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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with sustainability ratings platform Good On You

What if determining the ethical and environmental impact of a fashion brand was as easy as scanning a price tag? That’s the aim of Good on You, a platform that was launched by Sandra Capponi and Gordon Renouf in Australia in 2015. Good On You provides brand ratings, articles, and expertise on ethical and sustainable fashion to help consumers shop according to their personal values.

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Since its inception, Good On You has grown and is now a globally used platform for environmentally savvy shoppers. Today, millions of consumers trust Good On You as their primary source to understand brands’ impacts and discover more sustainable designers and labels. The platform has rated thousands of brands and designer labels and is working on rating thousands more in the coming year using their proprietary technology and independent team of rating experts.

In partnership with eTail Australia 2022, Retail in Asia had the pleasure to interview Sandra Capponi, Co-Founder of Good On You. Together we discussed the platform’s mission and commitments, their partnership with retailers and Good On You’s impact on the global fashion industry.

RiA: Can you give us background into your journey before launching Good on You?

Sandra: For many years, I worked in corporate social responsibility, where I was able to lead many exciting projects from pay equality to supply chain sustainability. But I was growing frustrated with how slow the pace of change was and began looking for solutions.

When I met my co-founder Gordon and heard his idea for rating brands to inform consumer choices, I instantly knew I wanted to join forces with him to build Good On You.

We started to explore the idea that became Good On You in 2013. In that year the Rana Plaza disaster killed more than 1,000 workers in a Bangladesh factory making clothes for European and American brands, which drove us to make fashion our core initial focus.

Together, we started Good On You because we know more and more people want to make sure their shopping choices do good rather than treat workers unfairly and cause harm to the environment and animals. We believe people power can drive the individual and systemic changes we need to see across the fashion industry and beyond.

RiA: How do you rate brands on Good on You?

Sandra: At the heart of what we do is the belief that you have a right to know how brands impact the issues you care about—and it should be as easy as checking a product’s price tag.

Behind the scenes, our ratings methodology is the fashion industry’s most robust and comprehensive. On the front end, it’s the most user friendly. We bring together the world’s leading and most reliable sources of information on sustainability, of more than 500 data points across 100 key issues—from resource use to payment of a living wage and tracing animal’s materials to their source. Then we present it in clear and accessible five-point scores ranging from “We Avoid” to “Great”.

When considering certifications and third-party data sources we take into account both the scope of the issues covered and the quality of their assurance, for example, how well they ensure brands comply with the standards they set.

RiA: What’s the Good on You business model and how do you ensure you keep ratings impartial?

Sandra: First off, transparency, independence, and ethics are central to everything we do. We don’t take any private information from brands, standing firmly in the shoes of the consumers who should be able to find the information, in turn incentivising greater accountability and progress from brands.

For consumers, our ratings will always be freely available. For retailers, e-commerce, and tech platforms, we’ve built a range of enterprise tools that help them enable more sustainable choices at scale. We do this through our API and a business-facing dashboard used by many leading names in the industry.

Source: Apple Store

RiA: Can you elaborate on your collaboration with retailers to help them identify which brands are truly ethical / sustainable?

Sandra: As Good On You is fashion’s leader in sustainability ratings, many major global fashion retailers like Farfetch and Yoox-Net A Porter trust Good On You data insights to improve their sustainability and reach conscious shoppers. And tech platforms like Afterpay and Microsoft use our data to identify and promote sustainable brands to their users. In finding innovative ways to leverage Good On You’s ratings data, our partners help us reach shoppers at the exact moment when they’re making decisions.

RiA: Emma Watson has been your brand ambassador since 2019. Can you tell us more about this?

Sandra: For several years now, Emma has used Good On You as her benchmark for choosing ethical brands. She’s used our brand ratings on the fashion labels she wears for photoshoots, events, and her own wardrobe. She also signal-boosts our most important messages. During COP-26, for example, she shared our in-depth climate change report—produced using our own data—with her audience on Instagram. Her support helps us reach the widest possible audience and work toward making sustainable and ethical fashion the norm.

RiA: What’s the impact you wish to have on the whole fashion industry?

Sandra: Our vision is to use the power of consumer choices to create a sustainable future in fashion. All around the world, people use Good On You to check the sustainability of fashion brands. This drives demand for sustainable products, and incentivises an increasing number of brands to put ethics and sustainability at the heart of their business.

Consumers have a huge role to play in driving better outcomes for our planet. It’s their dollar that ultimately incentives business behaviour. With the power of consumer choices, there’s a real opportunity to create a sustainable future in fashion, and beyond.

RiA: Do you plan to expand the platform to other consumer categories such as beauty or to tackle other society issues?

Sandra: Up until now we’ve been focused on scaling our ratings technology and building consumer trust in our brand. We’re now widely recognised as the global standard for sustainable brand ratings in fashion, and so we’re gearing up to work with more fashion retailers who want to leverage our credible ratings to connect with their own customers on these issues.

Longer term, we plan to expand to other consumer verticals, like beauty, where the issues are similar and consumers’ appetite for sustainable alternatives is just as strong. From beauty to homewares to electronics, the opportunities are endless.

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RiA: What will you be sharing at eTail Australia?

Sandra: Circularity has become a buzzword in fashion recently. We’re hosting a panel to discuss the deeper principles behind the circular economy. We’ll bring together key innovators for a conversation that will go beyond the hype and chart how the industry can make meaningful progress.

We’re joining to elevate urgent conversations around true sustainability in e-commerce in Australia. As a key partner in this market, eTail is an important venue for us to take these conversations to another level.

Join Sandra’s Panel Interactive session: ‘The move towards the circular economy – How can you reinvent your business model and rethink your resource cycle to bring about both sustainability and profitability wins for your business?’ and discover more retail, eCommerce and digital marketing insights at the much-anticipated eTail Australia 2022 Summit (15th -17th February at the Sheraton Grand Sydney Hyde Park, Australia) — Get an exclusive 20 percent off when you quote RIA20off when you register!