Sustainable Product vs Sustainable Brand - Which One Should I Choose?
Ocean Chairs and Table by Mater, made from 100% recycled plastic sourced from the Ocean
What really makes a product or brand sustainable?
There is a lot of misinformation online regarding sustainability in supply chains, what makes products or business sustainable. This has allowed businesses to jump on the bandwagon to promote products as sustainable when in fact they are not sustainable, or only meet the absolute minimum requirements.
An example of this business that promote plastic products that can only be part recycled. By only using part recyclable products, this is still driving plastic production rather than plastic recycling, which results in further waste plastic (only approximately 9% of plastic waste is recycled each year). This plastic either sits in landfills polluting the local area and habitats, or makes it way into the ocean.
The lack of consistency in sustainability standards from on business to another doesn't help consumers make informed choices when shopping, which in turn doesn't benefit the Earth.
At Erda, we hold products and business to the highest sustainability standards we can and make sure that each of these products complies with our key sustainability principles. You can read more about our sustainability criteria in our other post.
Sustainable products vs sustainable brands
As awareness around sustainability has grown from a multitude of factors in recent years, some businesses have started to implement changes to improve their carbon footprint. Many large, established corporations who have legacy structures and supply chains which are huge contributors of carbon emissions are naturally slower and seek to offset carbon, making pledges to become carbon neutral by certain dates. The issue with this is that is doesn't minimise environmental damage caused in supply chains, it simply aims to minimise their impact further down the line. Many smaller, more agile businesses are quicker to adapt and have, are, or are planning to, rework their supply chains to minimise damage.
Aside from these businesses that are seeking change, there are plenty of amazing designers, sellers, marketplaces where sustainable products can be sourced knowing that purchasing from them is minimising unnecessary damage to the environment.
At Erda, we want to recognise that brands that are built on sustainable principles and flag them to users of the platform with the Infinity icon. Whilst these brands are pioneers of a better, circular economy, we don't believe those businesses that are not yet there in terms of their transformation should be disregarded. Therefore, whilst a sustainable brand is more important than a sustainable product, we include both within our curation.
Sofa by Kalon, a US based sustainable design studio
Shopping With The Circular Economy In Mind
By encouraging users of our platform to purchase only eco-friendly products, we aim to increase the demand for sustainable products out any businesses catalogue (whether their brand is sustainable or not). We hope this nudge to suppliers will encourage any businesses that aren't quite there yet to make a bigger shift in their stance on sustainability.
In summary, a sustainable brand is more important and therefore we will promote these ahead of non-sustainable brands, we don't believe in cutting off those that are slower in making the shift. By only listing the most ethically sourced products, we can help to reinforce positive consumer behaviour, reduce waste and build towards a circular economy.
So, which should I choose?
That decision is up to you. As long as it's a product in a collection curated by Erda, you can rest assured that the product has been mindfully produced.