I guess the main thing about advertising that your product is sustainable is that you stand above the competition, and by doing so, you force the competition also to convert to sustainable practices so they don’t fall behind, which little by little is making sustainability more mainstream. If you are transparent about thesource of your materials and the manufacturing process, those who hide these facts can be looked at suspiciously, at least by thoughtful consumers.
It seems many wool producers are giving us the supply chain details these days, some backing up their product with accreditation from Zque, a certification organization that ensures “environmental, social, and economic sustainability, animal welfare (non-mulesed), and traceability back to the source.”
I began my search for advertised product life cycle examples by looking at the New Zealand merino wool apparel company, Icebreaker (which has a store here in Portland), and came to find other similar examples such as Ibex and Smartwool.
Icebreaker has developed a tracing mechanism, appropriately called a “baacode,” posted on all products since 2008, which, once entered in their website, shows you the station or group of stations where the wool for your garment originated. You can even get to know the rancher, in the case of my provided example baacode, Ray Anderson of Branch Creek, who cared for a particular flock of sheep.
Besides telling us about the source of the wool, and their ethical manufacturing processes, Icebreaker points out how wool is an annually renewable source (vs. synthetics). As far as end of life cycle, I like what they have to say:
“You can bury your Icebreaker in your garden and it will compost. It’s built to work across all seasons, and last for many seasons – a counterpoint to disposable consumerism.”