OUR IMPACT ON THE PLANET
FOR US, SUSTAINABILITY IS AN ONGOING PRACTICE, A JOURNEY THAT’S ALL ABOUT MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.
As a new concept in retail, we feel lucky that we’re able to build truly sustainable brands from the ground up, while also leveraging years of industry experience and the massive efforts of others.
And while we’re proud of the progress we’ve made, we know it’s just the beginning. We’re committed to achieving all our goals, big and small, and holding ourselves accountable along the way. So check back often to see how we’re evolving. We promise we’ll always be looking ahead, always moving forward.
AIM FOR PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION.Read a message from our CSO
We’re a Black-OWNED, women-led, consciously created fashion brand.
We're a Public Benefits Corporation and Certified B Corporation that makes beautiful products using the best practices. Because we shouldn't have to choose between fashion and responsibility.
We're what the world needs now—a fashion brand built for impact.
In August of 2019, Christine Day asked me to join her on a new venture: to create a company with a conscience. Given that I initially met Christine when she hired me to establish Lululemon’s first sustainability platform, I was all in. I couldn’t think of anything more thrilling than the chance to create something from the ground up that reflects our shared values—to create an apparel company that’s good for both people and the planet.
I know sustainability is an overused word, and personally, I don’t love it (it can be broad, lack meaning, and to be honest, doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue). But I do love the concept. At The House of LR&C, we interpret and apply this concept in its furthest-reaching and most comprehensive form—socially, economically, and environmentally. We believe this is the key to making real impact, a guiding principle that’s uniquely us: make a positive/high impact on people and a neutral/low impact on our planet.
In some ways, being a sustainable brand is easier for us because we don’t have to dismantle existing processes or convince a group of shareholders to change course. For us, sustainability is already the heart of the company. That said, it’s true that as a start-up in a crowded, greenwashed market, we’re charting the new and bumpy territory of creating relevant, desirable, and truly sustainable fashion—while also achieving more accessible margins.
We’re more than up for the challenge, though, because we’re committed to this ongoing journey. So, while we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished in our first year—and we’ll celebrate progress as we make it—we know we’re just getting started. And because we believe it’s crucial to stay transparent and accountable, we’ll keep you updated on what and how we’re doing as we go.
There’s a lot more to come, but for now, I’m excited to share our first sustainability update with you. Thank you so much for being here.
Always working towards better,
As a Black-owned, women-led, diverse, and inclusive company, we’re guided by our integrated approach to sustainability.
We live by a series of ethical and anti-racist commitments that inform everything from our hiring practices and apparel design to the retail and supply-chain partners we choose. Bottom line: we ensure diversity and inclusion aren’t just policies, but practices.
Our regular, company-wide sustainability summits keep us up to speed.
Content includes things like new developments in the sustainability sphere, speakers from leading sustainable manufacturers, progress reports outlining strides made (like how many units of packaging, hangers, and hangtags we’ve removed), as well as opportunities for improvement.
We know that garment manufacturing has a long and exploitative history, so we’ve implemented strict codes of conduct and regular supplier audits.
This ensures we’re only partnering with factories that value sustainability, support the well-being of workers, and pay fair wages.
We donate 3% of our revenue (meaning the total income from company sales—not just our net profit) to the direct support of marginalized communities through the Why Not You Foundation.
BETTER MATERIAL STANDARDS
We started our environmental efforts where we knew we could make the most impact.
Since most of a product’s life-cycle impact is determined by its materials, we created our own guide, The Goods Mandate, to help us choose preferred materials as defined by the Textile Exchange.
Think more organic and recycled, less synthetic and brand new.
Additionally, we are working towards making sure that at least 70% of products from each of our brands is made with materials that meet our Better and Best criteria.
What happens to a product post purchase is the second-highest area of impact in its life cycle.
Because we’re not about the fast-fashion/high-waste game, we create products that last—heirlooms in the making, or what we call “vintage now” pieces—and encourage upcycling through our Community Closet initiative.
PACKAGING & GARMENT CARE
We use 100% recycled or home compostable packaging materials, and we’re working on reducing overall packaging, hangtags, and hangers, too.
We also leverage stain and odor-repellent technologies so you can save more water (aka: do a lot less laundry).
USE MORE SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS
We plan to remove virgin plastic and virgin polyester from our supply chain. And while our 70%-sustainable-materials mandate already surpasses the industry standard, we know we can do even better. Specifically, 10% better, every year.
Biggest obstacles: availability, cost, and quality of materials
MEASURE OUR FOOTPRINTS & SET REDUCTION TARGETS
Transparency and traceability are key factors in differentiating greenwashing from real sustainability efforts. We’ll expand our sustainability team to include experts on carbon and renewable energy and create product scorecards that provide comprehensive supply-chain info.
2022: Complete baseline footprint for carbon
2023: Complete baseline footprints for water & waste
2024: Set reduction targets for each
Biggest obstacles: notoriously difficult data to capture; imprecise or incomplete data due to the complex, high-touch nature of external supply-chain systems
create a circular product line
One of fashion’s biggest issues is waste. The stats are staggering: one garbage truck of textiles is burned or dumped in a landfill every second, and less than 1% of clothing material is ever recycled.
We’re working with experts to continuously minimize our waste and pollution, and we’re committed to using materials that last.
By 2022, we’ll have a take-back program in place, and a way to keep irreparable and non-recyclable items out of landfills.
Biggest obstacles: limited resources and time
CREATE FASHION BRANDS WITH SUSTAINABILITY IN THEIR DNA.Our plan
ensure our products never enter the waste stream.Our plan
THE HOUSE LEVEL
PUBLIC BENEFITS CORPORATION
We registered as a Public Benefits Corp, which means we’re legally obligated to consider the triple bottom line—people, planet, and profits—when making all decisions.
We design products with less damaging environmental and social impact, foster an inclusive workplace, empower women and girls, support the fair treatment of all people, preserve the environment, and advance ethical business practices through fashion-industry collaborations.
UNITED NATIONS SUSTAINABILITY GOALS
We define sustainability the same way the UN does. No vague, self-created terms. Only vetted, science-based targets.
Of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, The House of LR&C brands are aligned with the following:
1. No Poverty: End poverty in all its forms everywhere.
3. Good Health & Well-Being: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
4. Quality Education: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
8. Decent Work & Economic Growth: Promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.
10. Reduced inequalities: Reduce inequality within and among countries.
12. Responsible Consumption & Production: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
16. Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels.
While Sustainability is everyone's responsibility, many teams use tangible targets to ensure sustainability is reflected in every stage of a product’s life cycle.
Led by our Chief Sustainability Officer, we work with the best product developers, sourcing experts, raw-material innovators, and sustainability experts.
THE GOODS MANDATE
We believe sustainability and transparency go hand in hand. Our Goods Mandate outlines where we are today while helping us chart the course for a better tomorrow.
We created four categories that classify how we operate within each main stage in a product’s life cycle (design, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, and consumer use): Never, Basic, Better, Best.
The Never category includes suppliers that use child labor, human trafficking, and bonded labor, or suppliers that don’t have pollution-mitigation measures in place. We’re working on hitting the Best category across the board, but we know it’ll take some time to get there.
We know that two-thirds of a product’s total impact is based on the materials used to make it. So, our Goods Mandate requires that over 70% of our materials come from the Better and Best buckets. While we aren't there yet, we are making great strides and get closer every season.
CERTIFIED B CORP
We’re a proud member of the B Corp community, a group of companies focused on using the power of business as a force for social, environmental, and economic good.
The B Corp model gives us the kind of third-party vetting that helps ensure we’re always putting our mission and values first—and continuously getting better at it—as we grow and evolve. Learn more
THE HOUSE BRANDS
On average, over 90% of Human Nation fabrics meet our Best or Better standards (as defined in our Goods Mandate).
We also use DRIPSHIELD™—an anti-stain, odor-resistant technology—on key items to help reduce washing. All packaging is 100% compostable or recycled. And in 2021, we introduced natural dyes.
GOOD MAN BRAND
We’re working on sourcing at least 70% of Good Man Brand fabrics from our Best or Better categories (as defined in our Goods Mandate), with a long-term goal of 100%.
LITA BY CIARA
All packaging is home compostable or recycled, and 70% of pieces use fabrics from our Best or Better categories (as defined in our Goods Mandate). Our goal is to get to over 90% as we bring on new partners and invest in fabric technologies.
A NEW FASHION CALENDAR
We only drop small, limited-edition collections twice a year to complement a core assortment of relevant, beautifully crafted silhouettes.
WE MAKE WHAT WE CAN SELL
With the help of technology and community feedback, we produce small batches, buying as close to demand as possible to prevent overproduction
PIECES THAT LAST
We design beautiful, expertly crafted products that last the test of time—or what we call “vintage-now” pieces.
Investing in fewer higher-quality items, wearing them more often, and holding
onto them all help minimize your carbon footprint. Easing the demand for a constant stream of new things can also help reduce pollution and slow the depletion of natural resources.
About 25% of clothing’s carbon footprint comes from washing and drying. We use stain-repellant and odor-resistant technologies so you can go longer between loads.
AVOID THE LANDFILL
Some wear and tear might need a stitch or two, but not a forever farewell. We’re all about repairing and reusing. (Plus, you’ll save some cash and help support small businesses.)
If you can’t find a tailor nearby, sites like SUAY and The Cobblers offer mail-in repair services. And if you’re looking to give DIY a go, check out free tutorials from sites like iFixit.
We want to help build a circular economy—one that designs out waste and pollution, keeps materials and products in use for longer, and regenerates natural systems.
Soon, you’ll be able to send us LR&C products you don’t wear anymore, and we’ll put them back to use. We’re also working on ways to keep irreparable and non-recyclable products out of landfills and incinerators. Stay tuned.
We partner with grassroots organizations that make excess product available to communities in need. To date, we’ve donated almost 1K pieces of clothing.
Our main partners:
We created Community Closet with Friends of the Children, a nonprofit that gets product directly to kids and the friends who support them via nationwide chapters.
Delivering Good, an organization that distributes donations through a network of 800+ community partners, helps us reach families affected by poverty, homelessness, foster care, domestic abuse, low literacy, military service, major illness, incarceration, and natural disasters.
Transportation & Distribution
GET CLOSER TO HOME
We’re tracking the impact of our transportation choices (sea, air, rail), consolidating shipments when possible, and expanding the number of distribution partners.
We partner with retailers—like Nordstrom and Kohl’s—that take sustainability seriously and have their own goals.
We have big long-term goals, like using only clean energy to transport and distribute our products. The fewer trains, planes, and automobiles, the better.
From tissue paper and polybags to tags and labels, we aim to use as little packaging as possible. We reassess our strategy seasonally to make sure we’re maxing out every opportunity.
We’re proud to say that, so far, we've avoided using almost 300K square feet of tissue paper—or, as Russell would say, more than five football fields’ worth. We’ve also saved almost 1K plastic hangers. And rest assured: each item stays in the same bag from factory to doorstep.
Our mailers are 100% compostable and break down within 90 and 180 days in commercial and home composting environments, respectively. A single-use poly bag can take 200 years or more to decompose.
In full transparency, because of a disruption the supply chain we are temporarily having to use recyclable polybags (better than traditional but not up to our high standards) for some of our spring product. We are working to fix this and hope to be back up and running with home compostable bags ASAP.
TAGS & LABELS
We removed all unnecessary tags and labels, and when we do use them, they’re made with 100% recycled and recyclable materials.
There are no hangtags on HUMAN NATION and LITA by Ciara products, and Good Man Brand will follow suit. And those little T-shaped fasteners? We said bye to all that plastic and hello to good ole string. The smallest things add up.
Unfortunately, mapping the ins and outs of entire supply chains isn’t as easy as it sounds. They’re often very complex, and suppliers can be hesitant to share proprietary information. Regardless, we’re working towards 100% traceability with all our suppliers.
Where our stuff was made this year: India, Italy, China, United States, Colombia, Cambodia, Portugal, Brazil
This list will change seasonally as we expand our network of partners.
FACTORIES, FARMS & MILLS
Partnering closely and critically with our suppliers and factories is a huge contributor to realizing our overall mission: make large-scale, positive impact.
To ensure we’re supporting our partners as they walk the walk, we’ve established several key practices:
Code of Conduct
Our Code of Conduct applies to any supplier performing services for or supplying products to us. It outlines our LR&C business principles and is consistent with the guidelines established by the International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions, the Fair Labour Association (FLA) Code of Conduct, and the United Nations (UN) Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. We also require compliance with all laws in each of the countries in which our factories operate.
Pre-Covid, we took annual trips to our partner factories to get to know the people who help craft our products. When it’s safe to travel again, we’ll not only resume our factory visits, but expand our travels to include fabric-production mills and the farms where the journey begins. This is a crucial part of our work; we can’t wait to get back at it.
We’ve partnered with a world-leading, third-party inspection, verification, and certification company. They’ll take the lead, conducting independent audits across our entire supply chain to ensure our partners meet our high social-responsibility and environmental standards.
The biggest contributor to a product’s overall impact is its materials. Whenever possible, we use more sustainable options, as outlined in our standards guide, The Goods Mandate.
The Goods Mandate considers water input, energy input, land use, eco-toxicity, greenhouse gas emissions, human toxicity, availability, and price.
We source eco-friendly fabrics to reduce waste and minimize the use of synthetics. Over 70% of our 2021 collections are composed of sustainable materials, but our long-term goal is to get as close as possible to 100%.
The main fibers we used this year:
1. the good book
Our internal resource library—that we reference and update regularly—includes important dates and movies, videos, and articles on Black history and current events. These reference materials support our team’s ongoing learning and new-employee onboarding.
2. pledge to be an antiracist
We created an antiracist pledge that acknowledges deep systemic racism and commits to standing up for Black lives. We believe it’s necessary to confront the injustices of the past and present so we can move forward together.
3. mental health investment
We doubled our employer-paid mental-health benefits. We also introduced two mental-health days that can be taken anytime, further encouraging people to take time off when they need it.
4. maintain a diverse employee base
Ensuring our team is reflective of the world around us is crucial for both representation in general as well as our overall success. Plus, we just believe it’s the right way to build a business. We’re committed to maintaining a team composed of over 40% BIPOC. As of August 2021:
of our employees identify as women
of managers and above are women
of our employees identify as BIPOC
OF directors and above are women
We’re committed to producing ongoing, omni-channel storytelling that elevates the organizations and heroes dedicated to social justice and overcoming systemic racism.
6. seek expert guidance
We’re always tapping internal and external advisors—including our co-founders Ciara and Russell Wilson, diversity and inclusion experts, and social-justice activists—who help us make the right decisions as we grow and evolve.
7. work with diverse creatives
We have an ongoing practice of working with partners like AdColor to hire and help develop BIPOC creative talent, including designers, artists, photographers, and content creators. For example, we worked with poet, performer, and teaching artist Jamal Parker to create Our Anthem, a set of principles that guide how we want to show up in this world.
8. Fill in the “white” space
Representation matters. From concept to execution, creative teams to models, our content is culturally and aesthetically diverse—created by, and for, all of our communities.
9. seasonal prints
Every season, we launch new statement-making tees developed by Black designers. New prints drop a few times every season.
10. 3% give back. always.
We donate 3% of net revenue to the Why Not You Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to education, children’s health, fighting poverty, and empowering marginalized youth to lead with a Why not you? attitude. This is more than 10x the industry standard. To date, we’ve raised more than a million dollars to support the foundation’s programs.
11. developing NEW leaders
A portion of our 3% Give Back is invested in Friends of the Children—a primary beneficiary of the Why Not You Foundation—to support and help empower Black and other marginalized youth who are changing the world.
12. brand inclusivity
Our ultimate goal is to include and represent everyone. We’ll continue to embolden those who identify as Black, Indigenous, people of color, women, LGBTQIA+, and/or disabled by supporting causes that move the world forward.
13. civic engagement
Democracy only works if it works for everyone. So we’re committed to leveraging our platform to amplify diverse perspectives and share resources and information to help encourage folks to use their voice with confidence—in everyday conversations, at the ballot box, and beyond.