Good on You – Shining A Light on the Rather Unsustainable World of Fashion

It’s de-rigueur these days for fashion brands to talk about sustainability. Working out whether that’s hot air or meaningful action can be a challenge!

Setting up a “sustainable” line or sub-brand while not addressing sustainability across the business is one of the ways greenwashing happens in the fashion industry. Here are two examples provided in a report by Good On You on the year 2022:

SHEIN won’t back down from its excessive overproduction, and instead has tried the tact of launching a “circular” line, evoluSHEIN, and selling its poor-quality clothes second hand amid sustainability scrutiny.

Similarly, Boohoo has recently come under investigation in a report in The Times exposing unethical treatment of workers in its warehouses, this following its launch of a “conscious collection” with Kourtney Kardashian Barker.”

An early draft of this article included some of the woeful stats on the #sustainability performance of the fashion trade, but the philosophy of this blog is to inspire, rather than depress, so let me instead tell you about a fashion business that is helping to make our world more sustainable.

Good On You (love the brand name!) is a social impact business that funds itself by revenue from selling clothes from brands that it judges sustainable. Here are some of the inspiring things it is doing:

Empowering the Consumer to make more informed choices

In 2022 over 8 million people used the Good On You app or website to make more sustainable choices. They have benchmarked more than 4000 fashion brands across a wide range of sustainability criteria including environment, labour and animals, and ranked them on a very clear 5 point scale: We Avoid / Not Good Enough / It’s a Start / Good / Great. (It’s worth having a look at how your favourite brands are rated.)


Incentivising brands to do more

It rewards fashion brands that are doing their bit for a better word by promoting them to their network and through Good Measures, their partnership with the luxury fashion distributor FarFetch. Brands that are rated highly by Good On You get higher search engine positions on Microsoft Bing’s Ethical Shopping Hub.

Leading and contributing to the conversation on #fashionsustainability

In 2022 Good On You produced 273 reports and articles including a major report on Fashion and COP27 and a challenging and well researched paper on Degrowth: The Future Fashion Could Choose, produced to coincide with London Fashion Week.

Researching this blog has certainly given me food for thought. Having listened to Times newspaper journalist Tom Ball talking about his experience of working undercover in a Boohoo warehouse in the north of England on the podcast Stories of Our Times I am thinking long and hard before clicking on any online purchase.


This is the fourth in a year long series of weekly blogs by  Sustainable Innovation Facilitator Jean Callanan telling stories of businesses and brands that are doing inspiring and innovative things in addressing climate change. Read more here