Nisolo Launches Sustainability Facts Label
Did you know that there was no standardized label for marking nutritional information on food until 1990?
While some companies voluntarily listed nutrition facts beginning in the 1970s, they were not required to do so by the federal government.
In 1990, the FDA published a proposal for a Nutrition Facts label that included daily caloric values as well as robust nutrient information. By the end of the year, Congress passed the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA), giving the FDA explicit authority to require nutrition labeling on most foods. Read more about Nutrition Fact history here.
Part of the reason that legislation became a priority was the rise of processed foods. In earlier food systems, while consumers may not have known the exact breakdown of nutrients in their foods, they knew what base ingredients made up their foods.
By contrast, processed foods often contained processes and ingredients that consumers weren’t familiar with. And the globalizing food supply chain made it more difficult for people to understood where their food came from.
Shouldn’t we have a “Nutrition Facts” label for our clothing?
Today, ethical shoe and leather goods brand Nisolo launched their Sustainability Facts Label:
We started Nisolo because of the lack of integrity across People and Planet within supply chains. We’ve been focused on social and environmental responsibility from day 1 because we believe the fashion industry has the potential to significantly reduce global poverty and reverse its impact on climate change within our lifetime. We’ve spent over 10 years in this work—making tons of mistakes and experiencing wins as well—learning our way into what a comprehensive approach to sustainability actually needs to look like. We’ve been encouraged over the last half decade to see all of the momentum in the sustainability movement. However, it has been challenging and discouraging for us to watch the emergence of ongoing broad sustainability claims in the industry without the practices to back them up. Too many brands spend more time, effort, and money on appearing to be socially and environmentally responsible than actually investing in ways to be more responsible.Source
Sharing similar concerns as their food-focused predecessors, Nisolo wants to ensure that consumers understand where their goods come from.
As we know, the global supply chain is often murky, which allows brands to claim innocence when human rights abuses are brought to light. The fashion industry is a huge contributor to pollution and deforestation, too.
Though Nisolo’s Sustainability Facts Label is not federally-mandated, it represents a first step in what’s possible for the fashion industry moving forward.
How the Sustainability Facts Label Works
The Sustainability Facts label lists key components of the supply chain, categorized under People and Planet.
Grades are based on the recommendations of reputable sustainability experts:
From B Corp to Leather Working Group, to Climate Neutral, Fair Trade USA, Higg Index, FLA, SA8000, Textile Exchange, Good On You, Re/Make to you name it, we took it all in to ensure our label accounted for what experts commonly deem most critical to sustainability.
You can learn more about label methodology here.
From now on, all of Nisolo’s products will include a Sustainability Facts Label you can scan for comprehensive information.
What’s more, the label and methodology are all open source, in hopes that more brands will adopt this level of accountability.
They’re also welcoming feedback. To learn more and reach out, check out Nisolo’s info page.
What do you think?
Leah Wise is the founder of StyleWise Blog. She has been writing, speaking, and consulting on sustainable fashion, the fair trade and secondhand supply chain, and digital marketing for over ten years. An Episcopal priest, Leah holds a B.A. in Religion from Florida State University and an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School. When not working, you can find her looking for treasures at the thrift store.
Thursday 16th of December 2021
Love this idea! I know currently it is a lot harder even for companies to determine these facts than it was for the food industry, but if this became more widespread, the information would become more transparent. One step at a time. Thanks for sharing.
Wednesday 29th of December 2021
It would be ideal for the federal government to put forth this kind of standardization. There is no reason for companies to not be responsible for knowing how their products were made (but of course, there's a strong incentive to not know since exploitation is so rampant!).