Our Responsible Business Practices
Our purpose-driven business is a Certified B Corporation, Winner of the Good Design Award Best in Class, and a Member of the United Nations Fashion and Lifestyle Network, in recognition of our work on Sustainable Development Goals.
We are committed to making a positive environmental impact through selecting 100% botanically sourced materials which:
- Create no toxins through their initial manufacture and processing
- Are synthetic free and create no micro-plastics through laundering
- Can be safely composted, worm-farmed or buried in soil at end of life, thereby diverting textile waste from landfill
Our materials are sourced worldwide to be 100% botanically circular, leaving no negative environmental impact at end of life. We survey our suppliers for their environmental and social practices. We use NO spandex, polyester or nylon, even in our sewing thread, elastic and labelling, which means our products are 100% plastic-free. Our unconventional materials are outlined below:
Our organic cotton knit is knitted and GOTs dyed in Melbourne from cotton grown in Turkey. It is suitable for home compost, your worm farm, or simply to be buried in soil at end of life.
Our new Nursing Bra is also made from organic cotton grown in Turkey, but processed in Spain. It Is unbleached and undyed.
Our tencel knit is knitted and GOTs dyed in Melbourne from Lenzing tencel sourced from global suppliers approved by Lenzing. It is suitable for home compost, your worm farm, or simply to be buried in soil at end of life.
Liberty Fabric Organic Cotton
Liberty Fabric sources organic cotton from Europe and prints using REACH approved dyes at its factory in Italy. It is suitable for home compost, your worm farm, or simply to be buried in soil at end of life.
Our tencel sewing thread is manufactured from 100% cellulosic material and is suitable for home compost, your worm farm, or simply to be buried in soil at end of life.
In our bras we use elastic made from natural tree rubber knitted into organic cotton. Our maker Is based in Germany and she developed this elastic with a factory in Austria. It is suitable for home compost, your worm farm, or simply to be buried in soil at end of life. **Natural rubber is latex and so will not suit those with allergies.
Until early 21 we also used a Cradle to Cradle Gold Certified elastic in our briefs manufactured by INOGEMA in Germany. Whilst this is a synthetic polymer it breaks down at end of life with no toxicity (hence achieving Gold certification). The material has a take-back programme in Europe but that is not yet available in Asia. It can be cut up at end of life and placed in your home compost, but it will take 18-24 months to break down. From May 2023 onwards we are solely using tree-rubber and organic cotton elastic in all garments.
Hooks and Eyes
Our hooks and eyes are custom made from 100% organic cotton and tencel sewing thread which we supply, then dyed at our factory. The metal is Oeko-tex certified and both cadmium and nickel free. They are suitable for home compost, your worm farm, or simply to be buried in soil at end of life, removing the metal first. Bras purchased and received prior to August 2020 may still have our original hook and eye pieces which you can learn more about here.
Our earlier bras and our sleepwear have organic cotton and soy-ink dyed labels, made in the Netherlands. To minimise carbon footprint, we now use the traditional pad-print technique in our factory, which is minimal waste and uses Eco Passport Oeko-Tex inks. They are suitable for home compost, your worm farm, or simply to be buried in soil at end of life. Our sleepwear continues to use organic cotton and soy ink dyes.
We do not knowingly use any animal products in our manufacture.
Our bras are wrapped in acid-free, recyclable tissue paper and posted in our customer's choice of recycled (over 80%) and recyclable poly bags, or compostable mailers, depending on what is easiest for them to dispose of responsibly.
**NOV 22 - Since the collapse of RedCycle soft plastics recycling in Australia this week, we will no longer offer this option when all our stock has been used up and we will instead send only our compostable mailers.
WAREHOUSING AND FULFILMENT
We are very proud to warehouse and fulfil through the brilliant social enterprise Avenue Co Working which offers people of all abilities the opportunity for work and community. It's a partnership which works well and feels good to us, to Avenue, and to our customers.
In 2023, due to the enormous issues in Sri Lanka in 2021/2022, plus the need for a smaller factory to help us develop new products, we are moving to a family owned factory in Portugal in 2023. Our code of conduct with this factory is here
In 2020, we commenced production to Sri Lanka. Unfortunately, the subsequent events above caused us to move, but many of the garments we still sell on the site were made in SL so details on our original Sri Lanka factory are as follows:
- WRAP certified (Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production) with Platinum rating, valid for 24 months
- SMETA (Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audits) audited
- Energy use - the factory uses low energy server motors on sewing machines, low energy LED lighting on the production floor and solar power for it's external lighting
- The factory has a number of senior females in GM roles and strong harassment and discrimination policies, with established procedures for grievance handling.
- Our factory pays 75-100% above the local minimum wage, with details as follows: In addition to the basic wage (Basic + Budgetary Relief Allowance, our factory pays staff Attendance Bonus, Production Incentive, Bonus (1 month basic wage minimum), free transport, free hostel, free medical facilities and subsidised food. Staff are entitled to 14 days annual leave, 84 days maternity leave, and 15% of base as super (EPF & ETF) paid by the factory.
- Our Code of Conduct based on the ETI Base code can be viewed here.
We make our sleep and loungewear from left-over materials, in Sydney using a local cutter and small factory.
WASTE MINIMISATION STRATEGIES
In addition to creating products with 100% botanically sourced materials, that can home compost, there are a number of other ways we minimise waste at The Very Good Bra.
- We launch products via pre-sales where we gather enough size data to create a factory order which reflects those sizes, and makes sure we don't over-produce in any of our 27 sizes. There's more about that here.
- We have created a Buy Swap and Sell group on Facebook where customers who have bras that no longer fit, or can't be exchanged for any reason, can be passed on to other potential buyers globally, ensuring they have a good long life somewhere!
- In 2021 we have launched replacement bra straps which can be purchased on the site. As elastic straps are often the first to go, this allows our customers to extend the life of their bras by replacing the straps.
- We use all our left-over fabric to manufacture small runs of sleepwear and briefs to ensure we do not waste any. We have also donated sample fabric to The Social Outfit and Whitehouse Design fashion students, and useable sample bras will be donated to The Uplift Project or Thread Together
- Judge - The Circle Awards 2022
- Judge - Victorian Premier Design awards 21 and 22
- Currently developing world-first Australian Standard for Textile Composting
- Presenter UN Global Compact Webinar - Panel- Entrepreneurship for Sustainability 2020
- Presenter - NDLESS - The New Normal Conference 2020
- Presenter and mentor at UNSW Circular Hackathon - 2019
- Presenter - Sustainable Brands Detroit 2019
- Donations - We donate $1pre order to i=change on behalf of customers
- Instigator of a world-first Australian Standard for Textile Composting in 2023 on behalf of the domestic industry - more detail here
Through our partnership with i=change, customers have the choice at checkout of 3 charities, to which we donate $1 on their behalf, post sale.
MARKETING AND PHOTOGRAPHY
See us on http://www.implasticfree.com/