Carbon neutrality is attained when a company offsets its carbon emissions by supporting a project that sequesters the equivalent amount of carbon. The practice has been criticized because some businesses pay for carbon offsets while continuing destructive practices and doing little work to reduce emissions. Many of the “offsets” sold by large carbon offsetting firms are created through activities like land grabbing and displacing Indigenous, rural, and forest communities. Because of this, many carbon offsetting organizations and businesses replicate the problems they are trying to solve.
To avoid that path, we first worked to consciously reduce our environmental impact at every step of our supply chain and process. Then, we partnered with a like-minded organization, Grow Ahead, to place ourselves on the path to carbon neutral.
Grow Ahead provides a conscious path to carbon neutrality by supporting small-scale farmer organizations as they combat climate change in their communities. Grow Ahead operates differently than traditional reforestation and carbon offsetting organizations due to their commitment to working with grassroots communities and focusing on holistic projects that support people and the planet.
Grow Ahead is working towards a radical shift in development, placing trust in local knowledge and expertise. That is why all their projects are planned, implemented, and maintained by local cooperatives and farmer associations. As a result, communities have more sovereignty over their food and resources to spread knowledge on sustaining their communities and their lands.
We worked with Grow Ahead to calculate our Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions for LAUDE the Label’s US headquarters, including electricity, heat, waste, recycling, and employee commuting and Supply Chain Emissions. This includes procurement and shipping materials from artisans to Laude the Label headquarters.
For each package shipped, we invest in the planting and monitoring of one fully grown tree, including:
- Cost of the installation of nurseries
- Technical assistance to run the agroforestry project
- Transportation of seedlings from nurseries to reforestation areas
- Monitoring and evaluation of new plantings including the creation of community
associations for conservation
- Community educational programs on the benefits and importance of agroforestry
for the environment and farmers
In 2021, we were incredibly proud to expand the Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund to support Ismaella and Michel Ange, two jewelry artisans in Haiti. We were honored to award Ismaella and Michel Ange each a $2,500 grant as they work to grow their jewelry businesses.
Ismaella’s Business Goals: Build a website for her business. Create a logo. Use social media to promote her business. Find a working space. Invest in marketing for local promotion & events.
Development Funds being used for: Business Coaching New Materials + Inventory Packaging + Shipping Materials Working Space Marketing + Event Set Up + Fees + Promo Cards
Michel Ange’s Business Goals: To build a website for her business. Start expanding into new products. Create marketing materials. Finance her marketing events nationally. Set up a shop on Facebook & Whatsapp.
Funds being used for: Website + logo development. New materials + inventory. Packaging + Shipping Materials. Marketing + event set up + fees. Business coaching. Promo cards.
We exist to provide opportunities for women and we’re proud to report that 100% of our 2022 product volume was produced in a woman-owned or co-owned facility. We partner with 10 woman-owned and co-owned production facilities in India, Peru, Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala and the US.
In 2022, LAUDE the Label producers made a minimum of 45% above fair trade wage requirements, and because our workforce is paid fairly, we reported less than a 3% turnover rate within our teams.
- Our highest-paid sewers are paid 181% above a living wage.
- The average wage of sewers is 114% above a living wage.
- Our highest paid knitters are paid 83% above a living wage.
- The average wage of knitters are paid 58% above a living wage.
- The highest-paid entry-level workers (trimmers, cutters, QC) are paid 35% above a living wage.
- The average wage of entry-level workers (trimmers, cutters, QC) are paid 18% above a living wage.
Conventional cotton represents less than 3% of the world’s agriculture, yet accounts for 25% of the most harmful insecticides and 10% of the most toxic pesticides used on the planet.
By avoiding these toxic chemicals, organic fiber agriculture builds and protects our Earth’s ecosystems and the farming communities that grow these fibers. Organic cotton is grown GMO-free, and is never treated with fungicides, synthetic pesticides, or fertilizers. Organic cotton also uses 71% less water and 62% less energy than conventionally produced cotton. As a brand, we’ve drawn a hard line on conventional cotton, and work hard to ensure our textiles are accompanied by credible organic certifications.
20% of industrial water pollution globally is attributable to the dyeing and treatment of textiles. Unsafe use of agricultural chemicals has severe health impacts on workers in the field, as well as on communities and ecosystems that receive excess doses because of chemical runoff.
Though some of these chemicals are regulated in the US (for example, formaldehyde, linked to cancer, is regulated in the US), most clothing is still manufactured in countries where chemical regulation is far behind. And in the US, only the most toxic chemicals are regulated, leaving communities exposed to chemicals that can still affect physical and mental health.
We know there’s a better way. We use low-impact dyes that are free from toxic chemicals and mordants, which fix the dye to the fabric. Because of this, our fabric requires less rinsing during production and has a high absorption rate (~70%). Less rinsing and higher absorption means we produce less wastewater overall. Our fabric is also tested so that it can be certified to be free from harmful levels of chemicals known to be detrimental to human health.
The fashion industry relies on cheap, synthetic materials like polyester to improve profit margins -- but this practice comes at a high cost to the environment. Nearly 70 million barrels of oil are used each year to make the world’s polyester fiber, which accounts for more than 50% of the fiber used in clothing. Not only is polyester energy-intensive to produce, but it also pollutes the planet’s waterways with microplastics as polyester garments are discarded.
Natural fibers in textile and fashion production serve as one of the best answers for a sustainable fashion industry worldwide. These fibers are a part of the ecosystem -- they are renewable, sustainable, and biodegradable, and when grown organically, they are non-toxic for humans and wildlife.
Compared to synthetic fibers, natural fibers require less energy and water during production. As a result, natural fibers serve as one of the best answers for creating a sustainable fashion industry. This is why we ensure that all our textiles are free from synthetically produced materials.