Good On You considers lower impact materials to be those with a non-trivial reduction in net environmental impacts based on robust life cycle assessments (LCAs) or other widely accepted scientific research.
Assessments should be comprehensive
Assessments of the impacts should be comprehensive addressing, at least, greenhouse gas emissions, resource depletion, chemical pollution, eutrophication, compostability/recyclability, and water impacts across the full life cycle. We don’t consider materials that perform better on just one dimension but can’t demonstrate a positive overall environmental outcome.
Materials typically demonstrating lower impacts
Noting the challenges with data quality and the variability in performance based on location or other particular circumstances of production, we have assessed that the following materials typically demonstrate net lower impacts compared to conventional materials: recycled cotton, recycled wool, organic linen, organic hemp, organic cotton, Lenzing Tencel lyocell, recycled nylon, recycled polyester, other recycled/upcycled materials, linen, hemp, ramie, PLA, Lenzing Eco-Vero viscose, Lenzing Tencel modal and Fairmined-certified Ecological Gold. We also acknowledge that Better Cotton and Cotton Made in Africa are somewhat better than conventional alternatives.
Novel materials that show promise
Some novel materials show promise in reducing impacts, though many haven’t yet had their net environmental benefit adequately demonstrated and so we don’t currently reward brands using these materials. We do however reward brands that are supporting materials innovation under the Environmental Citizenship issue.