How do you define sustainability? While increasingly common, it's a term that lacks protection, so anyone can call anything sustainable by their own standards. Encompassing many aspects, from environmental to social impact and beyond. The term in the hand of individuals and organisations is primarily defined according to their own goals and values.
On the one hand, this can lead to confusion and greenwashing, but it can also present an opportunity to be ambitious and inclusive in your definition. We believe that no matter whether you say "sustainable", "responsible", or "conscious", its actions, rather than words, that speak the loudest. Therefore, we categorise sustainability into three distinct categories: People, Planet, and Principles and work with brand and impact partners that share our passion for these areas.
The climate crisis is the most pressing and obvious issue for many people when they think of sustainability. The harm being caused to the natural environment plays out on social media and news channels, exposing people to natural disasters around the world. We've all seen the detrimental effects of rampant consumption and production on the planet, so a brand's environmental credentials are a core consideration and a fundamental pillar for our sustainability assessments.
At Ample, we look at water impact, biodiversity footprints, emissions, energy generation, production volumes and resource management — to estimate environmental impact. An assessment of business and a brand's components and considers their third-party certifications to indicate their level of commitment and investment in sustainable production.
PANGAIA is a great example of a brand that embodies the Planet pillar. A sustainable leader, an activewear brand-meets-material innovation lab which focuses on three core planetary issues: Climate Action, Water Health, and Biodiversity.
PANGAIA is reducing its carbon emissions throughout the supply chain, in line with science-based targets; it is reducing water use throughout the entire supply chain; and working to protect and restore biodiversity by favouring regenerative sourcing. On top of these, the Gen-Z favourite is investing in in-house innovation to tackle some of fashion´s most serious challenges such as circularity.
You can learn about the brand's progress in PANGAIA's 2021 Impact report.
Inherently linked to environmental sustainability is social impact — we firmly believe that to claim sustainability, you can't have one without the other. In many consumer goods industries, especially fashion, there is a divide between the countries that produce goods and the countries that consume them.
This divide occurs when companies seek low-cost manufacturing overseas, often in countries like China, Bangladesh, India and Cambodia, where labour is often cheaper than in the brand's home countries. This leads to unfair working conditions, incidents of forced labour, wage theft, and many other problems that disproportionately impact people living in countries without a social safety net, such as unemployment support.
We value the work of all and believe that whether a business employs people directly or indirectly, people should be paid fairly and treated with dignity and have safety & sanitation at work.
Ninety Percent is a brand that demonstrates an inspiring commitment to environmental sustainability and social impact. The UK-based label donates 90% of its profits to charities and the people who make their clothing. By working with only two factories, both in Bangladesh, the brand has complete visibility over manufacturing and can ensure high ethical standards for its workers. Donations are split between five charities, including BRAC, a humanitarian organisation, as well as War Child UK and Children's Hope.
We have partnered with Barefoot College to help fund their wholesome project: Solar Mamas. To support the phenomenal work they do in training illiterate and impoverished women around the world to become solar engineers. The Solar Mama programme gives these women the skills and knowledge to build and maintain solar energy systems that generate electricity and light for their communities. Also, enabling wider economic opportunities as these women return to their villages and train other members of their community.
Without defining and committing to a guiding set of principles, making meaningful change in the world is impossible. That's why Principles is a core pillar of Ample's sustainability standards. The journey towards achieving sustainability in any business starts with integrity, transparency, and a willingness to be held accountable to your commitments. Sharing the business's mistakes and successes and establishing an honest dialogue between customers and other stakeholders.
Whether workers make bespoke handcrafted creations or simple cotton t-shirts, we work to demonstrate a brand´s social values in action. In building a brand´s sustainability profile, we report on the respect for workers, and on manufacturing and ethical standards. Assessing Codes of Conduct, third-party audits, and certifications that proves integrity, just policies and social accountability; then make this information easily accessible and easy to understand.
Italian swimwear brand and Ample partner, Kampos embodies the Principles pillar as it operates according to five core values: integrity, respect, humanity, transparency, and sustainability. Kampos holds the Butterfly Mark and is one of the highest-scoring B-Corps in Europe with an almost unheard-of B Impact Score = 158.8/ 200 points. Each year, the brand shares its non-financial balance sheet — a report outlining its positive and negative environmental impact and matters relating to its employees and the wider community. This level of transparency is rare in most industries but provides an inspiring blueprint for other brands to follow.
We have defined these categories to help you make small but meaningful changes to the way you shop. So next time you're on the Ample app, look out for our sustainability pillar symbols to understand the values and impact of the brands you support.