Save time and effort spent shopping with this online database of companies committed to social and environmental causes.
Let's say you have been reading about sustainable fashion and are familiar with terms like organic cotton, fair-trade certification, recycled fabrics, Bluesign dyes, and B-corporations committed to social and environmental betterment. At the same time, you need a new pair of jeans, shoes, or shirt for work, and you'd love for it to meet all, or some, of those standards -- but you don't have the slightest clue where to start.
Is this situation familiar? I hear it all the time from readers and friends who read my articles on ethical and eco-friendly fashion and ask, "Where can I find these pieces?" Usually I direct them to a handful of brand-owned websites, which are great, but these don't give a comprehensive overview of all available options.
For this reason, I was excited to discover DoneGood, which is an online database of brands committed to a range of beneficial causes. Using the DoneGood website, app, or Chrome web browser extension, it's possible to search for almost all the clothes, outdoor gear, shoes, toys, and home decor that you'd ever need from 300 pre-screened companies that are committed to making the world a better place.
The companies differ in their priorities and focus. Some are vegan, women-owned, organic or GMO-free, made in USA, free from toxins, or give back a portion of proceeds to charitable causes. You can use these filters to narrow down a search to reflect your own interests.
DoneGood is the brainchild of two young Americans, Cullen Schwarz and Scott Jacobsen. In college Schwarz had worked as a national organizer for United Students Against Sweatshops, where he realized the power consumers' dollars have to influence manufacturers to improve their business models. Eventually he and Jacobsen left their jobs in 2015 to focus on DoneGood full time. In an email to TreeHugger, Schwarz said:
"The day all businesses operate the way the 250+ social impact brands we partner with do, deals like the Paris Accord won’t matter as much anyway. It’ll be a while until all businesses operate that way, we know. But things are changing rapidly! And consumers are the ones with the power to make businesses change more rapidly."
The DoneGood team conducts its own vetting process, interviewing company founders, researching certifications, seeking expert opinions, and welcoming feedback from shoppers. DoneGood earns a commission when sales are made through their platform.
Schwarz told the Washington Post, "We’re looking for companies that are doing good for people and the planet . . . brands that are making the world better through their everyday practices."
What about not consuming, you might be wondering? Isn't that the greenest practice for the planet? I tend to think it is, believing that the level of consumption currently afflicting North America is disastrous, in the way it drains resources, generates waste, and squanders money; however, it is unrealistic to expect people not to buy anything anything. Like most of you readers, I am not about to pursue a hermit-like life in the bush, wearing threadbare robes for decades. The key is to buy better, when we do splurge on new possessions, and that is where a resource like DoneGood can be helpful.
Schwarz says he dreams of a day when DoneGood has significant clout in the corporate world. He told the Washington Post:
"Once we have millions of people in the DoneGood community, that’s when we can march into corporate boardrooms and say, 'In the next 60 days we’d like you to improve X, Y and Z,' and we’ll tell our users whether you did that or not. The day that all companies operate in the way that DoneGood partners do, a lot of the world’s major problems will be solved.'"
Visit the DoneGood website here to start your search for ethical and eco-friendly goods.