What is Sustainability
Simply put, sustainability is the capacity to endure. When we ask if a company is sustainable, we are asking if the company must harm either the environment or the human race's ability to endure in order for the company to be profitable.
Companies featured on Nomadica must leverage sustainable practices in two of three areas: carbon emissions, the environment and its ecosystems, and in fair trade labor conditions. If a company is not sustainable in one area, it must be actively working to improve in that area.
The first key step toward achieving carbon emission sustainability is for a company to track its carbon footprint. You'd be surprised at the number of companies who have no idea how many kilograms of CO2 they emit per hectoliter of production.
Once a company knows its carbon footprint, including all steps of its supply chain, the next step is to make a goal for carbon emission reduction and to work toward that goal.
According to rankabrand.org, four carbon emission goal levels are 10.0, 8.5, 7.0, and 5.5 kilograms of CO2 per hectoliter of production.
There are several factors a company should consider as part of its environmental sustainability. Companies featured on Nomadica must track their achievement in each of these areas and actively work to improve them.
We all know about organic food. What does it mean for other materials to be "organic"? Organic agricultural methods are internationally regulated and legally enforced by many nations, based in large part on the standards set by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), an international umbrella organization for organic farming organizations established in 1972. Some of the standards include:
- No chemical pesticides are used
- Organic cotton farming produces far less CO2 emissions - Organic farming takes 1.5 tonnes of CO2 per acre per year are taken out of the atmosphere
- Organic cotton farming uses up to 60% less water than conventional farming methods
- Pesticide or herbicide residues are not entered accidentally into the environment
- Humans and animals are not exposed to chemical pesticides or herbicides
- When the fabric is discarded, pesticides and herbicides are not returned to the earth in landfill, or enter into recycling process.
Specifically, Nomadica seeks to promote companies that do not introduce harmful chemicals or pesticides into the ground water, and do not expose local working communities to these chemicals, thereby causing cancer, birth defects, poisoning, and a host of other health problems.
Nomadica companies should publish their water footprint. This means that a company should be aware of how much water its supply chain consumes from top to bottom.
According to rankabrand.org, two water footprint goal levels are 5 and 4 hectoliters of water consumed for each hectoliter of production.
Recycled Waste Products and Reduced Packaging
Nomadica companies should have packaging 'best practices' that seek to reduce the environmental impact of their packaging, and increase the % of their recycled waste products.
Sustainable companies have clear objectives for reducing the environmental impact of their packaging, and publish their annual performance against these goals. Whenever possible, we favor companies with minimal packaging made of recycled materials.
According to rankabrand.org, sustainable companies can achieve 99,5% global recycling and reusing rate for their solid waste.
Nomadica companies should adhere to local and governmental laws that protect workers' rights, but these laws are a bare minimum. Companies should go above and beyond to ensure that employees earn fair living wages, work in safe conditions, and are not exploited in terms of forced or underpaid overtime, lack of healthcare, or sufficient time off. There are a number of fair trade certifications we explore in detail in our Fair Trade section.
Photo Credit: The Luxpats