Is Carhartt sustainable?

In this article, we discuss whether Carhartt, a fashion outlet, is a sustainable fashion brand or not.

Is Carhartt sustainable?

No, Carhartt is not sustainable. Based on the ratings provided by Good On You, the brand is labelled as “Not Good Enough”, which is equivalent to a ⅖ rating.

What is Carhartt?

Carhartt, Inc. was founded in 1889 and is recognized for heavy-duty workwear such jackets, coats, overalls, coveralls, vests, shirts, trousers, dungarees, fire-resistant gear, and hunting attire. 

Carhartt is still a family-owned business, with its headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, and is run by descendants of founder Hamilton Carhartt.

To guarantee that his work bibs fulfilled the demands of local railroad workers, Carhartt worked closely with them. 

Carhartt has extended its operations into eight additional cities within 20 years of its foundation, including sites in the United Kingdom and Canada. 

During the Great Depression, Carhartt shrunk owing to dwindling sales, but had a revival during World War II.

Carhartt gear has evolved over the years to include signature elements like heavy-duty thread, reinforcing rivets at stress spots, and a selection of tough, high-tech fabrics that are flame, abrasion, and water resistant. 

Carhartt clothes may now be seen on a variety of labour locations, including construction sites, farms, and ranches.

How Ethical Is Carhartt?

We shall discuss the ethicality of Carhartt on the basis of three parameters used by Good On You. These parameters are mentioned below:

  • Environmental Impact
  • Labour Conditions
  • Animal Welfare

We shall discuss these in more detail below.

Environmental Impact

The environmental rating for Carhartt is ‘Not Good Enough.’ While the firm employs certain environmentally friendly products, such as organic cotton, nothing else can be stated about its environmental efforts. 

There is no evidence that it minimises textile waste or decreases carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions in its supply chain. 

It also appears to have taken no significant steps to decrease or remove dangerous substances. Carhartt has a long way to go in terms of environmental stewardship for an outdoor brand.

Labour Conditions

Isn’t it natural for a brand with labourers as its target audience to care about the employees in its supply chain? Unfortunately, not in this circumstance. 

The lowest possible rating used by Good On You for Carhartt’s work is ‘Very Poor.’ 

Some of its supply chain is SA8000 accredited at the final manufacturing stage, and it appears to have a Code of Conduct that covers the ILO’s four essential principles and rights at work. 

However, according to the Fashion Transparency Index, it obtained a 0-10 percent score and discloses no or little information about its supplier rules and audits.

There is no evidence that the brand has policies or controls in place to protect suppliers and employees in its supply chain from the effects of COVID-19, and there is no evidence that it pays a livable wage in its supply chain.

Animal Welfare

For our furry pals, Good On You’s rating for Carhartt is also ‘Not Good Enough.’ It is excellent that it does not contain fur, down, angora, or exotic animal skin or hair. 

It does, however, utilise leather and wool, and there is no indication that it has a policy in place to minimise the suffering of the animals from whom these materials are sourced, nor does it appear to track any animal products back to their source.

Carhartt’s steps towards sustainability

Although it may seem like Carhartt has a long way to go, the company has taken various steps in order to make them more sustainable as well as being environment-friendly.

Some of the ways that Carhartt has adopted in order to make positive strides towards sustainable fashion are:

  • Tough and durable clothes
  • Introduction of organic cotton canvas
  • Corporate responsibility

We shall discuss these in more detail below.

Tough and durable clothes

Carhartt was originally created to cater towards making workwear for miners and other occupations that involved rigorous labour.

Adhering to the same standards as they did back then, their clothes are built in order to be sturdy as well as being more durable to the daily wear and tear in comparison to other brands.

This factor is an important feature that makes the clothes less prone to wear and tear, which in turn makes the clothes last for a significant amount of time.

Therefore, Carhartt’s clothes will last longer, requiring less frequent replacement and so saving you money.

Introduction of organic cotton canvas

The issue of sustainability has become a hot topic in all aspects of the fashion business, to the point where even the brand emblem of the workwear style has begun to take tangible steps to address it.

Carhartt WIP continues to adapt while maintaining its high quality standards, demonstrating that its success is based on more than simply its workwear ethos and unusual style. 

Since the SS19 collection, the American label has placed a greater emphasis on eco-friendly fabrics and has begun to phase out its most iconic fabric, Dearborn Canvas. 

The one that served as the foundation for many of the company’s most iconic items, including the Michigan Chore Coat and the Active Jacket, has been replaced with a new organic cotton version.

The canvas retains its original appearance while gaining a strong and long-lasting core. There are several environmental advantages. 

Chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilisers, for example, are not used in the agricultural process, which protects natural resources and makes it healthier and safer for individuals who deal with these products.

The brand’s future is eco-friendly, since it is committed to employing cotton from sustainable sources. 

The new SS20 collection, which is now available online and at Carhartt WIP shops and dealers, exemplifies this. A distinctive tag is attached to each organic cotton item.

Corporate responsibility

Carhartt has now prevailed as a global brand. However, the production of its apparels is sourced within the United States and Mexico.

Given the environmental and human labour concerns that are linked with global sourcing and shipping, Carhartt has taken the following steps in order to ensure their principles are upheld:

  • Adopting a Workplace Code of Conduct that sets standards for all of their supplier and licensee relationships.

    This Code establishes important benchmarks for environmental preservation, safe working conditions, and basic human rights.

    It is based on the International Labor Organisation’s Core Conventions and the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • Carhartt sourcing and quality assurance specialists visit and operate in supplier facilities on a regular basis, in addition to these third-party evaluations.

    These personnel have received training on safe working conditions and Carhartt’s supplier standards.

    Carhartt workers are regularly present at supplier sites, allowing them to closely monitor day-to-day work conditions in addition to WRAP or other third-party audits.

Consumers’ responsibility in making Carhartt a sustainable brand

As we’ve seen from above, Carhartt corporation has taken some significant steps in order to ensure that their practices in all aspects are as sustainable as possible.

However, we as consumers also play a vital role in order to ensure that their products stay sustainable as long as possible in the end-stage process as well.

It’s encouraging to see adjustments at Carhartt, but it won’t be enough to bring about fundamental reform in the business. Despite the progress made thus far, much more has to be done.

The environmental impact of a garment does not cease once it is manufactured and purchased. Depending on how certain  articles (e.g.: Denims) are cleaned and disposed of, their total water consumption and climate impact might be as high as 40%. 

The bad news is this: Every year, around 20 billion articles of clothing end up in landfills, with more than half of them being burned or buried within a year.

The good news is that there is a lot you can do to reduce the impact of your apparel. By wearing your clothes for an extra nine months, you can reduce your carbon, waste, and water footprint by up to 30%.

Washing old clothes less frequently and having them patched, reinforced, or totally reconditioned is a simple way to breathe fresh life into them.

All of the above may be performed with relative ease, especially when it comes to a product like Carhartt workwear, which can last for many years without becoming antiquated due to their classic style.

Conclusion

Carhartt, Inc. was founded in 1889 and is recognized for heavy-duty workwear such jackets, coats, overalls, coveralls, vests, shirts, trousers, dungarees, fire-resistant gear, and hunting attire. 

Carhartt is not sustainable. Based on the ratings provided by Good On You, the brand is labelled as “Not Good Enough”, which is equivalent to a ⅖ rating.

However, Carhartt has taken several steps towards making themselves a sustainable company. These aren’t enough, but are a good start.

Lastly, it is a consumer’s role to ensure that they utilise their Carhartt products in the most judicious way, in order to reduce the carbon footprint, as well as preventing the clothing articles from ending up in a landfill.

FAQs

Is Carhartt WIP fast fashion?

Yes, Carhartt WIP is fast fashion, unlike its parent company Carhartt. Carhartt classics, as mentioned before, are made to serve as workwear, therefore take the daily wear and tear in a better way than regular clothes.

On the other hand, Carhartt WIP revolves around fashionable clothing, which involves experimenting in a manner that cannot be done with Carhartt Classic. 

Are Carhartt coats vegan?

Yes, Carhartt coats are vegan. This misconception arises due to the fact that they create a lot of coats with different versions of their “duck” fabric, which isn’t made from actual ducks. 

“Duck” simply refers to Carhartt’s tough cotton (sometimes nylon) with various treatments.

Where is Carhartt made?

Carhartt is manufactured in two main locations: the United States for their “Made in USA” line, and Mexico for their “Made in Mexico” line. 

The American-made range includes some of the brand’s most famous items and is heavily influenced by American industrial workers.

Are Carhartt’s waterproof?

Yes, Carhartt offers a wide range of water-resistant and repellent items, including jackets, coats, sweatshirts, jeans, boots, bibs, gloves, and more. 

If these things are exposed to damp circumstances for an extended period of time, they will not be completely waterproof.

References

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