sourcing strategies, suppliers, and environmental and animal protection policies and impacts, and the labour, environment and animal expectations that they place on their suppliers. Your customers have a right to know!
More detail on the rating system
See here for further information on our current rating process.
We want to make Good On You as useful as possible. Over the coming months we aim to a include ratings for all the clothing, footwear and accessories products that you can readily buy. Our future plans include:
- extending our ratings to beauty/personal care products, and in due course homewares, electronics and other product categories.
- improving the design of our rating system, the range of issues covered and the relative weighting given to each issue.
- providing more detailed breakdowns for each brand rating.
Brand ratings are not set in stone. Ratings for a brand are likely to change if the company changes its policies or reporting practices, our ratings methodology evolves or any other new information comes to light.
We continue to conduct research and consultation to improve our brand rating system. We plan to publish a consultation paper on the next version of the rating system later in 2016.
Can you help us do better?
To achieve our goals we need more feedback and more resources! We welcome:
- Expert advice
- Money to support our work – you can buy a small number of ethical products on our web site or make a donation.
To report an error or request further details on a specific brand please contact us.