How to tell if school uniform is sustainable and ethically produced

How to make informed choices when buying sustainable and ethical school uniform

Since becoming a parent, I have realised the importance of asking questions and making informed choices, especially when it comes to buying school uniform for our children. As consumers, we need to be cautious of greenwashing claims and look for third-party certifications to ensure that the brands we support are genuinely sustainable and ethical. At Ethical Schoolwear, our mission is to provide parents with school uniform that meet rigorous standards in terms of sustainability, workers' rights, and social impact. I want to explore the importance of the various certifications that apply to our supplier One+All, and how they contribute to your ethical and environmentally responsible school uniform.

Ethical Trading Initiative

One certification that holds significant value is offered by ETI (Ethical Trade Initiative). With a rich history spanning over 20 years, ETI and its members have been at the forefront of driving ethical trade practices. Their mission revolves around influencing businesses to act responsibly and promote decent work conditions. What sets ETI apart is its unique approach to business and human rights, bringing together forward-thinking companies, trade unions, and NGOs as members. By collectively addressing the complex challenges present in today's global supply chains, ETI and its members actively contribute to improving the lives of workers worldwide. 

B Corp 

B Corp certification is a mark of excellence for businesses that meet high social and environmental standards. Companies with this certification have demonstrated their commitment to using business as a force for good. By choosing school uniform manufacturers that are B Corp certified, you can be confident that they prioritise sustainability, employee well-being, and community impact.

Planet Mark 

The Planet Mark certification signifies a company's dedication to measuring, reducing, and offsetting their carbon footprint. By supporting manufacturers with this certification, you are supporting their efforts to mitigate climate change and promote sustainability. It's crucial to choose brands that actively work towards minimising their environmental impact.


Certified CarbonNeutral brands have taken significant steps to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and have offset their remaining emissions through credible carbon offset projects. By opting for school uniform from CarbonNeutral-certified manufacturers, you are actively contributing to the fight against climate change.

Better Cotton Initiative

The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) is a global program that promotes sustainable cotton production, ensuring that it is grown with less water, fewer pesticides, and without forced labour. By supporting school uniform manufacturers signed up to the BCI, you are encouraging responsible cotton sourcing and supporting the well-being of cotton farmers and the environment.

Living Wage 

Ensuring that workers in the school uniform supply chain receive fair wages is crucial for promoting social justice. Living Wage certification confirms that the manufacturer pays its workers a wage that covers their basic needs and enables them to live a decent life. By choosing manufacturers with this certification, you are supporting fair labour practices and advocating for workers' rights.

Alignment with UN Sustainable Development Goals

Selecting school uniform brands that align their values with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) demonstrates their commitment to addressing global challenges, such as poverty, gender equality, climate action, and quality education. This alignment reflects their holistic approach to sustainability and making a positive impact on society.

Open factories and independent inspection

Transparency is vital in the pursuit of ethical production. Brands that open up their factories to independent inspections demonstrate their commitment to healthy and safe working conditions, while also ensuring zero child labour and zero modern-day slavery in their supply chains. Choosing school uniform manufacturers that prioritise transparency helps to safeguard the rights and well-being of workers.

When it comes to purchasing sustainable and ethically produced school uniform, it's crucial to go beyond vague claims and seek out third-party certifications. At Ethical Schoolwear, we believe in the power of informed consumer choices and strive to provide parents with school uniform that meets the highest standards of sustainability and ethical production. By selecting brands that hold certifications such as Ethical Trading InitiativeB Corp, Planet Mark, CarbonNeutral, Better Cotton Initiative and Living Wage, we can make a positive impact on the environment, workers' rights, and our children's future. Together, let's create a more sustainable and ethical world.

Discover more about the environmental impact of One+All, an employee-owned company, and the measures they are undertaking to enhance workers' rights by exploring their impact report.

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