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Back in May, at the height of media noise around the Bangladesh factory collapses, Elizabeth Cline, author of the book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, asked Racked, "H&M has an environmentally friendly collection, but why can't I walk into an H&M and buy a product that has a label on it that says it's either made in a living-wage factory or some sort of equivalent to the organic and fair trade standards that are in food?" Now a label has launched called JUST, created by the International Living Future Institute.
The JUST label works like a nutritional label, but instead of saturated fat and protein, it measures 22 indicators of social justice with a one, two, or three star rating, across six groupings. Those six groupings are diversity, equity, safety, worker benefit, local benefit, and stewardship. One example is "worker happiness" under the "worker benefit" label that's determined by a JUST-created survey for employees.
At the moment, no fashion brands have been early adopters, but banks, engineering firms, non-profits and ILFI itself have undergone the application process and received their scores. The organization is still tweaking their approach to handing out ratings, but the list of indicators includes everything from gender pay equity to non-discrimination policy to local sourcing to lack of hazardous chemicals in the workplace. Speaking with Fast Company, Jason McClennan, CEO of ILFI, said of the efficacy of the program, "There's still going to be a lot of people that don't care, just like consumers that don't care about trans-fats," but that there are enough consumers who want to make informed decisions about their purchases easily for brands to take notice.
· A New Label Lets You Know How Much Social Justice Is In Your Shopping [FastCO]
· Would You Pay More for Target's Phillip Lim Collab if it Were Ethically Made? [Racked]