In terms of price, 1People has a Fair Pricing Model and only markup from production cost to the customer in as low as the range 2-3. For a luxury brand, the price of these products seems to stay true to their promise of fair pricing, and is pretty comparable to popular brands like Lululemon who isn’t as impressive in the sustainability department. 1People has the kind of business model that gives me hope for a world where sustainability and business can truly intersect. What I really like about 1People is their clear dedication to applying both ethical and sustainable practices in all aspects of their business and their openness in acknowledging when a material or practice is not as sustainable as it could be. 1People does have some room for improvement, including finding a sustainable alternative for the synthetic Elastane in these three products, as well as establishing more control over their supply chain to ensure their company values are withheld in their venders and other facilities. They also have room to grow in increasing transparency concerning the specific production process and life cycle of their products. But going 100% sustainable is a great challenge that takes time and effort to achieve, and companies claiming that they’re 100% sustainable and making it look easy with little evidence to back it up are the ones I feel more concerned about trusting. I’d much rather see a business like 1People be transparent and upfront about their challenges and shortcomings because it shows they are truly dedicated to their sustainable cause beyond marketing and actually want to be a leader in defying profit-driven business norms for more positive-impact driven business.
1People strives to incorporate sustainable materials into their clothes, and when they can’t they acknowledge it rather than keep it under wraps. All three of these items are made of 78% Econyl regenerated nylon and 22% Elastane. The 78% Econyl part is a cool innovation I hadn’t heard of before that sounds like something more clothing brands should be using—it’s recycled polyester made from abandoned fishing nets and carpet lint, effectively reducing plastic waste while still meeting quality standards with UV protection. The 22% elastane (which is a synthetic material that is not organic or biodegradable) is not recycled. Switching to a sustainable alternative is a challenge for 1People because of cost and the fact that sustainable elastics are often produced by bigger factories and they want to continue supporting small family businesses manufacturing for them in Indonesia. So there’s currently a tradeoff in choosing to support small businesses with then having to continue using a non sustainable elastic. This is an understandable dilemma that nevertheless is an important one to solve. Chemicals are used in the dying process for these items but the dyeing is OekoTex certified. Oeko Tex is one of the world’s best-known labels for textiles testing for harmful substances, and a certification from them means the product is completely free of harmful chemicals and safe for human use. Another notable aspect is the recyclability of each of these products, noted on their product page under a little sphere icon that if you click it, takes you to their Sustainability page. This is a testament to 1People’s dedication to transparency, as even though they strive for 100% recyclability, they make sure the consumer knows exactly how recyclable each product is (the Stockholm athletic bra is 63%, the matching leggings 71%, and the Santorini one-piece swimsuit 86%).
As for packaging, all products come in a unique 1People box that can be reused and the box as well as the instructions cards are made from recycled paper and colored with natural dyes. The logo stickers are made from bio-compostable paper. However, plastic is used in the packaging sent from their warehouse to protect the packaging and products, and currently they have yet to find a sustainable solution that’s cost effective.
I really like 1People’s “slow fashion” mindset which is encouraging and refreshing to see amidst such a fast fashion dominated world. Their focus is making products that last with high quality materials rather than making less sustainable cloths that follow immediate trends. However, not much insight is given into the actual production process of these products, such as where they are manufactured, whether the facilities are sustainably powered, and what the working conditions are like. Most of their smaller suppliers don’t have certifications since the process is pricey, though they do a thorough check themselves on all suppliers to ensure they meet their sustainability standards which is good. Transportation is a major aspect of their production process creating carbon emissions since they deliver worldwide by truck, train, sea freight or air freight, and have many different suppliers and manufacturers. To confront this, on a yearly basis they do reset their carbon emissions through certified projects around the world. This is a good first step, but reducing carbon emissions internally and making efforts, especially in their extensive transportation methods, to go carbon neutral is better for the environment in the long-run. This is a goal 1People does notably have in sight as they acknowledge that they are continuously working towards reducing their CO2 emissions. Another sign of their dedication towards continually expanding their sustainable practices is that they are working on becoming B Corp certified—B Corp businesses meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance both profit and purpose.
However, the lack of control over some suppliers and fulfillment centers makes it harder for 1People to ensure their sustainability values are being met throughout their supply chain. 1People’s suppliers do not offer data on the treatment of their waste and they also have no influence over fulfillment centers in the U.S. and their shipping of products. They also do not monitor the transport to and from their suppliers and manufacturers. Having visibility in the manufacturing and transport throughout a supply chain is challenging cost and logistics wise, but important in keeping sustainable practices in check. As for the life cycle of these products, 1People does consider their recyclability and biodegradability—they are not sharing these processes publicly yet but have a future plan to be fully transparent.
1People stands out as a truly wholistic brand with equal focus on supporting both people and the planet. Founded by Rea and Jonathan Tjoa Algreen with the goal of making the world a “better place for all,” their values for ethics and sustainability come through in their transparency and conscious business model that goes beyond making a profit to put purpose at the center of what they do. Their About page highlights a sense of togetherness within the company, staying true to their brand of “1People” by showcasing their diverse team, from their security to head of design. They also strive to take care of their employees and suppliers’ employees by working against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery. They also partner with small business suppliers and local women communities who hand-weave their fabrics, all with the intent of creating millions of jobs for people in need and fostering a global community with their company values.
A really cool aspect of their community outreach is that 40% of profits is donated to their impact-driven social entrepreneur school, Business For Planet. This global educational program is free and seeks to bring entrepreneurs driven by positive impact together and provide education and mentorship to help them develop successful and responsible startups. On each product page an icon of a hand holding a dollar bill is shown with a percentage letting you know how much of the product you purchased goes towards managing the Business for Planet program which they plan to launch at the end of 2020. Through this program they hope to help reduce poverty in the world. I think this program shows impressive leadership in the business world in trying to create a impact-driven community not only within their company but beyond to help other entrepreneurs adopt the same practices that can help support a more sustainable and equitable future.