We are all striving to consume a little more consciously these days, from eating plant-based and shopping vintage, to curating a refillable beauty cabinet, sustainability has never been so stylish. Fortunately, it’s also never been easier, with fashion and beauty brands alike working to offer greener, cleaner alternatives that promise to do better for people and the planet.
But with so much greenwashing and endless claims of environmental responsibility being thrown around, how do you determine which brands are putting their money where their mouths are and doing the work to implement positive social and ecological change? Enter B Lab, a non-profit that scrutinises the products and practices of a brand, providing a certified stamp of approval to companies which pass its rigorous examination. These companies become Certified B Corporations, or B Corps.
What is a B Corp?
B Corps are companies that have been verified by B Lab as voluntarily meeting high standards of environmental and social performance, accountability and transparency on a myriad of factors, including ingredients and formulas, raw material sourcing, supply chain input, carbon-neutral status, treatment of employees, charity enterprises and community. Reviewed every three years, these companies use their social standing and work together internationally to reduce poverty and inequality, strengthen communities, create jobs with purpose, leave behind a healthier environment and use business as a force for good.
Over 100,000 companies have applied for B Corp certification since B Lab was founded in 2006, yet fewer than 5,000 have been successful, including a few of our favourite fashion and beauty brands. Read on for our pick of the best fashion and beauty B Corps to shop now.
One of the newest additions to the B Corp gang, luxury haircare brand Aveda achieved certification at the start of 2023, representing the culmination of four decades of research and development into products that care for both your hair and the planet. Among numerous factors which contribute to Aveda’s impressive eco and ethical credentials are a commitment to using 100 per cent solar and wind power for manufacturing, using 95 per cent organic or sustainably wild harvested ingredients, and charitable initiatives which have, to date, raised over $69 million to fund environmental projects.
The endless search for the perfect bra often ends in compromise; be that in fit, aesthetics, comfort or fabric. Which is where Nudea steps in. This innovative lingerie brand offers no fewer than four ways to find your perfect fit, including virtual fittings and its own unique Fit Tape, while its array of bras, briefs, sleepwear and underwear comes in an array of pretty-as-a-picture hues and are made from at least 82 per cent recycled fibres or sustainable fabrics like Tencel. Oh, they’re also ethically manufactured in Portugal and the entire brand is carbon neutral too. See? No compromise here.
Combining founder Lucy Macnamara's love for fashion with her experience working for non-profits such as The Prince's Trust, Aspiga was created in 2006 to offer a line of sustainably produced accessories. Today it is one of the country's leading sustainable fashion brands, ranking among the top 5 per cent of all B Corp-certified clothing labels in the UK, and has grown to offer a full line of women and menswear. As well as commitments to ethical production, eco-conscious packaging and carbon offsetting, Aspiga also hosts monthly beach clean-ups and has supported charities including WaterHarvest in India, the Elimu Sewing Project, Restart Africa, NHS Charities Together and Crisis at Christmas.
Co-founded by siblings Anna and Will, and funded by a mixture of wildly successful crowdfunding campaigns and an appearance on Dragon's Den, UpCircle offers vegan, cruelty-free beauty products made using the natural byproducts of other industries. Think coffee grounds turned into exfoliators, night creams made using blueberry extract leftover from juicing and fragrances made using rescued petals from the floral and wedding industries, to name just a few. Genius.
Australian skin, hair and body care brand Aesop, renowned for its deliciously scented products and pared-back aesthetic, has been a favourite of ethical beauty fans since its launch in 1987. With a 30-year history of nourishing communities through the amplification of marginalised voices with an emphasis on the development of literacy, Aesop received its B Corp certification in October 2020. All of its formulations are vegan, Leaping Bunny and PETA approved, use either refillable or recyclable packaging, and the brand is certified carbon neutral in Australia and New Zealand.
Based in East London, independent fashion brand Birdsong was founded in 2014 by social entrepreneur Sophie Slater and was awarded B Corp status in April 2022. With a mission to inspire and implement sustainable change within the fashion industry, each limited edition collection is crafted locally from luxurious eco-fabrics by communities of expert artisans who would otherwise face barriers to work. Fans of Birdsong’s flowy tea dresses and embroidered T-shirts include Lianne La Havas, Gemma Styles and Aisling Bea.
Founded on the discovery that socks are the most requested item at homeless shelters in the USA, comfort-focused elevated essentials brand Bombas operates on a one-item purchased, one-item donated model. The brand earned B corp certification in 2017 and, since launching in the UK in 2021, has donated over 50,000 pairs of socks and underwear to homelessness charity St Mungo’s as part of a global campaign that has seen it donate over 75 million items.
In October 2021, Chloé became the first luxury fashion house to become B Corp certified, just 10 months after Gabriela Hearst took over the helm as creative director of the French maison. Inspired by the legacy of founder Gaby Aghion, the brand has made a long-term commitment to supporting women’s advancement, promoting inclusivity, rebalancing gender-based inequalities and, ultimately, creating beautiful products with a meaningful impact.
Faithfull The Brand
Co-directors Sarah-Jane Abrahams and Helle Them-Enger started Faithfull the Brand in Indonesia in 2012, collaborating with Bali’s best manufacturers and the local community to create handmade garments that evoke the carefree spirit of summer holidays. Beloved for its romantic, vintage-inspired prints and flattering shapes, Faithfull is committed to creating socially responsible, thoughtfully produced pieces and making better decisions across the board to minimise its environmental footprint and maximise its positive social impact.
A leader in sustainable apparel, outdoor and adventure outfitter Patagonia has been a certified B Corp since 2011. As well as pledging one per cent of all sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment, and committing to a model of repairing and recycling, Patagonia regularly supports the work of community grassroots initiatives with its funding scheme.
B Corp certified since 2021, Sézane specialises in timeless, well-tailored pieces made from innovative, eco-friendly materials made in its expert partner ateliers. Committed to creating the vintage of tomorrow, each piece is designed to outlive trends and work for (almost) any season. As well as establishing responsible production methods, Sézane has raised over €4.5 million through its philanthropic programme, Demain, which works to support increased access to education, culture and opportunities for children and young people worldwide.
The first Jordanian private business set up in the Jerash ‘Gaza’ Camp in Jordan, luxury fashion and lifestyle business SEP (Social Enterprise Project) works with over 500 expert embroidery artists who also happen to be refugees. Each piece is intricately hand-embroidered with traditional styles and sales help to bring hundreds of women above the poverty line and create a sustainable path out to economic independence.
Certified since 2019, Danish home fragrance and skincare B Corp brand Skandinavisk looks to the countries of Scandinavia as a model for a better way of living, and has made its brand mission to educate and inspire the world to follow its lead. As well as using responsibly sourced Swedish rapeseed wax for their candles, locally made vegan and cruelty-free formulas and recyclable plastics made from plants, Skandinavisk regularly supports refugees with employment opportunities.
Sunday Riley gained cult status among beauty fans thanks to holy grail products like its Good Genes treatment, Luna overnight face oil and C.E.O Vitamin C serum, and was certified by B Lab in August 2020. Each of Sunday Riley’s popular facial oils is produced using a zero-waste method that sees byproducts diverted and either ground into nutritional supplements and plant proteins for animals and pets, or used for fertilisation in agricultural processes.
Founded in 2005, Veja takes a different approach to making sneakers, combining social projects and economic justice with ecological materials, and has been a B Corp since December 2018. Produced in high-standard factories in Brazil, Veja’s trainers use organic Peruvian and Brazilian cotton for the laces and canvas, Amazonian rubber for the soles and materials derived from recycled polyester and plastic bottles for inner construction.
Leading luxury resale platform Vestiaire Collective is devoted to transforming the fashion industry and creating a sustainable future. Designated a B Corporation in September 2021, Vestiaire Collective promotes the circular fashion movement as an alternative to the traditional overproduction, overconsumption and wasteful practices of the fashion industry.
Wolf & Badger
An international digital marketplace for independent brands, Wolf & Badger was founded in 2010 as a small boutique in Notting Hill. Awarded B Corp status in May 2021, the platform is now host to over 1,000 independent, ethical brands across fashion, beauty and homeware, as well as boasting a large boutique at Kings Cross's Cold Drops Yard.
Founded in 1926 out of necessity to manufacture high-performance clothing for Icelandic fishermen and search and rescue teams, 66°North reveres quality, durability, performance and necessity as the pillars of its ethos. A B Corp since January 2022, 66°North works to conserve and protect the global North at a time when glaciers and natural landscapes are under threat, making clothes designed to last a lifetime and make positive action possible where it would otherwise fail.